Finding Your Place In the Body By Finding Your Place In Christ

Today’s selected reading is found in the New Testament epistle which the apostle Paul wrote unto the saints which were at Ephesus. More specifically, today’s passage is found in chapters one through six of this New Testament book. When you come to the epistle which the apostle Paul wrote unto the Ephesians you will find one of the epistles which was known as “the prison epistles.” In fact, if you come to the end of the New Testament epistle written unto the Ephesians you will find essentially a closing statement which describes how this epistle was written by the apostle Paul from the city of Rome by the hand of Tychius. If you read the final verses of the epistle written unto the Ephesian saints you will find the apostle Paul introducing Tychius who was part of the writing of this epistle—and perhaps not only the writing of the epistle, but also the delivering of the epistle unto the saints which were in Ephesus. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the final verses of the sixth chapter of this New Testament epistle: “But that ye also may know my affairs, and how I do, Tychius, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things: whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that ye might know our affairs, and that he might comfort your hearts. Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen” (Ephesians 6:21-24). It is at the very end of the epistle written unto these dear saints you find the purpose for the epistle—and not only the purpose of the epistle, but also a dear brother whom the apostle Paul would send unto them to strengthen and encourage them, as well as to comfort them concerning the apostle Paul and his affairs. It is in the final verses of this epistle you will find the apostle Paul writing concerning his affairs and how he did, and how in order for the Ephesians to know concerning the apostle Paul he was going to send Tychius who was a beloved brother and a faithful minister in the Lord. Furthermore, it is in the final verses of this epistle you will find the apostle Paul speaking concerning Tychius how he was being sent by the apostle Paul that they might know their affairs, and that he might comfort their heart.

            What’s actually quite interesting when you read and consider the words which are found in this epistle is when you think about how the epistle began with Paul the apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ and concluded with a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord. Pause for a moment and think about just how incredibly powerful this truly is when you take the time to think about it. This epistle which was written by the apostle Paul from prison in Rome would begin with an emphatic statement of him as being an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, however, it would end and conclude with a powerful statement of Tychius who was not only a beloved brother, but also a faithful minister of the Lord. It is absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand this, for if you take the time to read the words which are found within this epistle—specifically the words which are found in the fourth chapter—you will find a tremendous amount of language concerning the unity, the communion, the fellowship, and the relationship of the body of Christ. It would be in the fourth chapter of this epistle you find the apostle Paul writing unto these Ephesian saints and believers concerning the tremendous need for unity—and not only unity, but also maturity in the Lord Jesus the Christ. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of these words, for they help us to understand how this epistle could begin with the apostle Paul writing and speaking of himself, and how it could end with the apostle Paul writing concerning Tychius whom he referred to as a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for even though the apostle Paul was in prison—perhaps even in chains there in the midst of Rome—his heart was still for and toward the saints and the churches which he helped establish in the midst of Asia and Europe.

            The more I read the words which are found in this particular New Testament epistle the more I can’t help but be brought face to face with the awesome and incredible truth that while it began with a statement concerning Paul who was an apostle of Christ it would begin with a statement concerning a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord. BELOVED! BROTHER! FAITHFUL! MINISTER! I am absolutely and completely convinced that we dare not and must not miss the incredible importance of these words, for these words bring us face to face with the absolutely wonderful and powerful truth—not only concerning that of being beloved, but also that of being faithful. Pause for a moment and think about how absolutely wonderful and incredible it is to read the words which are found in this passage and not only encounter the beautiful picture of being beloved, but also the beautiful picture of being faithful. In all reality, I would dare say that if there are two things which are absolutely necessary in the hearts and lives of the saints of God it is not only that they are the beloved, but also that they are and that they are found faithful. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of just how truly wonderful and powerful these words truly are when writing the epistle unto the saints in Ephesus, for when speaking concerning himself the apostle Paul referred to himself as an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God. The epistle would open with the apostle Paul speaking of himself as an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, however, the end result of the epistle would not merely be the apostle of Jesus Christ, but with a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord. In all reality, this is what is so absolutely necessary and so absolutely critical when you think about the ministry of the body, for it is not enough for the manifestation of the apostle without and apart from the manifestation of a beloved brother—and not only a beloved brother, but also a faithful minister in the Lord. It’s one thing for the apostle Paul to write this epistle and speak of himself as an apostle of Jesus Christ, however, it is something else altogether to write this epistle and conclude it with a powerful statement concerning Tychius who was a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord.

