Spirit – Baptism – BT10
Relational prayer gets the ball rolling to be empowered by the Spirit for faith and love
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Well, let’s see if what we have discussed so far fits into the context of what Paul was saying even earlier in Ephesians 4:1-16. Living with “humility, gentleness, patience, bearing with each other in unconditional-love, eager to be unified by peace” and “speaking the truth in/by/with unconditional-love” to build up the Body of Christ by the means of unconditional-love are surely ways to “walk in a manner worthy of our calling” (a), and certainly the “best use of one’s time in ‘connect-the-dots’ understanding of the will of the Lord” (b). Note the emphasis on unconditional-love! <Notes> a) Ephesians 4:1, b) Ephesians 5:17.
Ephesians 4:4-16 is one of Paul’s famous side-track tangents because he has to address division/disunity within the Church, which is definitely NOT showing unconditional-love! It also comes from NOT understanding that each Christian is an equal member of Christ’s Body with different praxis functions, so nobody should think more highly of themselves (a) – see Body-Ministry – BT2. In fact, Jesus said that we were to be like little children (b), servants, and slaves of each other – who never gave orders, but only took them – instead of exercising authority over others like their world’s hierarchies were established (c) – see The Least Among You. There is only one Head (d) over the Body. There was nothing “special” in any member of the Body to give reason for the Holy Spirit to give any gifts to any of us – these were all undeserved, unmerited, and unconditional by the definition of charis grace and charismati gift. There is no first, second, third, etc. ranking or hierarchy of grace-gifts or the people who get them! 1 Corinthians 12:28 “first, second, third, then” series of grace-gifts are simply numbers in the Greek – not ranking! See Coaches & Facilitators – BT12. <Notes> a) Roman 12:3-8, b) Matthew 11:25, 18:3, 19:14; Mark 10:14; Luke 10:21, 18:16, c) Matthew 20:25-28; Mark 10:42-45, d) master or leader who is “above” or “over” anybody.
Ranking would also violate the context of 1 Corinthians 12-14 and Paul’s other writings about the equality of the Body and that there is only one Head with ALL authority over the Church (a). That leaves NO authority for anybody else, regardless of what a pastor says in order to get their way! Christ prohibited the use of elevating titles such as Father, Rabbi (“Teacher”) or Master (b), because they we are “all brethren” of one another and there is only one Father, one Master (the Lord Jesus), and one Teacher – now Christ’s Holy Spirit, the Parakletos: Wonderful Counselor. That’s why John confidently said there was “absolutely in fact no need that anyone should teach you, because the anointing of the Holy One (c) that you received from the Father abides/lives in you, and His anointing teaches you about everything” (d). The “anointing” is always a reference to the indwelling Holy Spirit – now our One Teacher! See Least Among You – BT5 and Teach One Another. <Notes> a) 1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 1:22, 5:23; Colossians 1:18, 2:10, 19, b) Matthew 23:7-9, c) 1 John 2:20, d) 1 John 2:27.
Let’s go further back to Ephesians 3:14-21 to Paul’s desperate conversational-prayer for all the Christians he intends this letter to circulate to: “For this reason (a) I presently/ongoingly bow/bend my knees (b) before the Father . . . 16 in order that down-from/according-to the riches of His glory (t) He may grant you to be [passively] strengthened (c) with dunamis enabling-power dia through-the-realizing-channel-of His Spirit (d) within your inner-being (s), 17 [that is,] Christ (e) to dwell (f) through-the-realizing-channel-of The Faith (g) in your hearts, in/by/with unconditional-love – already having been with habitual results (h) rooted (i) and/coupled already having been with habitual results (f) grounded (j) [k] – in order that you definitively/wholly comprehend (l) with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth (m) and/coupled to wholly/definitively experientially, relationally ginosko know the unconditional-love of Christ that ongoingly surpasses gnosis info-knowledge (n) in order that you may be pleroo completely-filled (o) with (p) all the pleroma abundant-fullness (q) of God. 20 Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly (r) than all that we ask or think, down-from/according-to the dunamis enabling-power at work within us (s), 21 to Him be glory/praise in the Church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
<Notes> a) resumes v. 1’s “for this reason” after another long parenthetical tangent, b) in worshipful, honoring prayer, c) passive of krataioo: empowered, invigorated, d) this is very close in meaning to en pneumati – by the means/instrument of the Spirit, e) in the accusative cases acts as general reference, f) inhabit us, g) “The Faith” is always a reference to the Christian Faith once for all delivered to the saints per Jude 1:3 – see next paragraph, h) perfect passive participle: with continuing lifestyle results, i) fixed in place, established, strengthened or made firm by roots, j) built on a foundation, k) the phrase “in/by unconditional-love” could possibly be placed here instead without changing the meaning, l) aorist tense of katalambano: ‘wholly accomplish this by seizing or grabbing a hold of, down from’ God, Christ, or the Spirit – see knowledge, m) the dimensions of ‘Christ’s unconditional-love‘ that is following, n) this is likely a slap in the face of the “secret gnosis knowledge” of Gnosticism and the Mystery Religions and even the scholastic gnosis knowledge of the Jews, o) pleroo: crammed full to the brim, completed, satisfied, p) eis: towards and arriving at, in the genitive introduces the content of the filling in Ephesians 5:18, q) pleroma: that which is complete or abundant, i.e., “the riches of His glory,” which can in turn pleroo fill to completion, r) huperekeina is possible because of God’s pleroma fullness, s) vv. 16, 20: The Spirit within our mind/heart/inner being, t) akin to “the His abundant-fullness” of Ephesians 3:19.
