October 23, 2015
We left off last week talking about Paul's prayer in Ephesians 1 and that's where we need to pick up again. Ever notice how he talks about Father -- the God of our Lord Jesus Christ -- as being the Father of Glory? Right. Then, twice in this same chapter he writes "that we should be to the praise of His Glory." Let's talk about that for a minute.
This phrase, "that we should be to the praise of His Glory who first trusted in Christ," is one that really gets missed in our understanding. We sort of know what that means, but the Greek text really expresses it more clearly.
The word translated, "praise," is not one that we would associate with the Hebrew words for praise throughout the Old Testament. Here we have the word, epainos, which is a contraction of the two Greek terms, epi, and aineo. The first word, epi, is a preposition which literally means: to superimpose upon. The term, aineo, generally means: laudation, to tell a story which magnifies or exalts.
Let's see if we can put this together in a way that makes sense.
That we should so live our lives in such a way that we are literally superimposed on and into the Lord Jesus Christ; that the story of our lives and the transformation which has taken place magnifies, exalts and demonstrates His Glory; that our story is the proof of our trust and expectation of our redemption in and through the anointing of the Anointed One, Jesus. (Ephesians 1: 12, RAC Translation and Amplification)
How's that for a picture? The revelation of the Glory of the Lord to the world is not some mystical or super-spiritual thing: it is the most practical and real-world evidence of His presence, His anointing, His love, His empowering grace and His supernatural authority at work in and through us.
Let me put it another way.
The world treats itself and its societies as "normal." The truth is that everything about the world, the societies of the day, and even the religious structures of the day, are sub-normal. When we are transformed by the power of God, we are restored to "normal." What the world sees in the truly transformed believer is something "supernatural."
The fact is, the Glory of the Lord, changes us so that we are naturally supernatural. This is where we are heading! Many years, I started using a phrase that Holy Spirit planted in me that I believe describes where we are heading, and where we must be if the Glory of God is to fill the earth as we see in the prophetic Word given to Moses.
Numbers 14:21: But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD.
Isaiah picked up the same Word of the Lord and added to what Moses had heard:
Isaiah 40:5: And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see ittogether: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.
The phrase I have come to use is that in Christ, we have been designed to be naturally supernatural, and supernaturally natural! We are regarded as "supernatural" when in fact all that has happened is that restoration to the image and likeness of the Lord Jesus Christ has been taking place. THAT is natural living! THAT is the real "normal."
Our society today has so degraded and slid into the muck and mire that the P.C. Police tell us that we need to accept this as "the new normal." It isn't new, and it isn't normal! It is living sub-normally, sub-naturally, so far beneath what we were created for as to defy any kind of normal spiritual thinking.
The problem today is that we accept this sub-natural realm as normal. The whole idea of the Glory is so far beyond today's thinking as to be something out of science fiction! Robert Heidler was sharing a couple weeks or so ago at Glory of Zion on the "normal" that the body of Christ has come to accept, and I will borrow a bit of what he shared.
The norm in the body of Christ during the first couple of centuries was that the Glory of God was on display. We had a fully functional five-fold ministry with Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers -- a fully operational picture of the five ministry facets of the Lord Jesus Christ. Early in the fourth century, because Christians were still being persecuted and Christianity was not widely acceptable, the Roman Emperor Constantine figured out a way to make compromises with the pagan Roman society by dumping Christianity's Jewish roots, banning any recognition of God's ordered Feasts, and getting rid of the five-fold ministries.
The changes that followed so altered the makeup of the body of Christ that suddenly, the "congregation" became a passive onlooker while the priests conducted "mysteries" and rituals that had nothing whatever to do with Word of God. The Reformation reintroduced the concept of the pastor, but the "pastor" was still nothing more than a re-named priest who acted as the sole voice of God. Not until the Charismatic Renewal began in the 1960's and 1970's did the (by this time) almost heretical idea of the restoration of the five-fold ministry get re-introduced in the body of Christ.
And still, the "new normal" was nothing more than a shadow of what and where Holy Spirit is bringing the body of Christ. And that's the issue! This is why Paul wrote the following to the Ekklesia in Rome:
Don't allow yourself, your mind, your thinking, your thought processes and your character to become fashioned after the way of the world; instead, allow a process of transformation -- renovation, restoration and renewing -- to completely alter your way of thinking, your intellect, your feelings and your understanding in order that you may apply the crucible so as to assay, test, and prove for yourself that which is beneficial, that which agrees with and is well-pleasing [to God], and that which completes and brings to full maturity God's desire, purpose and destiny in and for you. (Romans 12:2, RAC Translation & Amplification)
What we see in the Word of God isn't some supernatural thing: it is living naturally in Him. When Jesus uttered His phenomenal prayer in John 17, the crux of His prayer was -- and is:
John 17:20-23: Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the Glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
This may sound really strange -- and perhaps to some, almost heretical -- but bear with me. There was NOTHING supernatural about Jesus! Everything that He did was natural! The Word that He spoke, taught, prophesied and lived was natural. It was the norm! The whole plan of redemption was to restore us back to normal. And normal, folks, is exactly how we were planned, executed, created, formed and breathed into with the zoe breath and life of God in the beginning.