I am absolutely and completely convinced that if we are truly going to understand and comprehend the words which are found in this epistle we must needs recognize and understand those words which are found in the fourth chapter. If you take the time to read the words which are found in the fourth chapter of this epistle you will find the apostle Paul writing unto these saints concerning unity and maturity, for if we are truly being honest with ourselves and with the Lord we must needs recognize and admit that these are perhaps two of the greatest needs within the body of Christ. What’s more, is that I would dare say that these two realities—that of unity and maturity—are intrinsically linked and connected, and are quite possibly interdependent, and perhaps even co-dependent on each other. There would be those who might think and believe that they can experience maturity within their hearts and lives without and apart from unity, and yet I am absolutely and completely convinced that in order to truly experience maturity within our hearts and lives there must needs be a powerful manifestation of unity. What’s more, is that I would dare say that unity is the context, the framework, the environment and the atmosphere in which maturity is able to be produced and manifested within the hearts and lives of the saints of God. We dare not and must not think and believe—even for a minute—that true and lasting maturity can be produced within our hearts and lives without and apart from unity in the midst of the body of Christ. We dare not and must not miss just how absolutely necessary and critical unity—and not only unity, but also community—truly is when it comes to maturity. MATURITY THROUGH UNITY IN COMMUNITY! MATURITY THROUGH UNITY WITH COMMUNITY! MATURITY THROUGH UNITY FROM COMMUNITY! The more I think about this particular truth and reality the more I am brought face to face with just how incredibly important community and unity truly are when it comes to producing maturity within the heart and life of a saint of the living God. It is with this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the first epistle written unto the Corinthian saints, as well as the words which are found in the epistle written unto the saints which were at Rome:

            “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led. Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another gifts of healing by the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues; but all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will” (1 Corinthians 12:1-11).

            “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: and those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: that there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular” (1 Corinthians 12:12-27).

            “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think: but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, an all members have not the same office; so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every on members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness” (Romans 12:1-8).

            It is quite obvious when reading these words the apostle Paul sought to write and speak concerning the body of Christ—and not only concerning the body, but also the unity and community of the body. You cannot read these words and not encounter and come face to face with the powerful truth that the apostle Paul sought to bring the churches to the wonderful and powerful place where they recognized that while it was true there was one body of Christ—that body was made up of many members. The body of Christ was not made up of one member, nor was the body of Christ made up of one particular type of member of the body, but rather it was made up of many different members of the body. Oh it is absolutely necessary we recognize and understand this incredibly powerful truth, for it brings us face to face with the absolute necessity that if the Lord Jesus Christ set you in the body of Christ it is for and with a specific purpose in mind. It would be very easy to think that we have been set and placed in the body of Christ solely for ourselves, and solely for our own needs. The truth of the matter, however, is that this simply is not the case. Oh we dare not and must not be tempted into thinking that we can somehow function and operate within the body of Christ by ourselves, and that we have absolutely no connection to the other members of the body of Christ. What’s more, is that we must needs recognize and understand that although each member of the body are entirely and altogether different from each other—each member has a tremendous need for each other. There is not a single member of the body that has absolutely no need for another member of the body, and there are not certain members of the body that have no need for the other members. We must not fall into the trap and the snare in thinking that we can somehow function in the body of Christ—and not only function in the body of Christ, but also function in this life without and apart from the body of Christ. Oh dear reader—if the Lord Jesus Christ has indeed placed you in the body, He placed you within the body that you might be a benefit to the body, and that the body might be a benefit to you.

