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Part 67: Truth in Ephesians — Christ in the Heavenlies

Compare the truth of Acts 2:22 with the truth of Ephesians 1:19 to 23:

“YE MEN OF ISRAEL, HEAR THESE WORDS: JESUS OF NAZARETH, A MAN APPROVED OF GOD AMONG YOU BY MIRACLES, AND WONDERS, AND SIGNS, WHICH GOD DID BY HIM IN THE MIDST OF YOU, AS YE YOURSELVES ALSO KNOW.” Acts 2:22.

“AND WHAT IS THE EXCEEDING GREATNESS OF HIS POWER TO USWARD WHO BELIEVE ACCORDING TO THE WORKING OF HIS MIGHTY POWER, WHICH HE WROUGHT IN CHRIST WHEN HE RAISED HIM FROM THE DEAD, AND SET HIM AT HIS OWN RIGHT HAND IN THE HEAVENLIES, FAR ABOVE ALL PRINCIPALITY, AND POWER, AND MIGHT, AND DOMINION, AND EVERY NAME THAT IS NAMED, NOT ONLY IN THIS WORLD, BUT ALSO IN THAT WHICH IS TO COME. AND HATH PUT ALL THINGS UNDER HIS FEET, AND GAVE HIM TO BE THE HEAD OVER ALL THINGS TO THE CHURCH, WHICH IS HIS BODY, THE FULNESS OF HIM THAT FILLETH ALL IN ALL.”

God approved Jesus of Nazareth, a Man in the land in the midst of Israel, by miracles. When He died, these words were written above the cross: “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.” In Matthew, Mark and Luke, we find the expression “on the earth” eleven times. In the Epistle to the Ephesians we find the expression “in the heavenlies” five times. There is a difference between the King of the Jews, Jesus of Nazareth, His Israelitish Kingdom, on the earth, and the Lord Jesus Christ seated in the highest heavens, Head of the Church which is His Body, in which there is neither Jew nor Gentile.

In Ephesians it is not the mighty power of God in working miracles by His Son Jesus Christ in the land of the Jews, but the mighty power that God wrought in Christ when He raised Christ from the sepulchre, and placed Him far above everything and everybody. And do not forget the truth in this connection, that this same mighty power is toward members of the Body of Christ, for they too have been raised from their death and burial and seated with Christ in the heavenlies far above. Ephesians 2:6.

From the heavens the ascended Christ gave gifts unto men: Read Ephesians 4 8 to 13:

“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.”

In this connection note I Corinthians 3:9 and 10

“For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon.”

“But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon,” literally, “how he buildeth TOGETHER thereupon.”

The Lord Jesus chose the Apostle Paul to be the masterbuilder. Paul declared himself to be the Lord’s pattern for believers. I Timothy 1:16. He instructs believers to follow him as he followed Christ. I Corinthians 11:1. Philippians 3:17. We must closely examine God’s “building” plans in the Epistles of Paul, if we would take heed how we labor together and build together.

If we take heed according to God’s eternal purpose, we shall not try, in this age, to establish on earth that Kingdom which the King will build when He comes back to the earth as King.

Making the “One New Man,” building up the Body of Christ, the fulness of Him Who is the Head far above in the heavenlies, is a Divine program, so different from God’s prophesied Kingdom plans that it is difficult to understand why the saints of the Lord so confuse these two entirely different and distinct institutions. Although in His essential and eternal Deity the Lord Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever, His relationship, and His ministry for those over whom He shall reign as King on this earth, is entirely different from His present relationship to the members of His Body, with whom He is, or is to be, one flesh. His ministry as King of the Jews is different from His ministry as Head of His Body. Note Romans 15:8:

“Now I say that Jesus Christ WAS a Minister of the circumcision for the Truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers.”

“Jesus Christ WAS the Minister of the circumcision.” We could not say that He IS the Minister of the circumcision. He is doing something entirely different during this present dispensation. He is to again be a Minister of the circumcision and fulfill all prophecies concerning His Kingship and Kingdom, His earthly reign of righteousness, and peace on David’s throne. But let us not confuse David’s throne with the Father’s throne, where Christ is.

CHRIST IS FAR ABOVE

Note again Ephesians 1:21, where Christ was raised by the mighty power of God, far above all principality and power and might and dominion and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come. In Ephesians 4:10 we read that Christ ascended up “far above” all heavens, that He might fill all things. This was accomplished by the mighty power of God. We remember the words of the Lord Jesus Christ, in John 10:17 and 18: “Therefore doth My Father love Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No man taketh it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of My Father.” What mighty power! Yea, Almighty power!

SATAN AND THE HEAVENLIES

There is another power in the heavenlies operating against God and Christ in the heavenlies, and against any of the Lord’s servants who desire to know, or to make known, the Truth concerning Christ and His Body seated together in the heavenlies

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against SPIRITUAL WICKEDNESS IN THE HEAVENLIES.” Ephesians 6:12.

“TO THE INTENT THAT NOW UNTO THE PRINCIPALITIES AND POWERS IN THE HEAVENLIES MIGHT BE KNOWN BY THE CHURCH THE MANIFOLD WISDOM OF GOD.” Ephesians 3:10.

