FUTHERANCE OF THE GOSPEL Print E-mail

FURTHERANCE OF THE GOSPEL

Ephesians 4:13; Phil. 1:12

Preached by: Pastor Carolyn Sissom

Sunday, August 25, 2019, the Year of Our Lord

 

Eph. 4:13: “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”

 

This scripture is one of the foundation scriptures of the vision and calling of this ministry.  It is a mighty big vision.  The vision is not about noses, nickels, numbers or buildings.   I have the Faith to believe a Glorious Church will come forth on the earth with this Grace on their life.

 

This past week I have been reading Dr. Lester Sumrall’s book, Pioneers of Faith.  His life span from 1913-1996 graced him to know on a personal level most all the leaders of faith of the twentieth-century.  The twentieth-century saw the mightiest moves of the Holy Spirit since the Day of Pentecost. 

 

In 1900, people were praying for revival in Topeka, Kansas and a small group of people experienced the trickle of what became known as the “Latter Rain.’ 

 

Then as today and in every move of the Holy Spirit that I have witnessed since 1973, many of those praying for revival will not accept revival when it comes.  Every move of God which I have witnessed was not like the last move of God and stretched all of us to receive and walk in the manifestation of the signs and wonders of the Holy Spirit.  

 

From Topeka, Kansas, the Holy Spirit spread into Texas, even the Houston area and in Katy/Brookshire where we now stand and preach.  William Seymour took it to Los Angeles, and it became a full downpour which covered the earth. 

 

The move of the Spirit has not stopped, nor has it even declined during the 21st Century.  Many good Christians have rejected God’s new moves and consequently, have become stagnant and missed His blessings.

 

I have not finished the book, but he describes the ministry of  twenty-four (24) flesh and blood men and women whom God used to birth a global outpouring of the Holy Spirit.  These were men and women who he knew personally. 

 

Each minister faced rejection, persecution and being dis-fellowshipped from their denomination from the Methodist Church, Assemblies of God, Church of God, U.P.C., Jesus Only and almost all the denominations.  We all experienced this rejection in the Charismatic Renewal.  Many of those are the members of this Church.

 

He tells the story of F. F. Bosworth being dismissed from the A.G. over the doctrine of evidential tongues.  He made a stand that “I do not believe nor can ever teach that all will speak in tongues when baptized in the Spirit.”  In 1918, the A.G. stated anyone who holds credentials with the A.G. must believe and teach evidential tongues.

 

Many went to jail for errors in judgment.  Finish J. Dake finished the Annotated Reference Bible in jail.  Howard Carter received the basic revelation and outline of the gifts of the Holy Spirit in jail.  Pilgrim’s Progress came out of John Bunyon’s time spent in prison.  During the time when the world was in the upheaval of war, the world wide move of the Holy Spirit was creating upheaval in Christianity.  

 

Most of us want blessing without suffering, but all of these great men and women of God paid a high cost for carrying the Glory.

 

In Phil 1: 12-14 we read, But I would you should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel.”

 

In Philippians 1: 15-17, the different attitudes people had of looking at and interpreting the experiences of Paul are revealed.  Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will; the one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds; but the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defense of the gospel.

 

The import thing is that “Christ is preached.” 

 

The Lord has given me  the Grace to not be in conflict with any Christian Faith as long as they believe in the saving Blood of Jesus; Father, Son, Holy Spirit; His Gifts and Power; the Word of God, and Baptism.  Those who disagree with me will not find me debating them nor getting in heated argument over doctrine.  I believe that is very immature and even childish.

 

But the Word of God says,  “Till we all come in the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God.”  I don’t believe this means we are to form cliques of people who agree on all points of doctrine.  I continue to bring in people from different rivers.  In the natural where several rivers come together, there is turbulence.  I have found this to also be true in the Body of Christ.  This should not be and Paul proceeds to instruct us in this Grace.

