Welcome to Leaving LaodiceaThe Survival Manual for the Coming Underground Church
Yesterday we were introduced to the Greek word “mystery” mustḗrion and how its use in the New Testament is different than what it means in contemporary English. For us today, mystery means something not known or unknowable. But in the Greek, where it is used in these passages, it means something that is known or knowable but not to everyone. It is knowledge or truth that is known only to those who it was meant to be revealed. Not to everyone, but to the elect.
But there is more we can learn about this mystery.
When Paul speaks of both Jews and Gentiles being created into one new people, the church, he is revealing something given to him “by revelation” (Eph. 3:3) that will allow us to understand his “knowledge in the mystery of Christ” (Eph. 3:4). And this revealed knowledge has been, in other ages, hidden from “the sons of men” but is now “revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets” (Eph. 3:5) and, as such, it is now being communicated to us.
What is this incredible mystery? You got it. That “the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel” (Eph. 3:6).
The verses we are looking at for the next couple of days are another one of Paul’s blessed digressions. It is his style of writing, his way of making sure we understand the past, present, and future aspects of our relationship with Christ. It is the Holy Spirit’s way of taking nothing for granted and making sure each of us is fully equipped with what we need to know about His church. Let me show you how this works.
Paul ends Ephesians 2 by describing who we are in Christ as fellow citizens, saints, and members of the household of God (Eph. 2:19). He then goes on to say the church, now revealed to be made of both Jews and Gentiles, is like a temple of God built on the foundation of Christ and each of us, regardless of our backgrounds, are perfectly “fitted together” into a growing entity for a “dwelling place of God in the Spirit” (Eph. 2:20-22). This is an amazing revelation about His church. And it seems natural, after making this proclamation, that Paul would continue in prayer as he does in Ephesians 3:14:
For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God (Eph. 3:14-19).
But he doesn’t. He can’t. Why? Because there is still more to be said about this great “mystery” he only spoke about briefly in Ephesians 1:9-10.
Having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth— in Him (Eph. 1:9-10).
Paul knew, through the Holy Spirit, he needed to spend more time letting the church at Ephesus, and each of us today, know about this great “mystery” we call the church and God’s design behind its creation. Hence, we have the wonderful and blessed digression of Paul in Ephesians 3:2-13.
Sometimes, in the smallest of words, the Lord can show a picture of His love in ways we may have overlooked or taken for granted in the past. I see one of these in the verse we are using to focus our prayers today. It is Ephesians 3:1 which reads:
For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles – Ephesians 3:1.
As we discovered yesterday, Paul considered himself a prisoner of the Lord and not of Rome or the Jews or even Caesar himself. He was totally committed to his Lord and gladly accepted his imprisonment. Why? Because Paul’s God is absolutely supreme and sovereign. Therefore, it follows that God could change Paul’s situation at any time, if He so desired. But since He hasn’t, then this imprisonment must be His will for Paul at this point in his life. And for us, who have the advantage of hindsight 20/20 wisdom, it was the perfect will of God to take Paul off the streets and put him in a cell where he could write many of his epistles for the glory of God.
The following is an article by Hal Lindsey. It is just another sign that its time you became a Faith Prepper. Why? Because times for believers, especially in the United States, are going to get real bad, real fast. It is time to take the words of Jesus seriously and prepare your faith to have it severely tested. Soon.
So get prepared now!
Nikki Haley, former US Ambassador to the United Nations, recently characterized a Canadian vote at the UN as “a deal with the devil.”
That’s strong language coming from a well-regarded diplomat. I assume she meant it figuratively. But something literal is at work. Canada’s recent about-face on Israel is a capitulation to the growing forces of darkness in our world. In recent years, the nations of the UN have been making a lot of deals with the devil – the actual devil.
Haley was referring to a vote on an anti-Israel resolution sponsored by North Korea. That’s right, those paragons of respect for human rights – North Korea’s government leaders – sponsored a resolution condemning Israel for “occupying” East Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria. The resolution also says that the wall Israel built “severely impedes the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.”
That wall was built to stop terrorist activity in Israel. It has been highly effective. It was necessary because Palestinian leadership continues to act as a major sponsor of terrorism. Israel tries to make peace while Palestinian leaders encourage their constituents to randomly stab people and blow things up. When Israel responds to these terrorist acts, the Palestinians decry Israel’s actions. Israel continues to try to make peace. But while they work for peace, they must keep their people secure. Thus, the wall.
Today we move on to a new section in Ephesians 2. Here we find Paul giving us still another example of who we are in Christ. We have learned we are “no longer strangers and foreigners” but are now “fellow citizens with the saints” and, if that wasn’t enough, we are also “members of the household of God” (Eph. 2:20). Next, the Lord shows us we belong to a grand temple, a “holy temple in the Lord” (Eph. 2:21), which is the “dwelling place of God in the Spirit” (Eph. 2:22). This magnificent temple has its foundation built on the teaching and revelation of the apostles and prophets and the chief cornerstone is the Lord Himself (Eph. 2:20). This is who we are in Christ. Breathtaking, isn’t it?
As we pray today, let’s focus our prayers on the first phrase in Ephesians 2:20. This verse speaks of the household of God being built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets yet it is in the past tense. It says:
Having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone – Ephesians 2:20.
When we read this our attention naturally gravitates to the words “apostles and prophets” and to “Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone”. But if we’re not careful, we’ll miss the beginning of this verse and all that simple beginning conveys. There it says “having been built”. That’s past tense, something already done and established in the past. And from these three words, we can get much encouragement today in our prayers.