            BEING A BENEFIT, RECEIVING BENEFIT! Oh there is not a doubt in my mind that we need to recognize and understand this absolutely awesome and incredible truth, for it is this truth that brings us face to face with the awesome and powerful reality that we need the body of Christ, and that we were not placed upon this earth to be absent, independent, and separate from the body of Christ. There are those who think they can journey through this life simply and solely by themselves without needing any of the other members of the body, and yet the truth of the matter is that this simply is not the case. If you are a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ, and if you are a son or daughter of the Father, you have been placed upon this earth to be fitly joined together with the body of Christ. Oh, would it shock and surprise you to think and consider that you have been given a place within the body that is unique to you? Would it shock and surprise you to think that you have been given a unique place within the body that only you can fulfill, function and operate in? The more I think about and consider this tremendous truth the more I am brought face to face with the fact that if you are a saint of the most high God you have been given a place within the body of Christ that cannot be occupied, nor can it be filled by any other member of the body of Christ. There is a place within the body of Christ that has been specifically ordained, appointed and created for you, and perhaps the single greatest need is recognizing and understanding where that place is. What’s more, is that we not only need to recognize and understand where that place within the body is, but also what is required of us within that specific place. One of the greatest revelations a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ can indeed receive and experience in this life is realizing and recognizing their place within the body of Christ. Oh dear reader—mark my words and mark them well, for you have been saved, you have been called, you have been chosen, and you have been appointed to have a very specific place within the body of Christ. There is a place within the body of Christ that was designed and ordained specifically for you, and there is absolutely no one else who can step into that place apart from you.

            It is with this in mind that before I present you with the words which are found in the fourth chapter of this epistle I call and draw your attention to the words which are found in the first and opening chapter. As surely and as much as I am writing to you concerning knowing, understanding, moving and operating in our place within the body of Christ, the more I am absolutely convinced that the heart and foundation of that revelation and manifestation is truly understanding who we are in Christ, and what we have been called, ordained and appointed to. Oh I absolutely love how the apostle Paul opens up this particular epistle, for the apostle Paul opens this epistle with a powerful statement and declaration unto the Ephesian saints concerning their place and their position in Christ. It is absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand this, for if we are going to truly recognize and understand our place within the body of Christ, we must first recognize and understand our place in Christ. There would be those who would seek to move, operate and function within their place in the body of Christ without and apart from truly understanding their place within Christ. This is truly necessary and important, for until and unless you truly understand who you are in Christ, and your place in Christ, you cannot truly move, operate and function in your place within the body of Christ. Oh try and try as hard as you may to operate within the body of Christ you will find yourself failing and coming up short if and when you think that you can do so without and apart from recognizing and understanding your place in Christ. In fact, I would dare say that it is only to the degree that you truly recognize your place in Christ, and only to the degree that you operate in your place in Christ that you are then able to operate and function within the body of Christ. What’s more, is I would dare say that you must needs learn how to operate within the head of the body before you can truly learn to operate within the body. There have been countless men and women who have attempted to move, operate and function within the body of Christ separate, apart and independent from knowing and understanding their place within Christ Himself, and such individuals have found themselves coming up against a brick wall that is completely and entirely difficult to move beyond. It is with this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the first and opening chapter of this epistle beginning to read with and from the third verse:

            “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places 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, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: that in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: in whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: that we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:3-14).

            Please pay close and careful attention to the words which are found within this passage of Scripture, for the words we find in this passage of Scripture brings us face to face with the absolutely wonderful and fascinating knowledge and understanding of who we are in Christ. I do not believe that it is any coincidence the apostle Paul placed these words at the beginning and opening of this epistle, for these words are the foundation for everything else that would come within and throughout the rest of the epistle. Ultimately the apostle Paul would seek to transition to the place where he would write concerning our place within the body of Christ, and what is needed in that place within the body of Christ, however, before the apostle Paul sought to bring the Ephesian saints into that place, he first sought to bring them into the place where they recognized and understood who they were in the Lord Jesus Christ. It would only be to the degree and measure they recognized and understood their place in Christ they would be able to truly understand and recognize their place within the body of Christ. Oh it’s important that we recognize that there can be no body without and apart from Christ who is the head, and if we would truly seek to understand how to operate within the body of Christ we must needs not only know our place within the Head, but we must also be connected to the Head of the body, which is the Lord Jesus the Christ. It is truly necessary that we pay close and careful attention to the words which are found in the opening chapter—and not only the opening chapter of the epistle written unto the Ephesian saints, but also the second and third chapters as well—for it is only when we truly understand the reality of our place and position in Christ that we are truly able to understand our place and position within the body of Christ. Oh if you are reading these words it is absolutely necessary that you acknowledge and come face to face with the fact that at the very heart and foundation of your understanding your place within the body of Christ you must first recognize and understand your place with and within the Head of the body, which is the Lord Jesus Christ.