Why was it so important for Paul to appeal to God in conversational-prayer for these Christians to be empowered by the means/instrument of the Spirit to experience the abundant-fullness of God? Paul’s “for this reason” of Ephesians 3:14 points backward to the “for this reason” of Ephesians 3:1-13, where he explains that the mystery of Christ was revealed to him, as with all the apostles and NT prophets, by the means of the Spirit – that the Gentile Christians are of the same Body of Christ as the Jews who first received the Spirit. The Spirit by this same unconditional-favor-of-grace has empowered him to be an apostle to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ, so that through the one Church the wisdom of God will be revealed.
This is all a continuation of Paul’s thoughts in Ephesians 2:11-22, that the Gentile and Jewish Christians are one in Christ, since the Law of ordinances that made a Jew a Jew had been abolished, reconciling now both kinds of Christians to God into one Body through the cross, giving both access to the Father through one Spirit. The point of all this is verse 22: “In Christ you also are being built together into a dwelling place (a holy temple) for God by the means of the Spirit.” The reason why Paul is conversationally-praying in Ephesians 3:14 for Christians to be empowered by the means of the Spirit is because whether being, “rooted and grounded” or “built into a temple dwelling place” or getting wisdom or revelation, they will have to get it the same way the apostles and NT prophets got it – by the means/instrument of the Spirit!
“The Faith” refers to their trusting-relying-dependance in Christ when they first heard the logos gospel message of Christ about God’s unconditional-love through Christ. And this unconditional-love is what now dwells within them as the person of the Holy Spirit – whose very nature is unconditional-love (a), just as God’s nature is (b) – all because of their trusting-relying-faith in Christ. This is an unconditional-love they had already been rooted into the ground of (c) that also built them on top of the massive foundational Petra Rock of Christ (d) not petros Peter – see The Great Wall – BT4! <Notes> a) Galatians 5:22, b) 1 John 4:8, 16, c) as branches into the Vine of Christ, John 15. The seed needs to get rooted into good ground for it to produce fruit: Matthew 13:3-8. d) Matthew 7:24-25, 16:18; Luke 6:48; Romans 9:33; 1 Corinthians 10:4; 1 Peter 2:8.
This “rooting and grounding” in unconditional-love isn’t only the beginning “event” of their Christian new birth! This foundational experience should still be influencing them to the present day, thus Paul’s use of perfect participles for “having already been rooted and grounded with ongoing results.” So, what is the ‘ongoing result’ of them continuing to exercise “The-trusting-relying-Faith” in the Father, Son, and Spirit’s logos message of unconditional-love given to them by unconditional-favor-of-grace?
But more importantly what is the ‘ongoing result’ of God granting Paul’s conversational-prayer in Ephesians 3:16-17 to “be power-strengthened through-the-realizing-channel-of His Spirit IN your inner-being so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through-the-realizing-channel-of trusting-relying-faith?” A series of ongoing results ensue: a deepening grasp or comprehension and definitively/wholly, experientially, relationally ginosko knowing of Christ’s unconditional-love that will always eclipse any gnosis info-knowledge that any philosophy or religion could offer! What counts is not what you know about, but WHO you know personally! Just as “ongoing results ensue” from encountering the enabling-power of the Holy Spirit here, we see that same “consequence” format in Ephesians 5:18-21 – “Being habitually completely-filled by the means/instrument of the Spirit” habitually results in: “routinely addressing one another . . . singing and/coupled psalming . . . always giving thanks . . . submitting to one another.” Clearly this Spirit-filling is key!