We learn in Ephesians 2:2, that the unsaved person is controlled by the prince of the power of the air. This same power that controls the unsaved sinner is the power against which the saint wrestles. Against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against “spiritual wickedness in the heavenlies.”

We soon learn by experience that Satan uses every imaginable weapon against the servant of the Lord Jesus who endeavors to obey Ephesians 3:9 and 10, to “make all see what is the dispensation of the mystery which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God. To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in the heavenlies might be known by the Church the manifold wisdom of God.”

This is Divine Truth that is according to the eternal purpose of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Satan is determined that members of the Body shall not know this blessed and glorious Truth and he has been indeed successful in his efforts; for even many of the most spiritual “Fundamentalist” leaders strenuously, and even bitterly, oppose the Truth of “the Mystery,” which is the most blessed and glorious Truth in the Bible for saints. They cannot say, with Paul, concerning Satan, “we are not ignorant concerning his devices.”

We are warned in Ephesians 6:11 and 12, against the wiles, or tricks, of the devil in his spiritual activities in the heavenlies. Paul himself was the victim of this Satanic opposition, for he tells us in this same sixth chapter of Ephesians, that he was in jail for obeying Ephesians 3:9 and 10.

Paul suffered as an evil-doer for “the Mystery.” Read II Timothy 2:7 and 8, and Ephesians 6:19 and 20. But Paul would not compromise to please men. Galatians 1:10.

Every servant of the Lord who consistently, uncompromisingly, and fearlessly attempts to make known the “Mystery” of Ephesians, is conscious of a mighty power working against him. But there is a spiritual armour provided, according to Ephesians 6:11 to 20. So many human agencies are active in the opposition that it is difficult for the servant of the Lord to believe that he is not wrestling against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers in the heavenlies. The member of the Body of Christ who believes that God has made known “the mystery of His will,” concerning His predestinated, or eternal purpose (Ephesians 1:9 and 11), and attempts to pass on the knowledge to others, realizes that he has a conflict in the heavenlies. But let us remember that although there are mighty powers above us, there is ONE far above those powers, Who is our Head. To Him we are forever united.

Let us note again the truth concerning the believer’s position in Christ as revealed in Ephesians 2:6:

“GOD HATH RAISED US UP TOGETHER, AND MADE US SIT TOGETHER IN THE HEAVENLIES IN CHRIST JESUS.”

Think this over seriously, spiritually and frequently. This is a profound Truth.

As a Christian, do you realize your position in the heavenlies, the identification and union of each member of the Body of Christ with the Head, in the heavenlies, and with every other member in the Body Note the word “together” in this statement; “raised up together”; “sit together in the heavenlies in Christ.” Then note, in verse 5, “God hath made, us alive together with Christ.” Then note verses 21, 22 and 4:16: “ . all the building fitly framed together,” “ye are builded together”—”the whole Body fitly joined together.” This is indeed union and unity and excludes any suggestion or thought of sectarianism or schism in the Joint-Body of the Mystery.

BLESSED WITH ALL SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS IN THE HEAVENLIES

Note Ephesians 1:3 to 5:

“BLESSED BE THE GOD AND FATHER OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, WHO HATH BLESSED US WITH ALL SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS IN THE HEAVENLIES IN CHRIST: ACCORDING AS HE HATH CHOSEN US IN HIM, BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD, THAT WE SHOULD BE HOLY AND WITHOUT BLAME BEFORE HIM IN LOVE; HAVING PREDESTINATED US UNTO THE ADOPTION OF CHILDREN BY JESUS CHRIST TO HIMSELF, ACCORDING TO THE GOOD PLEASURE OF HIS WILL.”

So we learn that not only is our position in the heavenlies together with Christ, and our conflict in the heavenlies, not only are we to show the manifold wisdom of God to the powers in the heavenlies, but we are blessed with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies in Christ. Let us couple this wonderful .statement with the truth of Ephesians 1:18 to 20

“The eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power, Which He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenlies.”

“To us-ward,” who are members of Christ, is the mighty power of the Almighty God. Think of it!

But it is needless to try to estimate this power. It is infinite, incomprehensible, and illimitable. Who can begin to inventory or enumerate the spiritual benefits and blessings that are included in the “all spiritual blessings” of Ephesians 1:3? But quietly, seriously, spiritually, prayerfully, try to take it in and dare to believe this guarantee from the infallible God Who is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of Whom the whole family in heaven and on earth is named! “The Father of glory.”

ALL BLESSINGS—THE SECOND BLESSING—PHYSICAL HEALING

One of the first lessons that the member of the Body Church learns when the eyes of his understanding are enlightened, and he knows the hope of His calling, and the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is God’s exceeding power toward him, and that he is blessed with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies, is not to cry “back to Pentecost”—not to be led into the heresy of seeking for a second blessing, or the power of Holy Spirit baptism, because he has all blessings. All God’s power is available the moment he is saved.