            There are countless men and women who think they can truly understand their place within the body of Christ without and apart from truly understanding their place within the Lord Jesus Christ, and yet the truth of the matter is that this simply is not the case. I would emphatically and boldly declare unto you that you cannot move, operate and function within the body of Christ without and apart from knowing your place and position within Christ—and not only knowing your place and position in Christ, but also moving and operating within that place. I am absolutely and completely convinced that only to the degree and measure you are able to move and operate within your place in Christ can you truly move and operate in your place within the body of Christ. There are those who would like to think that they can understand their place within the body of Christ without and apart from first understanding their place in the Lord Jesus Christ, and such individuals find themselves experiencing a tremendous amount of difficulty when it comes to operating within the body of Christ. Pause for a moment and truly take the time to think about it, for how can you honestly expect to understand your place within the body of Christ if and unless you first understand your place and your position in Christ. Not only this, but it is the Head of the body which is Christ that actually gives you your place and your position within the body of Christ. This is important for us to recognize and come to terms with, for one of the most dangerous and tragic things someone can do is attempt to find their place and their position within the body of Christ themselves without and apart from being directly connected to the Head of the body which is Christ. There has been much damage that has been done within and unto the body of Christ by and from men and women who have attempted to find their place in the body of Christ without and apart from first recognizing their part within the Head of the body. What’s more, is much damage has been done has been done by men and women who have attempted to find their place within the body of Christ without the Head of the body revealing it unto them.

            With all of this being said, I am convinced there is something else we must needs recognize and understand, and that it the tremendous danger in not only attempting to place ourselves within the body of Christ, but also seeking and attempting to move and operate in a place within the body of Christ we were never called, created, chosen, ordained and appointed to do. There is not a doubt in my mind there are men and women right now who are moving and operating in a place within the body of Christ which the eternal Head which is Christ never authorized nor permitted for them. I am absolutely and completely convinced that we must needs recognize this truly incredible and powerful truth, for we dare not and must not think that we can somehow move and operate in a place within the body of Christ which we were never created or appointed to be. To help illustrate this point even further, I would invite you to think about how the hands are placed in a very specific place within the body to accomplish a very specific task. Not only this, but the feet were placed in a very specific place within the body for a very specific task. You would not expect to find the hands where the feet are, nor would you expect to find the feet where the hands are. What’s more, is you wouldn’t expect to find the nose where the mouth is, nor the eyes where the nose is. MR. POTATO HEAD CHRISTIANS! MR. POTATO HEADS CHURCHES! If you remember the old toy Mr. Potato head you will also remember that there were different parts that were associated with this toy, and how each part that came with it had a very specific place on Mr. Potato Head. With that being said, however, it was also possible that you could take parts that belonged in one place on Mr. Potato Head and put them in places where they didn’t belong. As a direct result you will find various different deformed manifestations of Mr. Potato head with different body parts being in places they did not and should not belong. It was possible to take the lips and put them where the eyes were, and the arms and put them where the mouth was, and so many other combinations. Such deviations from what was actually designed and intended would result in a deformed image that was never intended by the creator.

            I sit here this morning—not only thinking about Mr. Potato Head, but also the old toy that was sort of like a ball with various different slots in it which corresponded to different shapes. With this particular toy you were given different shapes that obviously corresponded to the slot and place that was created specifically for that shape. It’s interesting to note that this was a children’s game, and that children who played with this toy would learn an incredibly important and powerful lesson early on—namely, that the trying to put a square where a circle belongs, or trying to put a triangle where a star belongs, or trying to put a circle where a triangle is, or any other combinations simply does not work. Those children who played with this toy early on in their formidable years would learn the incredible importance of placing the right shape and the right piece in the place specifically assigned for it. Ultimately the lesson from this game is recognizing the block and the piece in your hand and understanding how that piece has a very specific place where it has been assigned. In order for all the blocks to be place within this toy they needed to enter in through the place that was specifically created and designed for them. You would never find the wrong block and wrong piece finding its way into the center of the toy through an opening that did not line and match up with what it actually was. Pause and think about just how incredibly powerful this truly is when you take the time to think about it, for it presents us with a truly astonishing and powerful truth concerning our place within the body of Christ—and not only concerning our place within the body of Christ, but also how we dare not attempt to position ourselves in a place and space we were never created or designed to operate in. There are far too many men and women within many of our churches who are moving and operating in places they were never created, nor were ever designed to move, operate and even be placed in.