There is one last point we need to discuss regarding being “members of the household of God” before we move on to Ephesians 1:20, and that is the unity and security that comes from being a member of a family. Our verse for today reads as follows:
Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God – Ephesians 2:19.
Yesterday we looked at how someone actually becomes a member of God’s household and focused our prayer time on Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus as found in John 3. But today we want to examine the dynamics of being in a loving, functional family. Not the type of dysfunctional, narcissistic, and often abusive families many of us came from. But from the type of family God intended and designed. The type of family we would expect with God as the Father. Think about it.
Most families have members that don’t always agree or see things the same way. In fact, sometimes members of a family may have political or social views that are in stark contrast to each other which makes mealtimes and holidays something of an adventure. In addition, some families have siblings that often fight with each other, purposely irritate each other, and basically just get on each other’s nerves. That’s the nature of the family. Actually, it’s just human nature. In a family, we might have teenagers who are fighting for independence, pre-teens who are either goofy or moody or just plain loud and annoying, toddlers who want nothing but undivided attention, and parents who are just tired and don’t seem to have the time for each other, let alone this growing gang of children. In a functional family, often members are angry with each other and say things that are hurtful or cause pain. It happens.
We have previously looked at how to pray at all times and in all circumstances by letting the Holy Spirit, through God’s Word, direct our prayers. But next on the Faith Prepper list of required spiritual skills is learning how to trust Him at all times by allowing our faith to grow by having it exercised in often unpleasant circumstances. After all, faith grows when it is tested. And testing is usually unpleasant during the process but wonderful at the end.
The Greek word translated “faith” in the New Testament is pístis and means: “to win over, to persuade. Subjectively it means firm persuasion, conviction, belief in the truth” This definition is used over 250 times in the New Testament alone. Everything in the Spirit is based on faith and everything of faith is designed by God to bypass the senses. Everything.
In addition to this, all faith is not justified by merely having it. But all faith is justified by the action it produces. In other words, faith by itself is worth little. But faith, accompanied by actions or works based on that faith is alive and real. This is exactly what James was trying to tell us in James 2:14-26. Read it for yourself.
One of the attributes of becoming a Faith Prepper is learning how to trust God as His Word. I know many of us will say that we do. When pressed, almost al believers will state the mantra, “I believe everything God says, start to finish, from Genesis to Revelation.” After all, that’s the expected answer. To say anything less would make us seem like a lukewarm believer.
But the truth is, most believers, maybe ever you, don’t truly take God’s Word as the final authority in your life. How can I say that? Because God’s Word speaks to just about every issue we face today yet the church seems to be divided up into various opinions that differ greatly from one another. If God’s Word doesn’t change and is always true, how can that be? If God’s Word says something is wrong, for example, how can any believer who claims God’s Word as the final authority in their life, have a different opinion than what the Word says? It seems inconsistent, doesn’t it? Hypocritical.
As the adage goes, the Scriptures are true about everything it teaches. And it teaches about everything.
To test whether God’s Word molds your opinions or whether your opinions are determined independent of God’s Word, I have listed a number of controversial issues below. What is your opinion on these? And whatever your opinion is, does it line up with the Word of God? If it doesn’t, who is wrong, and what are you prepared to do about it?
When we look at the content of the prayers of the early church we are amazed they didn’t pray like much of the church does today— for the little answerable “fix”. Instead, they prayed for Kingdom matters, what we call Kingdom Prayers. Let me explain.
A “little answerable” is a prayer for a little “fix” that is often related to our sense of entitlement from God. These can be called horizontal prayers. We lose our job so we pray for a new one. A loved one is sick, so we pray for their healing. We don’t have enough money to make it through the end of the month, so we pray to win the lottery. And on the surface, these seem like proper, loving, spiritual prayers. But that’s not how the early church prayed.
A Kingdom prayer, on the other hand, is praying for something that has lasting value and importance in the Kingdom of God. For example, look at the following prayers and note what they are asking for (and what they are not): Ephesians 1:15-23; 3:14-19, Romans 15:5-6, 13, Philippians 1:9-11, Philemon 1:4-6.
Today, as we begin to pray, we will look at one last blessing from Ephesians 2:19 that involves our inclusion in “the household of God.” Our verse for today reads:
Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God – Ephesians 2:19.
As always, before we can understand what the verse means, we have to understand exactly what the text is saying. We do that by defining our key terms in order to see what the meaning of the word was when it was written, and not necessarily what it means today. After all, language is constantly in a state of flux and changes with each generation. For example, 50 years ago the word “mouse” meant only one thing to everyone, a furry rodent. But today our primary thought when we hear that word is of a computer mouse. You can see the importance of discovering the original meaning of the text and not making it say what we want it to say. So let’s define our words.
The Greek word translated “household” is oikeíos and means “belonging or standing in relation to the household.” Or, more literally, “belonging to a household.” The blessing for each of us as revealed in this verse once again drives home the point we are now God’s family, His children, and as such, members of His household, the “household of God” (Eph. 2:19). Which raises just a few questions and some encouraging answers.
Something About Us
This is a collection of the many questions I have struggled with and the answers I have found regarding the relationship between authentic faith in Christ and much of what is portrayed today as Biblical Christianity. Especially with the coming darkness looming over all of us, including the church.
Come with me. It should be a wild ride!
To find out more about us and what we believe, just continue reading…