When the sinner, saved by grace, has received God’s Divine baptism, which joins him to the eternal, Almighty, glorified Christ, and makes him an heir to all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge that are hid in Christ, and endows him with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies, and empowers him with all the mighty power of God, described in Ephesians, what folly to tell him to seek another baptism, or to tarry for the second blessing!

As the Truth of Ephesians is the corrective for all of the fanaticism concerning Holy Spirit baptism, all of the erroneous teaching of the second blessing religious people, and that of the Divine healers, it is the Scriptural remedy for every ill and ism with which the Church of Jesus Christ is afflicted: “That we be no more children tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine.” Ephesians 4:14.

Spiritually speaking, the members of Christ’s Body are truly multimillionaires. But the Body of Christ is not Israel, God’s earthly people, living in Canaan and guaranteed Divine blessings of earthly prosperity and physical healings. We can say, with Paul, “Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” But we must also say, “though our outward man perish (or thoroughly decay), yet the inward man is renewed day by day.” II Corinthians 4:16 and 17.

Many, many times the Apostle Paul wrote that Christ on the cross suffered for sins, died for our sins, put away sins, bare our sins, but never once did Paul even intimate that Jesus Christ on the cross died for our sicknesses. He told Timothy, his most intimate and dependable fellowworkers, to take a physical remedy for his physical disease. I Timothy 5:23. To this same faithful man of God. Paul wrote, “Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick. “ II Timothy 4:20. In that same Second Epistle to Timothy, Paul wrote Timothy to “rightly divide the Word of Truth.”

No man of God rightly divides the Word of Truth when he teaches that, physical healing for the saint, under the dispensation of the grace of God, is guaranteed in the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. As some servant of the Lord has truly said, “if physical salvation is guaranteed to believers in the work of Christ on the cross, then incorruptibility could be experienced by members of the Body of Christ without the return of Christ.’’ Paul’s words: “. . though our outward man perish” is the negation and refutation of the foolish theories concerning physical health taught by even some sincere spiritual Christians. So also is Romans 8:23: “And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.” Bodies of believers, like bodies of unbelievers, are, and will be, corruptible bodies of humiliation until the day of redemption, when out of heaven shall come the Lord Jesus Christ to change the believers’ bodies of humiliation, in the twinkling of an eye, to be fashioned like unto His body of glory. Philippians 3:20 and 21.

We would not, for one moment, convey the idea that the Almighty God and Father of the lord Jesus Christ, Who is the Father of all members of the Body of Christ, does not hear and answer prayer in behalf of those who are sick. We are taught the truth of elective healing in Philippians 2:25 to 28. Sometimes the faithful saints are restored to health and strength. Sometimes they are left sick. Sometimes they die, The death rate of the human race, for both saint and sinner, is one apiece, and this will continue until the day of redemption. If and when God hears prayer in behalf of His sick children, and answers the prayer by restoring His sick child to health, it is on the grounds of the shed blood o£ the Lord Jesus Christ, and that is the only sense in which it can be stated that healing is in the atonement. Atonement is not God’s Word in Pauline Truth. The word translated “atonement” in Romans 5:11, is “reconciliation.”

We have no record in the New Testament Scriptures that any Gentile had Divine authority to impose hands for healing, or for any other Divine blessing. Neither do we have any record of the use of oil on Gentiles. Let us remember the words of James, in Acts 15:19, when applying the “oil anointing” of James 5:14; and let us not forget that this Epistle is addressed to the twelve tribes of Israel, and read Galatians 2:9.

Let us again emphasize the absence of any reference to signs, sign gifts, healings, tongues, etc., in any of Paul’s Epistles written after the pronouncement of God’s Divine judgment in Acts 28:25 to 28. Signs are peculiarly associated with Israel, “for the Jews require a sign.” In Paul’s ministry in the “Acts” period, God’s order was, “to the Jew first and also to the Gentile.” In Paul’s Prison Epistles God’s order is, “to the Gentile and also to the Jew.” In this day of grace condemned Jews, like condemned Gentiles, must come to the Lord for salvation, not as the children of Abraham, but as the children of Adam. Now, “no difference between the Jew and the Gentile. “

In another message we shall consider some of the spiritual blessings mentioned in detail in the Epistle to the Ephesians, all included in the ALL spiritual blessings in Ephesians 1:3. In the four verses that follow, we learn:

1. That we are holy and without blame before God in love.

2. That we have been adopted into God’s family and are His children by Jesus Christ.

3. That we have been made accepted in Christ the Beloved.

4. That by Christ’s shed blood we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. For these blessings we say, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

What has this world to offer that will begin to compare with these spiritual blessings, these eternal benefits? If we do enjoy “fame,” “fortune,” and “fun” in this life, “health,” “wealth,” and “worldly pleasures,” when we consider God’s Divine Truth, “it is appointed unto men once to die and after this the judgment,” how can the unsaved have any peace or joy in their souls? Conscious of the wrath to come, because they have failed to receive God’s gracious gift of salvation by Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world, and therefore because their sins are all piling up for the day of judgment, how can the unsaved be happy?

Remember, God will have all men to be saved. Receive Christ as your Saviour.