            I fully realize that it might seem somewhat odd to present you with these two toys when writing concerning spiritual matters and spiritual principles, however, if you take the time to truly think about what these toys represent you will encounter the tremendous truth that they can indeed show and demonstrate powerful truths concerning the body of Christ. Just as it was possible for there to be a deformed Mr. Potato head because parts of the body were put in places they didn’t belong, so also is it possible for there to be deformed churches and deformed bodies among us in the earth. Oh we would like to think that this simply is not the case, and yet the truth of the matter is that there are churches present among us where you have members of the body which are operating in a place they were never created, ordained, chosen and appointed to operate in, and as a result of this placement and operation there is and there has been much damage to the body. Please note and understand that this is true from the one who stands behind the pulpit to the one who is part of the worship team to the one who leads small groups to one who is in a position of leadership as a deacon or elder, and the like. I fully realize that this might offend countless men and women who might read these words, and yet the truth of the matter is that we ought not, we dare not, we cannot and must not attempt to position ourselves in a place we were never designed nor created to be. Perhaps one of the greatest truths that is found within and surrounds the New Testament book of Acts is that it was the Holy Spirit who as a direct result of prayer would strategically position men and women in that place within the body they were created and intended to be. It was the Holy Spirit who placed the seven deacons where they were within the early Church—and not only this, but placed Stephen in the place he moved and operated, as well as the place where Philip moved and operated. It was the Holy Spirit who spoke unto the teachers, the prophets, and the brethren at the church in Antioch and called for the separation of Saul and Barnabas for the work unto which He had ordained and appointed unto them. Oh we must needs recognize and understand this, for there was none and there weren’t any who dared attempt to position themselves in a place within the body of Christ they were never created, chosen, ordained, appointed and designed to be.

            This is a truth we must needs pay close and careful attention to, for in transitioning back to the toy with the different shapes and blocks we must needs recognize and understand that one of the dangers and temptations is attempting to find our place in the body of Christ by going through the wrong opening. Oh there is a specific opening, there is a specific path, there is a specific place you have been given to find your place within the body of Christ, and it is absolutely necessary that you recognize and understand this truth and reality. There have been countless men and women who have attempted to find their place within the body of Christ, and have attempted to do so much like children who tried putting a circle in a square hole, or a triangle in a star hole. It was Jesus Himself who declared that He was the Way, the Truth and the Life, and that no man comes unto the Father but by Him, however, I can’t help but wonder if this cannot and does not also apply to the body of Christ. What’s more, is Jesus also referred to Himself as the door and gate of the shepherd and that the sheep not only know His voice, but also enter in by and through Him. Oh how absolutely intriguing and interesting it is to think about and consider the fact that not only is Jesus the way unto the Father, but Jesus is also the way into the body of Christ, and the way into our place within the body of Christ. We know and understand that Jesus is the way unto the Father and that no man can come unto the Father except through Him, and yet more often than not we forget and fail to understand and recognize that Jesus is also the way into the body of Christ. Pause for a moment and consider what the apostle Paul wrote unto the churches in Galatia when he wrote about false brethren who crept in unawares to spy out the liberty which the saints of God and the disciples of Christ had in this life. Consider how it is indeed possible that there are false brethren who can infiltrate the church and the body of Christ, and yet how they have no place within the body of Christ among its members.