 

He lists five tempers and seven unities:

 

TEMPERMENTS:

  1. Walk worthy of the vocation wherewith you are called.
  2. With all lowliness and meekness
  3. With longsuffering.
  4. Forbearing one another in love.
  5. Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

 

UNITIES 4:4-6:

 

  1. One Body: All Born-again believers are part of the Body of Christ.
  2. One Spirit: Given alike to Jew, Gentile, Male, Female, regardless of race, education, wealth, beauty or affluence.
  3. One Hope:  One hope of your calling…Christ in us the hope of Glory.
  4. One Lord:  Acceptance of Jesus Christ is the only way to be saved.
  5. One Faith.  Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.
  6. One Baptism:  Water baptism as well as Holy Spirit Baptism.  Jesus received both when John baptized him.
  7. One God and Father of all:  We are all blessed with the son-ship of Father God.  The Trinity has accomplished this.  The Trinity cannot be at odds with Himself.  Shame on us when we allow small matters to destroy this common bond.

 

4:7: “But to every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.”

 

Well Praise the Lord!!!  That should be good news to all ministers of the gospel who wanna’ be famous, rich, and powerful.  There are different gifts and callings.  Each one of us have already received the grace to fulfill our purpose, destiny, and function within the Body of Christ for the purpose of building up the church  according to God’s plan for our life.  This means you and I do not have to struggle, stress, worry, and fret, beg or be intimidated by circumstances.  That means those of you who are in financial distress do not have to be.  The Lord by His Grace is providing and will provide all that you need to fulfill His Divine purposes.   Is this too hard to understand?  It is called Faith.  I believe that the Lord who saved me, called me, appointed me, and gifted me, is able to perform and complete all that concerns me.

 

The Scripture confirms this saying:  When he ascended on high, He led captivity captive and gave gifts to men (Ps. 68:18).

 

This is what lets us function as unique personalities.  We don’t have to look alike, dress alike, walk alike or talk alike as long as we walk worthy of our vocation and bring honor to the Lord in all that we do.  The God of the snowflake makes no two of us alike.  Each receives from the Lord gifts and enablement’s consistent with his design specifications.   There is no respect of persons with the Lord,  yet each one of us is dealt the separate strengths and qualities which permit us to blossom in Christ.  This strange working in each person equips us for our different tasks within the one Body.  God has further designed that none of these differences should clash, but blend harmoniously.  Therefore, personality and cultural differences do not have to cause disunity, but too often we allow them because of lust and ambitions.

 

4:9-12: He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that He might fill all things.  And he gave some, apostles, and some, prophets; and some evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the Body of Christ;

 

 Paul sees Jesus’ triumphant return to heaven after battling Satan.  Two things are taking place:

 

 

(a)   He is receiving the spoils, i.e. the host of captives formerly held by Satan until the cross ransomed them.

(b)   Jesus is handing out gifts for the workers of the ministry.

 

The Lower parts of the earth mean exactly what is written.  This refers to the spiritual underworld where Satan keeps the unbelieving dead.  All the O.T. saints were there until Jesus’ victory opened the way into heaven, where He led them home in a glorious procession.  Authority over Satan is chief among the spoils which the Lord distributes to us even now.

 

The very same Jesus whom men saw physically ascend out of sight (Acts 1:9), now operates as the omnipresent Spirit of Christ.  If you like, you may picture him handing out gifts from His throne.  However, I believe he is working inside us transforming us into gifts for His church.  He dwells within us graciously imparting to us the grace for our role in His Body.  We must not separate Jesus from the Holy Spirit so sharply as to forbid His ministry in the Spirit.  It is by the ministry of the Holy Spirit that He fills all things with Himself (His Glory) (Eph. 1:23 N.L.T.)

 

Ministers of the Gospel we will be held accountable for preparing the church to receive the Harvest.  I have news for you they will not come in sanctified.  It will require teachers who are patient and longsuffering with those who have never been discipled.  Leaders do not function for their own sake, but for the purpose of developing each saint as a minister to those around him.  Every Christian is a minister to his own private world.  We are to be soul winners first and foremost.  Then we have to remember that we are to welcome, be loving, kind, gentle and merciful to those who we just led to the Lord.

 

All this activity is to go on until the Church reaches the measure of the fullness of Christ.  It is an attained unity.

 

It is by this means that God purposes to weld us into a single unit in the faith, and through our experiential knowledge of the indwelling Son of God, come to maturity.  The goal obviously is that we become so like Christ that we too display His divine personality and temperament in our lives.

