The apostle has spent time writing about the nature of the church, the movement of the growing body of Christ and now is turning to its behaviour. He is basically going to help us be a Christian in a non-Christian world. Don’t be confused into thinking this is about advocating not to be a Gentile but a Jew. The use of the world Gentile is definitely referring to anyone outside of Christ.
“So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.” Ephesians 4:17-19
In the many stages of our lives and the situations we find ourselves in we are always there. I.
Our greatest battle in our lives has been with ourselves.
Some people don’t have a problem with what I am thinking about right now. They are mouthy, loud, rude and offensive and are totally blinkered to the feelings of others. I need to say that because it is the caveat to what I am writing.
The church needs people who have battled and are continually overcoming who they are in order to be who God has created them to be. To be able to stand and preach, teach, share in a conversation, respond and react to situations with a confident I.
We need pulpits of confidence.
I watched an online service last Sunday of a Pastor who has grown so much in confidence. The difference is tangible. I wrote to encourage them. It doesn’t matter whether you are preaching behind a pulpit or trying to encourage some fellow believers. Whatever setting the Lord has placed you in, even in a prison writing to the Church, do so with confidence.
So I tell you this …
This apostle, who knows Christ, who has been commissioned by Christ, speaks/writes with authority.
Authority in the wrong mouth is offensive because it is arrogant, brutal and abusive. But in the mouth of the chosen it is captivating.
There are many examples of this throughout Church history. George Whitfield (1714-1770) is one of those. When London’s churches were closed to him, Whitefield took as his congregation the miners of Bristol. Soon he was preaching outdoors to twenty thousand people, who stood with “tears cutting white furrows through the coal dust on their faces.”
Frequently his sermons extended to four and even six hours, his audience at times standing in the rain to hear his message.
But Whitfield lived with Christ. “I began to read the Holy Scriptures upon my knees, laying aside all other books, and praying over, if possible, every line and word. . . . Oh, what sweet communion had I daily . . . with God in prayer. . . . How assuredly have 1 felt that Christ dwelt in me, and I in Him! and how did I daily walk in the comforts of the Holy Ghost, and was edified and refreshed in the multitude of peace! Not that I was always upon the mount; sometimes a cloud would overshadow me; but the Sun of righteousness quickly arose and dispelled it, and I knew it was Jesus Christ that revealed Himself to my soul. I always observed, as my inward strength increased, so my outward sphere of action increased proportionately. . . . For many months have I been almost always upon my knees, to study and pray. . . . “1
And insist on it in the Lord
I’m not backing down from what I am saying. I mean it. I’m walking with Christ. I speak in, with and for Christ on this matter. I will not negotiate or compromise on this.
You must no longer …
In you work, leisure, neighbourhood, where you go, whatever you do, you must stop doing this and start doing that. I want to see a change.
Until I is refashioned in Christ then our Churches and communities will be weak.
We must all find our authority in Christ. Especially the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers who equip the people of God so that the Church moves. But every member needs to know their authority in Christ. They need confidence as a Christian. They need to know their I.