We see this progression by the 3 uses of “in order that” above conveys: Conversational-prayer starts the ball rolling. Paul thus prays that from the “storehouse” of God’s glorious, abundant, full richness that every Christian will be granted empowerment from the Holy Spirit, who is Christ living within them since the time they had first had The Faith in God’s unconditional-love through Christ, granted empowerment to not only mentally grasp but also experientially, relationally know the full dimensions of Christ’s unconditional-love that far surpasses any kind of philosophical or religious head gnosis knowledge, but also granted empowerment to then be completely-filled from God’s abundant-fullness of His glorious riches, according to that same indwelling Holy Spirit. Conversational-prayer starts the process!
We saw Paul praying in Ephesians 1:16-20: “In my proseuche conversational-prayers [I asked] . . . that God . . . might grant God them the Spirit who possesses wisdom and/coupled revelation by the means/instrument of genuine, experiential, relational epignosis knowledge, [them] having had the eyes of their hearts enlightened with routine results toward/reaching you [thus] to having mentally “seen” to perceive/know [with ongoing results]:
1) What is the hope to which He has called you,
2) What are the riches of the glory of His inheritance IN the saints, and/coupled:
3) What habitually is the immeasurably-surpassing–greatness of His dunamis enabling-power toward/reaching us who have trusting-relying-faith down-from/according-to the [energetically-effective working of His great endowing, manifesting might.”
These Christians who already have the Holy Spirit need more of the Holy Spirit’s wisdom and revelation for these 3 things to ongoingly-result, and so Paul conversationally-prays this for them. How can Christian can get the same ongoing-results? By conversationally-praying within a genuine, experiential, relational epignosis knowledge of God, just like Paul did! It’s really that simple – simple for the Least Among You to do!
The “empowering work of God” that Paul is conversationally-praying for Christians in Ephesians 1:16-20 above and later in Ephesians 3:14-20 to experience is the same that “declared Jesus as the Son of God” (a); the same “dunamis enabling-power of God for our salvation (b) for everyone who has trusting-relying-faith” (c); the same “invisible attributes of God, namely His eternal enabling-power and divine nature” for which all creation shows off (d); the same power that God showed to Pharaoh through the plagues (e); the same enabling-power that creates charismata “grace-gifts” that powerfully affect and enable us individually: message of wisdom, a message of knowledge, faith (h), healing, performance of miracles, prophecy (divinely given words), discernment of spirits – see New Covenant Ways – BT16, different kinds (family groupings) of tongues, interpretation of tongues (f), in order to powerfully work through us in these services or functions of: prophecy, services (helps), teaching, exhortation, giving, leading, mercies or compassions (g) in categories of ministry as: functional grace-gifts of administration as apostles (i) or shepherding (j) and speaking such as prophets, evangelists (preachers), and teachers in addition to grace-gifts of miracles, healing, helps (k), and tongues – the context refers only to the public use of tongues and thus includes interpretation of tongues so that others can benefit from them (l). There are a 60 or so verses just in the NT about the dunamis enabling-power of God as the Holy Spirit. <Notes> a) Romans 1:4, b) mending wholeness within ourselves, with God, and with others, c) Romans 1:16, d) Romans 1:20, e) Romans 9:17, f) 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, g) 1 Corinthians 12:6-8, h) to do miracles, “to move mountains”, i) “sent out” ones, church-planters, j) pastors such as: elders, presbyters, or bishops, k) physically serving, l) Ephesians 4:7-11, 1 Corinthians 12:28.
We have one part to play to get the ball rolling! It is to drawing near to God through Christ (a) with the single-mindness of trusting-relying-faith (b) or confidence (c) or a full assurance of trusting-relying-faith (d) or related hope (e), by having trusting-relying-faith that God is there to be found and that He rewards those who habitually seek Him (f). See Conversational-Prayer. <Notes> a) Hebrews 7:25, b) James 4:8, c) Hebrews 4:16, d) Hebrews 10:22, e) Hebrews 7:19, f) Hebrews 11:6.
As much as Paul relies on the enabling-power of the Holy Spirit, he knew the part we play. We’ve seen 3 places in Ephesians where he desparetly conversationally-prays to God to invoke the enabling-power of the Holy Spirit (a). In Romans 12:12 he says, “habitually be earnest towards (b) proseuche conversational-prayer,” including it in a list of Christian actions, likely as a practical way to “ongoingly not be conformed to this world, but being ongoingly transformed by the means of the anakainosis completely different-in-kind ‘making new within’ of your mind/heart/innermost-being, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God.” <Notes> a) Ephesians 1:16, 3:14, 6:18, b) persevere, diligent, attend assiduously.