            I sit here today thinking about and considering this truly awesome and powerful truth, and I can’t help but encounter and come face to face with the tremendous reality that not only is Jesus the way unto the Father, but Jesus is also the way into the body of Christ. It is Jesus who both introduces us to the body of Christ, as well as places us within the body, for only Jesus as the Head of the body can accomplish such a feat and task. Oh we dare not and must not think that we can properly position ourselves within the body of Christ without and apart from the Head of the body, for it is the Head of the body which knows exactly where each member should go—and not only where each member should go, but also what each member’s role, purpose and function is. Oh that we would realize and understand how absolutely necessary it is for us to enter into the body of Christ through that One who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Just as surely as no man can come unto the Father but by the Lord Jesus the Christ, so also can no man enter into the body—and truly enter into the body of Christ—without and apart from the Head of the body. It is absolutely imperative that we recognize and pay close attention to this, for when we think about our place in the body of Christ—not only is it Christ who places us within the body, but it is also Christ who places us in that true and proper role and function in the body of Christ. We must needs realize and understand that it is not only Christ who positions us in the body, but it is also Christ who positions us in a place within the body that has been strategically designed, ordained and appointed for us. With this being said we must needs acknowledge that every member has a place within the body of Christ, and we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this truth. We must never think and believe for a moment that any member does not have a place within the body of Christ—a place which was divinely ordained and orchestrated for them. We must never think that there are members among us within our churches who do not have a place within the body of Christ, and that they are somehow improperly placed. With this being said, however—it is absolutely necessary that while it is true that each and every member has a place within the body of Christ, there is a very specific place for that member to be in. It is indeed true that we all have a place within the body of Christ, however, we have been given any random place within the body of Christ.

            THE ORDER OF THE BODY! It is absolutely necessary that we understand the order of the body, for while it is indeed true that each and ever member of the body of Christ has its own place within the body, there is a divine order for each and every member of the body. There is a divine appointment and assignment for each and every member of the body, and no member should take it upon themselves to place themselves where they do not belong in the body, and where they were never designed, created or intended to be. Perhaps one of the greatest needs we have as members of the body of Christ is to be connected to the Head of the body which is the Lord Jesus Christ, and to allow Jesus the Christ to strategically place us where He has ordained and appointed for us. Not only this, but we must needs recognize and understand that we must actually be willing to allow the Lord Jesus Christ to position us in that place He has ordained and appointed for us within the body of Christ, and that this is not something we ought to take lightly, nor is it something we ought to treat causally and cavalierly. There have been far too many men and women who have thought and assumed they could place themselves within the body of Christ according to their own imagination, according to their own intention, and according to their own intellect. The truth of the matter, however, is that this simply is not and must not be the case. We dare not and must not think that we can resort to our own imagination and our own intention for our place within the body of Christ, for it is only Christ who can not only place us within the body of Christ, but also show us that specific place within the body of Christ.

            Considering all this which is before us it is absolutely necessary that we continue reading within this epistle, for before the apostle Paul would write and speak concerning unity and maturity within the body of Christ he would continue to speak of our place and our position in Christ. In all reality, it’s almost as if the apostle Paul sought to wonderfully and powerfully demonstrate unto the Ephesian congregation and saints the tremendous importance of recognizing their place in Christ, for it is from that place in Christ—and from that knowledge of your place in Christ—that you can truly understand your place within the body of Christ. Before the apostle Paul even gets into the place within the body of Christ and the unity and maturity that comes as a direct result of it he first mentions very specific prayers he prayed for the Ephesian saints and congregation. While it is indeed true the apostle Paul would write and speak of their place in Christ, as well as their place within the body of Christ, the apostle Paul also clearly presented unto them that which he prayed for them. In fact, we must needs pay close and careful attention to the words which are found in this portion of Scripture, for the prayers which the apostle Paul prayed for these saints not only shine a tremendous amount of light on to their place and position in the Lord Jesus Christ, but also their place within the body of Christ. We dare not and must not overlook and neglect the words which are found in these passages of Scripture, for they help bring us face to face with the absolutely tremendous and powerful truth that surrounds our place in Christ, and as a direct result of our place in Christ we can also know, understand, move and operate in our place within Christ. With this in mind I invite to read the following words which the apostle Paul wrote unto the saints which were at Ephesus concerning the prayers he prayed for them on a continually and regular basis. Beginning with the fifteenth verse of the first chapter of this epistle you will find the following words:

            “Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation and knowledge of Him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what is 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 heavenly places, 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” (Ephesians 1:15-22).

