Body Ministry – BT11: Christians loved to “party” in the 1st century, just like they do now
Body Ministry – BT11: Christians loved to “party” in the 1st century, just like they do now
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In Ephesians 5:11-21, Paul says Christians were even “taking part in the unfruitful works of darkness,” which certainly wasn’t “wise, making the best use of their time” because they were “getting drunk with wine, that is [or leads to further] debauchery (a).” Remember their “agape love feasts” that they were getting drunk at (b)? These Christians were partying like the world does.
Christians often act perplexed what the “will of the Lord is” (j). But here Paul tells them what it is, which is rarely done by him, directly coupling (c) the following infinitive “to get drunk” as an extension of what he just said: “What the will of the Lord is, that is (c) absolutely-in-possibility-NOT ongoingly to get drunk by the means of wine, which is ongoingly debauchery (d), but instead routinely/habitually [passively] become filled (e) by-the-means-of the Spirit, routinely/habitually conversationally-speaking (f) to yourselves (reciprocally to one another) by the means of psalms (g) and/coupled hymns and/coupled Spirit-kind-of odes (h), routinely/habitually singing/praising and/coupled routinely/habitually psalming (g) in/by/with the hearts of yours in/by/with the Lord (Jesus), always routinely/habitually giving thanks in behalf of all things in/by/with the name/authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to the God and Father, routinely/habitually submitting to (i) one another reciprocally/mutually in/by/with reverent awe of Christ.”
<Notes> a) abandoned, uninhibited, excessive, wasteful, unsaved living, b) Jude 1:12; 1 Corinthians 11:21, c) kai, d) abandoned, excessive, wasteful, unsaved living, e) pleroo: completely to overflowing, f) laleo: conversational words emphasizing the social aspect, g) psalmos, psallo is the verb: “hit, twanged, plucked, or twitched” out songs with/without singing, h) a general word for song, instrumentally-accompanied or not, of any subject, but the ‘Spirit’ adjective narrows it to spontaneous praise, i) voluntarily subordinating, being subject to, j) see New Covenant – BT16: The New Covenant also has a completely-different-in-kind WAY to know God’s will and Least Among You – BT8: Little children discern God’s will by the means of the Spirit.
Wow, God doesn’t want us “partying” like the world does in darkness, getting filled up by wine to become drunk and “loose as a goose and going crazy,” but to get filled up BY the means of the Spirit. At least two scholars note (a) that this is not “WITH the Spirit” because the dative case of en pneumati never translates that way, but as the “dative of means or instrument” so “BY the means of,” and because Paul says earlier that we are “pleroo filled-to-the-brim eis ‘toward and reaching the goal/purpose of’ the pleroma abundant-fullness of/belonging-to God, the Father” in Ephesians 3:19, so these 2 verse go together! <Notes> a) Douglas Petrovich in The Meaning of En Pneumati and Daniel B Wallace in Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament.
But Paul doesn’t leave us hanging about what kind of radical new “party” that the Body-of-Christ, fellow Christians, are engaging in! It is actually a “habit or lifestyle” of Body-of-Christ ministry to and from one another, reciprocally/mutually, not from 1 or 2 “ministers” on stage to an audience. It is through singing/playing sacred praise songs, and even those that come from the Spirit – this is exactly the anointed, prophetic, even spontaneous music we need to do WITH the Lord, not just WITH each other! This Body “reciprocation” is also through routinely/habitually thanking the Father in the name/authority of Christ, and finally routinely/habitually subordinating ourselves to one another, reciprocally/mutually, and instead of looking up at 1 or 2 “leaders over us,” we looking up to Christ as our “leader.” In other words, there is not room for bosses or “one-man shows” here!
Can you honestly say that there is no invisible “Great Wall” between most churches “ministers” and the “audience,” between the clergy and the laity? Have you really seen a “reciprocal/mutual exchange” between the stage and the seats in front of it? And is there really a 2-way submission going on? The fact that there is a stage and an audience betrays the facts of what’s really going on! We want Spirit-baptism (or maybe we don’t) but are we willing to do the rest of the package deal! That’s “The Great Wall” quenching the Holy Spirit that I saw at a church that was having a special speaker talking about revival of all things. But anytime we crack this “Great Wall” then the Holy Spirit is quick to burst through it and revive us! Just think what would happen if we would just be brave enough to tear “The Great Wall” down entirely!
Colossians 3:16-17 is a very similar passage about Body-of-Christ ministry. Paul talks to Christians about their new life in Christ, having a mind NOW set on heavenly, not earthly things (vv. 1-2) because they are NOW “in Christ,” so they need to starve to death their earthly behavior that is bringing God’s wrath on the world (vv. 5-9). They have already “stripped off” their palaios “old, worn out, useless self,” accomplished in water-baptism – v. 2:12, which had been motivating this fleshly behavior, where they had already put on [like clothes] their completely different-in-kind ‘new self.’