In Colossians 4:2 Paul says, “Ongoingly be earnest towards (a) proseuche conversational-prayer, habitually watching (b) in it with thanksgiving.” Why? Because he understands that if we pray like he did, we can also be filled with the genuine, experiential, relational epignosis knowledge of God’s will, as Paul said earlier in Colossians 1:9-12, “We have not ceased to proseuchomai conversationally-pray for you and/coupled asking [God] in order that you might be filled with the genuine, experiential, relational, epignosis knowledge of God’s will by all [kinds of] Spirit-kind-of sophia wisdom and sunesis ‘connect-the-dots’ understanding. Clearly this is how we “learn, discern, or understand” God’s will – through revelation by the means of the Spirit! But the whole process starts with proseuche conversational-prayer! <Notes> a) persevere, diligent, attend assiduously, b) staying awake, alert, attentive, vigilant.
That’s why Paul realizes in 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12, that although the road to the final judgment of God is very long and there is much affliction and suffering expected from persecution, the only way these Christians are going to get there is by God’s enabling-power and this takes conversational-prayer: “To this end we always proseuchomai conversationally-pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of His calling and may fulfill every one [of your] delights (a) of/belonging-to goodness and/coupld [the, singular] work of/belonging-to [the, singular] trusting-relying-faith by the means of His dunamis enabling-power, 12 [in a manner so] that the name/reputation of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in/among you, and you in Him, down-from/according-to the unconditional-favor-of-grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Paul knows that we desperately need God’s Spirit-power to “fulfill” our “delight in goodness” and our “work to keep the faith” or “the work of faith and labor of love” in 1 Thessalonians 1:3. This certainly is Paul’s “slap” across the teachers of the Law who push the “works of the Law.” This is the only way Christians can become a reflection of Christ, to get the grace of the Father and Son from heaven down to earth – to see His kingdom coming! Can you see why the “work of faith” even depends on the Holy Spirit’s enabling-power, but it all starts with our conversational-prayer!
As Christian musicians, are we still promoting a hierarchy of ‘leadership’ with the ranking of people, offices, or titles? It naturally causes division, disunity, and favoritism contrary to the unconditional-love and impartiality that Jesus and Paul taught, but it hasn’t stopped most churches from disobeying them! Jesus said, “You only have One Father, One Leader, and One Teacher and all of us are simply brethren.” If ALL authority has been given to Jesus, what is left for any of us to “exercise over” others? Is our approach to the organization of most churches actually helping to create The Great Wall quenching the Holy Spirit in those churches?
Do we have the same reasons to routinely conversationally-pray as Paul does: To be “empowered,” to be “rooted and grounded in Christ’s unconditional-love,” to be “built into a temple dwelling place,” or to “get wisdom or revelation,” knowing that ALL this ONLY comes by the means/instrument of the Spirit? There is a whole cascade of “ongoing results” that ensue from this kind of devoted prayer to be “power-strengthened through-the-realizing-channel-of His Spirit IN your inner-being” such as: Mentally ‘seeing’ to perceive/know God’s hope that He has for us or His riches of the glory of God’s inheritance for us, experiencing the immeasurably-surpassing-greatness of God’s enabling-power that comes from His own “might & power” through our own trusting-relying-faith in Him, having a deepening experiential knowledge of the extent of Christ’s unconditional-love that far surpasses book-learning, and finally all this in order to be completely-filled by all the abundant-fullness of God.” All this is a result of “routinely being completely-filled by the means/instruments of the Spirit” and that is the results of routinely, conversationally praying! Paul loves to lay out the process like a lawyer presenting a case!
Instead of ‘leaders’ hogging the ball and creating division, the natural result of the Spirit’s work is for everybody to be sharing in ministry and worship, overflowing with gratitude, and submitting to each other. So many churches preach about unity and create programs to create such a “form or appearance” of it, hoping that their work will actually create such unity. However, they aren’t committed to devotion of “conversational prayer” that actually brings about “the Spirit’s filling” that actually brings about all the other “ongoing results” very naturally by the enabling-power of God’s Spirit so that God gets all the credit for the work! There’s a 100 verses about the Spirit’s enabling-power that makes godliness actually possible so that’s it’s not just “a form of godliness that denies the enabling-power thereof!” Religion makes things complicated, but devoted conversational-prayer is simple enough for even the uneducated “least among us.”
Of the 5 things that Christians were “devoted” to in the early Church, conversational-prayer is the only one mentioned the most per Acts 1:14, 2:42, 6:4 and the only one that we are imperatively, strongly-urged to do habitually per Romans 12:12, Colossians 4:2, and Ephesians 6:18. Sadly, it’s almost last priority in most churches, and you can see their “ongoing results!”