By Joseph L. Watkins
We would first ask our readers to go back to our last paper if you have it, and bring yourself up to where we want to start our study this time. As we are seeking to know and have a better understanding, and a fuller appreciation of just what it is we are to answer to as we much be recompensed at the resurrection of judgment (John 5:29); to find some of the things we must consider, we are going through the seven epistles that together make up Paul's one book, that he wrote as "truth for today." Yes, seven chapters: Philippians, Ephesians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus and Philemon. And we were in Eph. 3:9 as we closed our last paper.
Today we consider with you the Lord's order to both "put off" and "put on" that we find in Eph. 4:22 & 24; for "if" we can do this one thing, and do it rightly, perhaps our time before the judge of all men will be unnecessary. But it seems this is the number one troublemaker for every saint of God - we just "will not" to put away from us the old man, that great "want to" of the flesh. So you see, dear one, our loving Lord must both judge us and give us His recompense if He really loves us, and I am sure He does.
For you see, it is in the old man that we speak with a lying tongue, harbor our anger and vent our wrath. In the old man we make place for the devil and do our stealing, and speak our own mind wherein we also grieve the Holy Spirit of God (Eph. 4:25-32).
On the other hand, only as we, the holy ones of God in Christ Jesus, living and walking in the new man, can expect to be found to be "acceptable unto the Lord."
Oh, yes, being a believing one in Christ Jesus you may be sure you are saved, and in the day of resurrection you are to be once again made to live. But some of us may smell a bit of smoke (1 Cor. -15).
However, to bring before us this putting off and putting on we first missed the orders we need to be obedient to that we find in Eph. 4:15. The King James has "speaking the truth in love," but in the Greek text we find but one word, number 226, and it may be "truthing." Oh, yes, we should always be found speaking only the truth, but this one word is saying a lot more to us - we are to live our lives according to truth. The sons of God that have been entrusted to the position of body member, have been given one of the highest honors of the highest heavens. Stop and think on this. For as more is given, more is required, so the recompense is of far more consequence, be it gain, or be it loss. And so these sons should be much more concerned and interested.
And we find in verse 16 (and also over in 2Tim. ,14) and in chapter 2 verse 3, some of the most important and challenging Words of Truth in all of the Bible. And, yes, each and every member of the body must give an answer to these word, for this is not just a nice suggestion for the sons of God to consider, but these Words of Truth are the Lord's work order for today, 2004, so read each word with much care,
"Which is the head, even Christ Jesus, from Whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love."
Yes, Christ Jesus, Almighty God come to us in the form of a man, the man Christ Jesus which is the Head of the body,which is the out-called, the church, #1537 ek, which is "out" and #2564 a calling. So we have "the out-called" body members, which are the sons of God in this dispensation, and each of these are to go unto the head, and from the head, as He enlightens each and every joint, or member. They in turn are to share that message with the rest of the members of His body, and in this manner the whole body is to increase, both in numbers and in personal growth. How this work is accomplished is of no concern to the individual joint; he or she is only called upon to do their part, and to do their part with true faithfulness. And as this becomes a true reality before our all-wise and all-loving Head, He will see that the work is accomplished. So just do that which you have been entrusted with, you cannot do more, and we dare not do any less.
Yes, I can hear clearly and loudly the many, many voices of opposition to these words. For men say, no, no, this is not truth, for God has His own men to do the preaching and the teaching. We have such men to do this work so don't put this guilt trip on us, and they turn to Eph. to back up their statement, and here we find these words:
"And He gave some apostles; and someprophets; and some evangelists; and some pastors and teachers, for theperfecting of the saints...for the edifying of the body of Christ."
Yes, He gave some - this word is men, #3309, and this word may be rendered with our word, certain, truly, indeed, and verily. However, this word "some" may be the best, for that is what the Lord did, He gave some, but these men He gave are no longer with us today. We have no God-given apostles, no prophets, no evangelists, or pastors and teachers. No, we have not one of these men that have been appointed to these jobs - by God. Oh, yes, we may have a lot of "man-made" such men, but not one that has a divine appointment, for the job of these men has been completed. In verse 12 we see it was "for the perfecting of the saints." This word, perfecting, is #2677, and should be rethinking orrealignment, or readjustment. For at the cutting off of the hope and calling to the kingdom at Acts 28:28, some saints had come back over to Paul's new message of the calling of the body of Christ, and a lot of readjustment was called for.
Eph. and 2 Tim. ,14 & 2:2 give us God's answer to man's so-called Bible schools. So if we want the best adjustment, let us do it God's way.
Yes, we know that many, if not most of our readers, say our talk is foolishness, for there is no judgment for this day of grace. Yet we read in Col. 2:8, "Beware lest any man spoil you throughphilosophy or vain deceit after the tradition of men after the rudiments of theworld ad not after Christ."
And in Col. 3:23-25 we learn, "Andwhatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowingthat of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance; for ye servethe Lord Christ. But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which hehath done; and there is no respect of persons." jlw