The Glory of God was on display from the beginning. The Glory of God was on display in the Garden of Eden. The Glory of God was on display when Adam and Eve tended the Garden. The Glory of God was on display when Adam gave character, nature, personality and makeup to each genus and specie of animal. The Glory of God was on display during the two thousand or so years that Adam and Eve lived in the Garden and caused it to grow, to multiply and to begin to spread beyond its original boundaries. The Glory of God is creative!
Consider for a few minutes some of the things that occur when the Glory is on display.
1. Creative miracles (we call them miracles, when in fact they are nothing but the norm of the Word and the norm of Jesus Christ) take place regularly and consistently.
2. Authority over the weather is commonplace -- the ability to divert storms and eliminate, or at least seriously mitigate, the damage of loss of life.
3. The need to be in more than one place at a time is easily solved by translation in the realm of the Spirit -- we call it "Phillip Transportation." (Bruce Allen likes to call it "Phillip Airlines." :-))
4. More and more individuals are experiencing what it means to step out of time and into eternity and to see -- from God's perspective -- His unfolding Plan and Purpose for His people.
5. The return of "transgender" individuals (who've come to realize that their change of identity solved nothing of the huge void in their spirits) instantly to their former selves.
6. Literally altering the landscape (e.g., moving mountains) by speaking the Word as Jesus illustrated in Mark 11:23.
7. Simply speaking the word over a large group of people who need healing and watching every single individual receive their healing is really a part of what Jesus promised when He said, "The works that I do shall you do also, and greater works than these shall you do because I go to my Father."
8. Regular appearances of the Hosts of Heaven -- particularly in crisis situations, or when those ministering the Word are threatened by the Enemy -- are rapidly becoming more and more the "norm."
9. Even more prevalent as the Glory of the Lord is becoming manifested among the Bride of Christ is the appearance of Jesus, Himself. More and more we are seeing and hearing of the visible appearances of Jesus as a testimony to the Word being ministered.
10. There are several recorded instances in the Word when Jesus simply shifted dimensions and passed through the crowds without their being able to touch him, even if He was visible. That kind of shifting is becoming more and more manifested, and is a natural display of the Glory.
11. When we read of the Glory of the Lord being on display with Israel, or -- for example -- the way that the Glory of God was so strong that the priests and the praise and worshipers were unable to minister at the dedication of Solomon's temple, we are talking about an event which is becoming, and will become, more and more the norm as people focus on what the Glory is really all about.
Think about it! The Glory of God is simply the evidence of His manifested presence among His people. How it manifests can, does, and will take more forms than any of us can imagine. When God's people focus on Jesus, when they focus on His heart's desires, when they focus on what He is looking for in us, perspective changes.
For years Della and I have had a theme that captions what we are all about, and what the focus of our ministry is: "There is no substitute for intimacy with the Lord Jesus Christ!"
When we began gathering back in the early 1990's at Trails' End in Post Falls, Idaho with other worshipers, we didn't gather to "have church." We didn't gather to sing a few songs, spend some time in fellowship and take time for teaching. We gathered together with one -- and ONLY ONE -- objective: to minister to the Lord.
Of course we had fellowship together. And, yes, we did occasionally take time for some specific teaching as it related to what God was saying to us. But the fellowship and the teaching were not a focus of why we gathered together.
Ministry to the Lord was what we were all about. After five years of regular and sometimes daily gatherings -- some of which would begin at 7:00 AM and continue until 11:00 PM, or even 1:00 AM, with short breaks for lunch or dinner -- the presence of the Lord became so intense at times that the Glory of the Lord would manifest clearly. One time we experienced as a corporate group of perhaps 20 or 25 people hearing the voice of the Lord speak audibly in our midst.
The revelations that poured forth by the Spirit were nothing less than astounding. The spiritual growth that took place during that period catapulted us all into dimensions that sometimes left us almost gasping for breath because of the awe of His Presence.
There is a story to share in this that I will take you to next week. We will wrap up this series with next week's Coffee Break. (At least I think we will -- smile!)
I remind those of you in need of ministry that our Healing Prayer Call takes place on Mondays at 7:00 PM Eastern (4:00 PM Pacific). Our call-in number has changed to (712) 775-7035. The new Access Code is: 323859#. For Canadians who have difficulty getting in to this number, you can call (559) 546-1400. If someone answers and asks what your original call-in number was, you can give them the 712 number and access code.
At the same time, in case you are missing out on real fellowship in an environment of Ekklesia, our Sunday worship gatherings are available by conference call – usually at about 10:45AM Pacific. That conference number is (605) 562-3140, and the access code is 308640#. We hope to make these gatherings available by Skype or Talk Fusion before long. If you miss the live call, you can dial (605) 562-3149, enter the same access code and listen in later.
Blessings on you!
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