 

No one should remain a child.  If we don’t mature in Christ, we will find ourselves tossed about like waves responding to every wind of teaching that blows our way.  What’s worse, we remain completely at the mercy of any crafty word-handler who is expert in presenting doctrinal schemes.  (4:14b-15) by the slight of men, and cunning craftiness. Whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ;

 

Maintaining the true doctrine in a compatible spirit and manner of life, not as a weapon for fighting but to secure a balance of growth in Christ.  The N.T. churches were self-governing, and devoid of any central ecclesiastical bureau of control.

 

From whom the whole body fitted together is organized into a harmonious structure.  The individual members are fitted together and operate as the various joints do their part.  With each functioning as it should, the whole body is able to enjoy the power of growth as it expands under the pressure of the life-force of love. 

 

Now why do you think that man has made this so difficult and divisive?  Again, Paul mentions five character flaws that hinder and cause division in the Body of Christ:

 

  1. 4:17b: “…Hereafter walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind.”
  2. 4:18a: “Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is within them…”
  3. 4:18b: “Because of the blindness of their heart.”
  4. 4:19a:  “Who being past feeling have given themselves over to lasciviousness…”
  5. 4:19b:  “to work all uncleanness with greediness.”

 

As I studied these great men of God who were so mightily anointed, some did not finish their course.  They fell and lost their ministries in their latter years.  These were men-of-God who were used in great power gifts of healings and miracles.  They could not carry the glory of Christ.  They took the glory and the gold for themselves.

 

Paul’s mind returns to the fall where mankind, refusing God’s leadership, was abandoned to run its course.  By Noah’s day, only eight people were worthy to be spared.  The rest were so corrupt they were destroyed in the flood.  Paul argues that any life not led by Jesus is subject to that same corruption.  At one time the Ephesian Christians lived like that, but now they possess Christ’s own life.  

 

4:20:  “but you have not learned Christ; if so be that you have heard Him, and have been taught by Him as the truth is in Jesus.  That you put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and are renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that you put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. And be renewed in the Spirit of your mind.”

 

As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.  This is the real arena of the Christian’s warfare, our thought life.  A man with two natures must continually choose the type of suggestion which is to dominate his thinking and be able to discern the source –whether from God or Satan.

 

And you must put on the new man who is fashioned after God the Creator in absolute moral perfection and holiness.

 

Verses 4:25-5:20 deals with the evils and the virtues which are their opposite.  As we bind up the evil spirits operating in people’s lives, the opposite is the virtue we should release to them.

 

1.  4:25               falsehood                  vs. truth

2.  4: 26, 27        resentment               vs. self-control

3.  4: 28              stealing                     vs. generosity

4.  4: 29, 30        evil speech                vs. edification

5.  4: 31-5:2        malice                       vs. love

6.  5: 3-14           impurity                    vs. chastity

7.  5: 15-17         imprudence              vs.  Wisdom

8. 5: 18-20          debauchery               vs. joy

 

Paraphrase from C. S. Lovett’s Lights on Ephesians:

 

4: 25-32:  Every speck of falsehood should disappear from your speech and speak only the truth to everyone.  And I mean all of you, for membership in the Body of Christ produce the same working in each of us.  If you did get angry, it wouldn’t be out of wounded pride or failure to control your feelings.  Under no circumstances would you go to bed nursing a grievance against anyone.  Indulgence of that sort, gives the devil a real foothold.  He’d like nothing better, for he easily has his way when passions smolder unchecked.  And you don’t want to give him any place in your life. 

 

If you were a thief you would steal no more.  Instead, you would get a decent job and go to work with your hands, earning enough to help someone else in need.  Nothing hurtful or foul would be heard coming from your mouth, but only that which fits the situation and is something God can use to bless those who hear you.  In fact, we should be meticulous in guarding our thoughts and words so as not to grieve the Holy Spirit in any way.  The Holy Spirit is God’s Seal guaranteeing our full redemption in that day.  The Holy Spirit is a person.  The Third Person of the Trinity is joined to us and forced to participate in anything we tolerate in our imaginations. 

 

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you with all malice.  Be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you.

 

Preached by:  Pastor Carolyn Sissom

www.eastgateministries.com

Scripture from K.J.V. Bibliography and quotes from C.S. Lovett’s Lights on Ephesians and F. F. Bruce Bible Commentary by: George E. Harpur; Pioneers of Faith, Dr. Lester Sumrall.   Comments and conclusions are my own and not meant to reflect the views of those from whom I have gleaned.

 

 
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