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Posts Tagged ‘Epistle to the Ephesians’

Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. (Ephesians 5:1-4)

I like to jest.

It’s not that I can’t help it (I can), but rather it’s what I do because I enjoy doing it. Frankly, I like making people laugh. Years ago when I first came upon this passage in Ephesians 5 in regards to the art of jesting, it worried me. Would I be forced to abandon my merriment? What is jesting anyway?

Webster’s 1828 Dictionary describes a jest as simply a joke meant only to excite laughter. Religion (according to the definition) should never be the subject of jest. Jesting is concise wit that consists in trope, metaphors, double meanings, or similitude of sound in different words.

Okay I can live with that, but why does God (according to scripture) forbid it?

He Doesn’t

Just this afternoon a person (kindly) reminded me that what I said (to her and another person) was coarse jesting. I kindly corrected her and cited the Bible verse.

“In the phrase ‘coarse jesting,’ ”  I said, “what is the key word?”

“Jesting,” was the reply.

“No it isn’t,” I corrected, “the key word is ‘coarse.’ “

I  went on to say that God likely opted to use the term coarse jesting instead of mere jesting because He was making a distinction between an acceptable jest and one that is crude, gross, or offensive. The person questioned my interpretation, however I was not convicted. I’m no Biblical scholar by any stretch of the imagination, but I’ve nailed this one — I know crude, gross, and offensive when I see or hear it. I am after all a recovered coarse-aholic. Thanks be to God.

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…The God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. Ephesians 1:17-22

Total Access

Did you know that you have access to the power that raised Jesus from the dead, the power that mounted Him upon His heavenly throne, and the power that gave Him dominion above all things? The heart of Paul’s prayer to the Ephesians (and to us) is that every saint would know this truth. Jesus wants us to know these things as well so that we might not struggle in bondage.

“Bondage to what?” we ask.

“Bondage to anything!” God would say.

Addiction, depression, anger, laziness, you name it! In our weakness we have the strength in Christ to overcome any of these things. Essentially all we need do is receive it and utilize it. If God had the power to raise His Son from the dead, we may be confident He has the power to break our bonds. I know it’s true because He did it in my life ~ Jesus supplied the power and I accepted His gracious gift. In so doing I discovered that everlasting recovery comes from a Person and not a program.

Blinding Fear

But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary. Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. Matthew 14:24-25

The disciples were in bondage.

Blinded by fear, they saw the destructive tide, but failed to see where the waves were in relation to Jesus. Again, the Ephesians passage serves to remind us that all things are under His feet; and not only under His feet, but over our heads.

Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Ephesians 5:23b

Bearing Burdens

Do you know someone in bondage?

Remember, Paul’s Ephesian prayer is for the born again believer, therefore assistance to the non-believer in bondage begins with the Good News. Any effort outside of the authority of Christ Jesus is a temporary fix at best. Freedom from bondage comes when the Christian receives a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Jesus, when by understanding they are enlightened ~ when the hope of His calling, the riches of His inheritance, and the exceeding greatness of His power is known. Since God does the healing and also provides the power, our duty is to share the Gospel: the Good News of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, the breaker of all bonds.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” John 14:6a

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Why are we counted as beasts, And regarded as stupid in your sight? Job 18:3

All Men Are Bozos

That of course is a lie; men are not Bozos. You will not find Bozo-theology offered as truth anywhere in the Bible. What you will find are sinful people (like Job’s friend Bildad) saying foolish things, as he does in Job 18:3. The truth is that God does not count men as beasts, nor does he regard us as stupid. The concept is a lie from the pit of hell.

What the Bible Has to Say on the Subject

Two Bible verse jump out at me:

The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” Psalm 14:1a

He who trusts in his own heart is a fool. Proverbs 28:26

On the surface, those are pretty incriminating passages, but when we sort through the rhetoric it’s plain to see that sin-nature is the true culprit. We should also take note that the passages are not gender specific—human beings are foolish when they are ensnared by their own sin, men and women alike.

So What’s My Point?

My point is that men are not Bozos, despite the fact it’s a lie perpetuated in almost every single TV sitcom.  The truth be told, men are sinners, and we have discovered a convenient lie to hide behind so that we may continue in our sin. In other words, we often pretend to be stupid so we can continue to be selfish and lazy. There, I said it. Let the fireworks begin.

I’ll give you one example from my own life: doing laundry. I use to do my wife’s laundry, that is until I ‘accidentally’ shrunk a few things in the drier and turned a few white things ‘pink’ in the washing machine. My wife took back the chore when we both agreed I was an idiot.

Now let’s examine the facts. First, I am not an idiot—I know how to do laundry. Any moron can figure out and recall the basic steps of separating colors and whites, the use of hot and cold water, and what can and cannot go into the drier. The problem is not that I am stupid, the problem is that I’m lazy (aka: a sinner). 99% of the time you can get away with being a lazy launderer, but every so often your sin will find you out.

Here’s what really happened: I could have a) objected to being called an idiot and defended my laundering skills, or b) accept the idiot moniker and never have to do my wife’s laundry again. Hmm…tough choice huh? While choosing ‘plan b’ seemed like the wise, manly thing to do it, was also the sinful thing to do. “Yup, I’m a bozo honey; couldn’t agree with you more (have fun washing your own clothes)!”

The Spiritual Fork in the Road

I’m rocking a very sacred boat and I suspect this is where I am going to lose a lot of the men. Why would I even dare to raise the issue? I bring it up in the light of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians’, particularly this passage in chapter 5:

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. Ephesians 5:25-27

Men, if we are hiding behind a lie in our marital relationships, we are not loving our wives as Christ loved the church nor are we cleansing them with the washing of the word. What we are doing is deceiving our wives and giving them a sinful example to emulate. Men, we are not Bozos…we are sinners. As painful as it is for us, we must reject the notion of the world that we inane and accept that truth that are hearts are deceptively wicked. Change that is pleasing to God cannot come until we confess our sin and repent.

 

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To Timothy, a true son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord. 1 Timothy 1:2
What’s the Difference

Have you ever asked yourself what the difference is between grace and mercy? My pastor gave an illustration a few months ago that enlightened truly me.

“Imagine,” he began, “that you are pulled over for speeding. If the officer lets you off with a warning, that’s mercy. If he then gives you an envelope with ten thousand dollars and tells you to have a nice day, that’s grace.”

The difference between the two words is subtle and can be summarized by saying that mercy is not getting what you deserve and grace is receiving what you do not deserve.

Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. Lamentations 3:22

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God. Ephesians 2:8

I Want Justice!

I laugh when I hear someone scream that. I want to yell back, “No you don’t. What you want is mercy!” God demanded justice, but by His grace He positioned our guilt on His Son and He paid the penalty. In light of that truth, only a fool would demand to be held accountable, for if you demand it for others, you are demanding it for yourself.

A Most Precious Commodity

”Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.” Luke 7:47

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