            “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth ,and heigh; and to know the love of Christ, which paseth knowledge, that ye might be fileld with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end” (Ephesians 3:14-21).

            We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of that which the apostle Paul prayed for the Ephesian saints, for the apostle Paul not only prayed that they would know and understand God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, but He also prayed that they would know and understand Jesus the Christ. What’s more, is the apostle Paul earnestly prayed that these saints would truly recognize and understand their place in Christ—and only their place in Christ, but also their place within the body of Christ. The apostle Paul sought to wonderfully and powerfully demonstrate the tremendous truth that Jesus the Christ was indeed the Head over all things to the church, which was His body, and that it is in that body which we are all members. Oh we dare not miss and lose sight of this powerful and astonishing truth, for it brings us face to face—not only with what the Lord Jesus the Christ did for us, but also what the Father did for us through the Lord Jesus Christ. It is true that we have been given a place within the body of Christ, however, it is also true that there was a great work that needed to be done in order to place and position where we ought to be in the body of Christ. In the opening verses of the first chapter the apostle Paul blesses the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ because and as He has blesses us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ. What’s more, is the apostle Paul would also write and speak unto the Ephesian saints how God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ chose us in Him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love. Furthermore, He predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will. Not only this, but the Father also made us accepted in the beloved, and has given us redemption through the blood of Jesus Christ and the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace. Oh how absolutely awesome, wonderful and remarkable it is to think about and consider that we have not only been predestinated unto the adoption of children, but we have also made us accepted in the beloved. Oh please don’t miss and lose sight of this, for you and I have been given a place in the beloved—not only as members of the body of Christ, but also as sons and daughters of the Father. Moreover, if we have been given a place as sons and daughters of the Father we are also joint-heirs with the Lord Jesus Christ, as He is the eternal begotten Son of the Father.

            If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand concerning our place and our placement within the body of Christ, it’s this separation that needs to take place from our former life and our former way of living in the world. It is when you come to the second chapter of this epistle you are brought face to face with the awesome truth that truly understanding our place and our placement within the body of Christ carries with it and requires us to completely and entirely distance ourselves from the former manner of conversation and manner of living which we previously had before Christ. In all reality—if you want to truly operate and function within the body of Christ it is absolutely necessary that you realize and understand that which the Lord Jesus Christ has delivered you from that you might step and enter into something entirely and altogether new which you had not previously known. As you come to the second chapter of this epistle you will find the apostle Paul writing unto the Ephesian saints concerning their former manner of conversation, and their former manner of living in the world before Jesus Christ redeemed, ransomed and rescued them from that life in the world, and translated them into His glorious and wonderful kingdom. Oh we must truly understand and recognize this, for in order to truly understand our place and placement within the body of Christ—not only must we know our place in Christ, but we must also know our place in the world. Would it shock and surprise you to hear and consider that in order for us to truly understand our place within the body of Christ—not only must we know our place in Christ, but we must also know our place in the world? Or, perhaps instead of saying we ought to know our place in the world it is better to write and speak about our place in relation to the world. It is when you read the words which are found in the second chapter of this epistle you will also encounter the awesome and incredible truth concerning our former manner of conversation in the world before the Lord Jesus Christ, and how we have been delivered and ransomed from that previous manner of living:

            “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:1-10).

            “Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; that at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: but now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; and that he might reconcile both unto  God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: and ame and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God: and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:11-22).

