Power From On High

…who has blessed us with spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.

…what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe,

according to the working of His mighty power. Ephesians 1:3 & 19

Promptly in his letter, Paul takes the Christian reader to the dimension beyond familiar terra-firma. We learn of the reality of heavenly places. We also learn of the spiritual battle constant to us. Our victory, solely through Jesus, is certain (Col.2:13-15), yet we are engaged in this conflict until home in Heaven. In Ephesians 6, Paul tells us to armor-up, to be strong and engaged. It is sad when a Christian, perhaps even for a long time, is still weak. Being strong in the Lord has nothing to do with the length of our salvation. Our strength sources from “His power toward us” and the “working of His mighty power.”

Pastor John Stott comments on the absolute need of strength for the believer.

Wobbly Christians who have no firm foothold in Christ are an easy prey for the devil. And Christians who shake like reeds and rushes cannot resist the wind when the principalities and powers begin to blow. Paul wants to see Christians so strong and stable that they remain firm even against the devil’s wiles (Eph.6:11) and even in the evil day, that is, in a time of great pressure. For such stability, both of character and in crisis, the armor of God is essential.

Interestingly Paul penned this letter while in guard of Rome. He had been in the company of Roman soldiers for years. He knew about armor. Roman armor was to protect the soldier’s body from the weapons of the enemy. Because we fight a spiritual battle only spiritual armor can protect us. The Christian’s armor protects the soul. Armor is useless hanging in the closet; be it ignored or studied, it must be put on deliberately, thoughtfully and intelligently. If donned, it protects the mind, heart, soul, spirit, conscience and will.

This armor is not our armor, it is God’s armor. You can’t provide it yourself. You can’t muster up enough mental, emotional, or physical strength–utterly impossible since it is a spiritual battle. And a spiritual battle requires spiritual armor.

The battle has eternal ramifications, but it also affects the here-and-now. The greatest joys come from the greatest victories, and the great victories come from the great battles—when they are fought in the power and with the armor of the Lord.

Be strong—not in yourselves but in the Lord, in the power of His boundless resource. Put on God’s complete armor so that you may successfully resist all the devil’s methods of attack.

For our fight is not against any physical enemy. It is against organizations and powers that are spiritual. (Ephesians 6:10-12, Phillips)

Armor-up and Maranatha!

A song for meditation

A Theology of Work

…doing the will of God from the heart, with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord,
and not to men, knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free (Ephesians 6:6b-8)

Last week we explored this passage, like all of Scripture the layers are deep–depths that can only be scratched. Scholar John Phillips adds another layer we can glean much from:

The Lord is always present. We serve Him, not men. All service is on a higher plane for believers. We are in God’s will when we do ‘secular’ work, just as much as when we do ‘sacred’ work.

The Holy Spirit in Ephesians 6:6-7 abolishes the distinction between those of us in secular employment and those of us in full time service–the plumber as much as the preacher, the economist as much as the evangelist, the policeman as much as the pastor and the miner as much as the missionary.

All these vocations are in God’s will, and God’s will must be done from the heart. We can serve God out of a sense of discipline. Discipline says, ‘I have to’; it is motivation from a will that has been compelled. We can serve God out of a sense of duty. Duty says, ‘I ought to’; it is motivation from a mind that has been convinced. Or we can serve God out of a sense of devotion. Devotion says, ‘I want to’; it is motivation from a heart that has been captured.

God’s will for every employee is that he serve his human master with all his heart—with wholehearted commitment to his employer’s gain and advantage. His commitment should be like Joseph’s when he served Potipher. The Christian employee should give the kind of selfless service the slave girl gave to Naaman’s wife.

When we Christians serve our human masters, we are serving the One who loved us enough to die for us and who gave us an example of service. Mark 10:45 reads, “The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” That kind of service took Jesus all the way to Calvary.

We may never receive recognition, reward, promotion, or praise down here, but we will receive it in Heaven. The Lord’s payday is not at the end of the week; it is at the end of our lives. Sometimes God rewards us along the way, but these encouragements are only tokens of what is to come. Payday is at the judgement seat of Christ. Our efforts will seem worthwhile when we hear the Lord say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21).

Keep going dear church, keep going… Heaven is soon, real soon!


A song for meditation

Comparing Ladders?

…doing the will of God from the heart, with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord,

and not to men, knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free.

Ephesians 6:6-8

Our culture exhibits an unspoken hierarchy of value among individuals. It reveals to us, in not-so-subtle ways, where each fits into its value system. Much of this is based on the vocation we have. New Testament writings crush any such idea. For the Christian, such a hierarchy does not exist. Romans 2:6-11, 3:23, 5:18 clearly reveal we are all in the same dilemma of sin with a universally available rescue from this sin by our Savior Jesus Christ, who desires to do just that for any and all!

James also (James 2:1) clearly reminds the Believer there is to be no partiality. As Christians we are to relate differently to people than the way our culture tends to. We are not to give preferential treatment to a certain class or ethnic group. We are to care for the rich and powerful as well as the poor and powerless. We are to avoid dehumanizing people by thinking less of them… and yet avoid idolizing others by thinking too highly of them.

We are prone to place a very high worth on our vocation and that of others. For many, even those in the church, it is the most important thing in one’s life. We know this not to be true, yet we often lean into such tendency. What matters is not where you work, or the status of success or personal fulfillment…what ultimately matters is how I sincerely choose to respond to the invitation to be rescued from my sin.

Do I value the gift of salvation that God has offered me? It is crucially important how I respond to Jesus.

Jesus said, For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul (Mark 8:36). Paul wrote as having nothing, and yet possessing all things (2 Corinthians 6:10). Based on the words of Scripture, the person who has Jesus and nothing has no less than the person who has Jesus and everything else. If one has the short-view of “ all that matters is life-on-earth”, that which Paul writes makes no sense. Yet with eternity in mind it makes complete sense, and is wonderfully both comforting and liberating.

Do you belong to Jesus Christ? Then you possess everything! What you do in this life does matter. It matters in this life, and into eternity. What matters most to you? Is it the economic environment… the physical environment? Perhaps the need of justice? The political atmosphere? The success of your team, or your grades? Paul, who saw and felt tremendous troubles and inconsistencies in this world, pens an incredible statement which in its powerful brevity provides us a needed perspective. A dozen words from Philippians 1:21 which, if embraced, keep us true and balanced in this life on earth into eternity

“For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”


A Song for Meditation