What kind of car do you drive? Where do you live? Is your house small and modest or large and luxurious? What kind of clothes do you wear? Are they name brand? Are they the latest style? Are they from a thrift store? What do your kids wear? Do they wear name brand clothes? Where do you work? What do you do? How much money do you make? How big is your diamond?
As you answered these questions... what were you thinking? Ponder that... what you were thinking?
Now answer me this... does any of the above matter? Ponder your answer. And answer me this... Who are you in the spiritual world? Ponder that answer? And lastly... how does your spiritual world line up with your physical world?
In Ephesians 3, Paul is writing a letter to the church at Ephesus. He is writing to a group of believers. They are already Christians. It is important to remember that fact.
Paul describes himself in verse one as a "prisoner of Christ Jesus". He does not say, "prisoner for Christ". Being a "prisoner for Christ" would have eluded to some sort of defeat. However, even in light of the fact that Paul was mobbed, beaten, conspired against, ship wrecked and jailed many times, he describes himself as a "prisoner of Christ" and that eludes to priviledge and victory... not sadness and defeat!
When you are a prisoner "of" someone, you belong to them and are controlled by them. We have a choice. We can either be prisoners of Satan or prisoners of Christ. One brings death and one brings life. One brings bondage and one brings freedom. One brings darkness and one brings light. One brings destruction and one brings power and promise.
As believers, ones who have accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior, we are to become prisoners of Christ. We are to die to ourselves, be buried with Him, and be raised with Him into new life. Our new life is to not look like our old life... Our new life is to reflect the life and works of Christ. "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to my Father." John 14:12 Romans 6: 15+ describes changing from a slave of sin to a slave of God. Romans 6: 8-11 talks about having died with Christ and being made alive to God. There are many more references to this "dying to self, dying with Christ".
This is great news! Our culture wants us to think being a prisoner or slave of anything is bad... our culture rebels and rebels and rebels against authority. But hello... being a prisoner of : the Creator and God of the universe... the God that "is love"... the God that desires to bless us... ("Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who HAS BLESSED US with EVERY SPIRITUAL BLESSING in the the heavenly places IN CHRIST..." Ephesians 1:3) the God that is MIGHTY TO SAVE and goes before us (Isaiah 63:1) The God who LOVED us SO MUCH... that even while we were sinners, gave his only son as a sacrifice FOR US SO THAT we could KNOW HIM, RECEIVE HIM, DWELL WITH HIM, and have EVERLASTING LIFE. (Romans 5:8-11) I'll be a prisoner of that God... I'll be a prisoner of His Son that died for me and rose again and came to dwell and live in me! I'll do what He tells me to do!
Paul goes on to talk about a mystery. He then explains what that is in verse 6. "that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel..." Before Christ, God embraced only His chosen people, the Israelites, and they were Jews. The Old Testament does prophesy and tell about God's grace being available for the Gentiles too. However that "mystery" was not really made known until after Christ came, Christ was rejected by God's chosen people, and grace was offered to the Gentiles which made them equal in the body of Christ to Israel, God's chosen people.
In the Old Testament, the Israelites were celebrating feasts and Holy Days set up and declared by God. ALL THOSE holy feasts point to the Messiah... to Christ Jesus. So as the Israelites were doing the things God told them to do in the feasts... as God's chosen people... it was all a physical representation of Christ's life, death, resurrection and REIGN here on earth... that made God's promises available to the Gentiles as well!
"Celebrating Jesus in the Biblical Feasts," by Dr. Richard Booker
This book is amazing. I want to buy one for every believer I know. It opened my eyes to SO much about:
1.) How the Old Testament totally is interwoven with the New Testament
2.) How the biblical feasts are "holy days" created by God, with specific dates and for VERY specific reason
3.) How Christ and the disciples celebrated these feasts in the New Testament
4.) How every major event during these feasts in the Old Testament has a correlating major event happen with Christ in the New Testament ON THE SAME DATE ( not the same year obviously) (this builds your faith to new heights!)
5.) While Christ was being proclaimed the Messiah, arrested, tried, sacrificed, in the tomb, and resurrected... the Jews were celebrating the VERY feasts that pointed to Him on those VERY days... and were missing it
6.) How there is one feast (the last one, Feast of Tabernacles) that has not yet been fulfilled...
but will be when Christ returns
7.) How celebrating those feasts as believers today enriches our knowledge of our "roots", our Savior, our God, and our faith as we see His Holy word come to be in every little tiny detail!
8.) Celebrating those feasts (and the one that hasn't been fulfilled yet) prepares us for the last one... the second coming of the Lord! And remember... ALL the events in the Old Testament happened with Christ on those SAME dates in the New Testament! I want to be celebrating the Holy Feast of Tabernacles when Christ returns to fulfill it!!!!!!!!!!!!! PRAISE HIM! And get this... If ALL THE FEASTS that have been fulfilled in the New Testament were done so during the corresponding feast in the Old Testament... doesn't that give MIGHTY example and evidence that the last one will do the same! We will not know the day or the hour. He comes like a thief in the night. But we'll know the season... and it is the season of the Feast of Tabernacles! Scriptures tell us over and over to "watch".
Doesn't that just ignite your passion and love for His word! Doesn't that just ignite your desire to dive into His word and learn it and obey it! PRAISE HIM.... ALMIGHTY GOD!
I recommend HIGHLY you get the book and BE BLESSED with knowledge of your God, your Father and your Savior!
That's all for today. I HAVE to clean the floors, a shower would be nice... since we are hanging with friends tonight, and I am sure I can find some clothes to fold!
My prayer and claim is that you can realize and become grounded in who you are as a believer and silence the lies of the enemy. NONE of the first answers to the first questions MATTER! It is the enemy who wants you to think they matter... and to focus on them... and to strive towards them... to look to them... to find your identity in them!
I'll talk more about who we are as believers in my next post from verse 6... but today we have realized we are prisoners of Christ... prisoners of the Son of God... prisoners of God. And we had a small glimpse at WHO God is and how much He loves us! And we know that THAT is a GREAT THING!