FELLOW CITIZENS WITH THE SAINTS! OF THE HOUSEHOLD OF GOD! BUILT UPON THE FOUNDATION OF THE APOSTLES AND PROPHETS! ALL THE BUILDING FITLY FRAME TOGETHER GROWETH UNTO AN HOLY TEMPLE IN THE LORD! BUILDED TOGETHER FOR AN HABITATION OF GOD THROUGH THE SPIRIT! Oh please pay close attention to the words which are found within the second chapter, for in order to truly understand how we are fellow citizens with the saints, and how we are now of the household of God, we must needs recognize our former manner of conversation, and our former manner of living in the world while we were yet dead in our sins and dead in our trespasses. I am absolutely and completely convinced that while we must needs know and understand our place in Christ that we might understand our place in the body of Christ, so also must we know and understand our place in connection and relation to the world. If you want to truly understand your place as a member within the body of Christ—and not only understand your place, but also move, operate and function in that place—you must needs understand and recognize your place in direct connection and relation to the world. I firmly believe that we must needs recognize that which the Lord Jesus the Christ rescued, ransomed and redeemed us from, for it is to the degree and measure that we understand and recognize that particular truth and reality we can truly know our place in the household of God, and as a habitation of God through the Spirit. We have indeed been given a specific place within the body of Christ, and it is in that place within the body we must learn to operate and function in—but only to the degree and measure we truly understand our place in Christ, and our place in relation to the world.

            It is when you come to the fourth chapter of this New Testament epistle you are brought face to face with this powerful shift and transition within the epistle to the tremendous need within the body of Christ. When you come to the fourth chapter of the epistle which the apostle Paul wrote unto the saints which were at Ephesus you will find the apostle beginning to write and speak unto them concerning the unity of the body in Christ by the Spirit—and not only the unity of the body in Christ by the Spirit, but also the maturity that is so desperately needed within the body. I began this writing by mentioning that there can be maturity without and apart from unity, and that unity is directly linked to community. I wrote and declared that if you want to truly experience maturity and growth within your heart and life you have great need to be intimately connected and joined together with the body of Christ. With this being said I feel it absolutely necessary to emphatically declare unto you that no member of the body was designed, created and intended to grow alone without and apart from the other members of the body. Oh dear read—please know and understand that you were not placed in the body that you might grow alone independent from those before and around you. Please note that you were not placed in the body of Christ that you might operate alone and by yourself, nor even experience growth alone without and apart from the other members of the body. I am absolutely and completely convinced that if you want to experience true growth and true maturity within your heart and life you must needs be directly and intimately connected to the body of Christ, for only to the degree and measure you are connected to the body of Christ are you able and will you be able to truly experience growth in your life—and not only in your own life, but also in the body of Christ. There are far too many men and women who think they can experience true growth and true maturity without and apart from community, and without and apart from unity within the body of Christ.

            If there is one thing the epistle which was written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were found at Ephesus reveals and presents unto us it’s that we not only need each other to be the spiritual building in Christ we were created to be, but we also need one another that we might experience the maturity and growth that is so desperately needed. There is not a doubt in my mind that one of the greatest needs within the world during the days and generation in which we are living is mature saints of God who not only know how to, but are also living in community and unity with others. I am absolutely and completely convinced that what is so desperately needed during these times of such division, schism, chaos, confusion, and the like is the maturity and unity of the body. I firmly believe that what the world desperately needs to see during these days and during the times in which we are living is a people in the earth who not only walk in unity with each other, but who also walk in community and fellowship with each other. Not only this, but the world needs to see, witness and behold mature saints of God who are not only grown up into a spiritual building in Christ Jesus, but who also grow up within themselves as mature saints of God and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for to do so would be to miss out on what is so desperately needed from the church and body of Christ during these days. With that being said, I am also absolutely convinced that directly in line and hand in hand with that unity and maturity is also the ability to wage warfare during these times. This must be understood, for no man can successfully wage war alone and by himself, for that man is only as strong as the brother who is willing to stand beside and fight with them. Oh dear reader please know and understand that although you have been called to stand and fight, you haven’t been called to stand and fight alone. You have indeed been called to stand and fight together and side by side with your brothers and sisters in Christ, and the most powerful and effectual assault and attack against principalities, against rulers of darkness, against spiritual wickedness in high places, and the like is when we are not only united together in community and fellowship, but are also united together in warfare, conflict and battle. It is with this in mind I leave you with the following words which are found in the fourth and sixth chapters of this New Testament epistle:

            “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the body of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism. One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, all in you all. But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gifts of Christ. Wherefore he saith, When He ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? 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: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight 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: 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” (Ephesians 4:1-16).

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 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 high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” (Ephesians 6:10-18).

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