Showing posts from April, 2019

Pushing Forward, Toward Fullness

“And He gave SOME as APOSTLES, and SOME as PROPHETS and SOME EVANGELISTS, and SOME as PASTORS and TEACHERS, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the BUILDING UP OF THE BODY OF CHRIST; until we ALL attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the MEASURE of the STATURE of the FULLNESS of CHRIST.” Ephesians 4:11-13 NASB (Emphasis added).      What a statement. The first thing that probably jumps out are the gifts bestowed on some of the believers. In church, we hear all the time that He equips whom He has called. This passage shows us that He—specifically Jesus, (remember that Paul was talking about Christ descending and ascending in the passages before verse 11)—gave these works of service to certain believers, to build up the Body of Christ. These works of service are the very tasks, or jobs of being an apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher.       If we look at these verses for what they are sayin

Jesus Faced It All

“Now this expression, “He ascended,” what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He may fill all things.” -Ephesians 4:9-10 NASB      These two verses amp me up. First, Paul is reinforcing what was understood in his day, Christ had to die and share in that fate with us. He had to be buried in the tomb so that the tomb was empty. But, this goes back to what I wrote in Gift of Faith, about Scripture interpreting Scripture. In several other places within the Old and New Testament, the Word talks about Christ being crucified and the Apostles write about how God raised Him from the dead, releasing Him from it (Acts 2:24). Paul even proclaims that death has lost its sting and the grave has lost its victory (1 Corinthians 15:55-57)!      This is only part of why I get amped up reading these two verses. How many of us have experienced death, be it a loved one, or a personal near-death experi

#JCCOne Challenge

Gift of Faith

“Therefore, it says, WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH, HE LED A HOST OF CAPTIVES AND HE GAVE GIFTS TO MEN.” Ephesians 4:8 ESV      It is always cool to me when the Apostle Paul uses Scripture to point to Christ. By the time Ephesians was written between 60-62 AD, Paul was already locked up in Rome. The Gospel of Mark was already written and we can be rather sure that Matthew and Luke were either written or being written. There is some debate on when the Gospel of John was penned. Some scholars suggest that it was written sometime around 85 AD or after. However, there is evidence from the Dead Sea Scrolls that suggests all the Gospels were written before AD 60, including John.      Personally, I tend to fall into the pre-60 AD camp for all the Gospels due to the evidence. First, aside from what we can determine outside of the scripture that supports a much earlier date, there is something that has stuck with me ever since I heard Andy Stanley preach on it. It is the complete lack of m



Beautiful Grace

“But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.” Ephesians 4:7 NASB      This verse resonates with me. Christ’s gift to us may make us think of salvation, being brought back into relationship with God and being forgiven of our sins. Christ did all of that for us. However, the very word gift in this verse means sacrifice, as well as represents a form of payment. What a clear picture that is of what He did for us. He sacrificed what none of the priests before Him nor anyone since could ever sacrifice to ensure that our debts, our sins, were paid.      Do we meditate enough on the measure of Christ’s sacrifice? He looked Judas in the eye, knowing what the kiss meant. He let the priests and guards take Him from Gethsemane fully aware that He was going to be condemned, that the flesh would be scourged from His back and that He would be publicly shamed, mocked and attacked. He was beaten by the soldiers, His clothes taken from Him, spit on and the