But presently/ongoingly this ‘new self’ is ‘renovated, renewed, freshly strengthened’ eis ‘toward and reaching the goal/purpose of’ (a) of [their] genuine, experiential, relational epignosis knowledge [that is] kata down-from/according-to the Image (Christ) of Him (The Father) that create him (the new self). . . but Christ is all and in all . . . Therefore, definitively/wholly put on [as fresh clothes] (b) then, as God’s chosen ones . . . [Paul gives a list of godly traits concerning relationships] . . . and above all these [put on as fresh clothes] unconditional-love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony, and/coupled let the relational peace of Christ rule in your [plural] hearts – to which you were called in one Body [to], and/coupled be thankful. <Notes> a) eis, b) get those fresh, clean clothes back on.
Paul continues: [I strongly urge you to] ongoingly let the [gospel] logos message of Christ dwell in you [plural] richly by the means of all wisdom, routinely/habitually teaching and/coupled routinely/habitually admonishing (a) one another, reciprocally/mutually, by-the-means-of psalms (b), hymns, Spirit-kind-of odes (c) with unconditional-loving-favor-of-grace (d), singing/praising in/by/with your hearts to God, and/thus whatever you do, in/by/with logos message (teaching and admonition) or deed, do everything in the name/authority of the Lord Jesus, routinely/habitually giving thanks to God the Father thru-the-realizing-channel-of Him (Christ).” <Notes> a) noutheteo ‘placing in mind’ by warning through reason or instruction, b) psalmos: “hit, twanged, plucked, or twitched” out songs with/without singing, c) spontaneous hymns or psalms rather than pre-composed, d) here we are to be aware of/recognize “grace in/by/with your hearts,” and naturally our response would be thanksgiving expressed through “singing/praising in/by/with” those same “grateful hearts!”
Paul is talking about relational peace and the gospel being the rule, instead of the exception, within the gathering of the Body-of-Christ. This is not accomplished through church bible-studies that simply accumulate gnosis info-knowledge, but by the means of “wisdom taught by the Spirit where Spirit-kind-of things/people [neuter: or their prophecies] are interpreted/compared/contrasted with [other] Spirit-kind-of things/people [neuter: or their prophecies]” (a), and this “Spirit-kind-of insightful wisdom (b) and/coupled ‘connect-the-dots’ understanding (c) only comes directly from the Lord by being filled with the genuine, experiential, relational epignosis knowledge of God’s will (d). <Notes> a) 1 Corinthians 2:13, cf. 12:8; Ephesians 1:17, b) sophia, c) sunesis, d) Colossians 1:9.
But how does this relational peace and gospel logos message through the Spirit’s wisdom rule in the Body’s meetings? What does that look like? By Body-of-Christ ministry: teaching and admonishing one another reciprocally/mutually! The early churches didn’t have 1 pastor/shepherd or 1 bishop-overseer wearing all the hats! “It wasn’t until around 108 AD that Ignatius of Antioch started arguing for the mono-episcopacy or 1-bishop rule. Prior to that time, each church was governed by groups of presbyteros elders or episcopos bishop-overseers or poimen shepherds, since these terms were virtually synonymous.” Later the Protestants churches just renamed the single-bishop ruler a “pastor” or “minister.” Do you see how the traditions of men get started and how they evolve?
What’s the primary way Paul sees this “teaching and admonishing” happening to create a Christian “party?” It’s through gracious, heartfelt singing/praising to Father God of songs with/without accompaniment, which is anointed, prophetic, and even spontaneous music by the Spirit, so that whatever that is said or done is in the person/authority of Christ, giving thanks to the Father through Christ. Again, this isn’t a complete list of what goes on in Body-of-Christ ministry, because in many other passages Paul includes much more than just music that is to be shared in koinonia fellowship. We have to remember the context that limits Paul’s list of activities: a Christian party, but not by getting drunk on wine!
Spiritual Education, Body Ministry, Christian parties are different than worldly parties, Getting drunk on the Spirit instead of wine, Will of God is to not get drunk on booze but be filled with God by the Spirit, NOT filled WITH the Spirit, Christians parties are about Body-Ministry to build each other up, Christians parties are in the presence of God by the Spirit, Christians parties are about true fellowship, Christians parties don’t have clergy versus laity, The gospel dwells in the Church richly by Spirit gifts in Body Ministry not bible-study, Unity comes from Body-Ministry in koinonia fellowship, Unity doesn’t come from zealous leadership wearing all the hats, teaching & admonishing is to come from the Body-of-Christ not leadership