When we understand that we are family, we willingly embrace necessary sacrifices for the sake of others. Our position becomes that of lowliness, gentleness, longsuffering, bearing with one another, and endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace in all things. Leaders must set an example in this for the sake of all embracing the family characteristics of Christ. The apostle Paul understood this to be true.
Ephesians 4:1-3 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Church is not an organization, a structure, a belief system, or a way of ministry. Church is meant to be an expression of family for the glory of our Father in heaven. Each of has a grace given to us by God for the sake of others. That grace allows us to be a multifaceted, diverse, and glorious family. There is one body, one spirit, and one hope of our calling. That calling is fulfilled by being sons and daughters of God who are led by one Lord, one Faith, one Submersion, one God and Father of us all, one God above us all, one God through us all, and one God in us all. This is the intended testimony of the family of God in the earth.
Ephesians 4:4-6 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were 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, and in you all.
The one body is the body of Christ, the Spirit is the Holy Spirit of God, and the hope of our calling is the fulfillment of His calling in our lives. The power of the New Covenant is a power to put off the old conduct of our old man by putting on the testimony of Christ. We allow Christ within us to be the source of life to our souls. We live each day to receive the renewal that comes to our minds by Christ’s Spirit within us. We are receiving a new way of thinking, through the inspiration of our spirits made alive by Christ’s Spirit within our hearts. We are constantly and progressively becoming new men and women in Christ. Our character, nature, way, power, and authority are becoming that which speaks truth to others with passionate love. This is not speaking law; it is releasing life-giving words to others through the expressions of who we are. When we go through the challenges of life we don’t let the challenges of life determine whom we are. Christ in us determines who we are. When we are angry, we never let our day end in anger. We don’t hold on to anything that would be a root of bitterness in our hearts. We are becoming in our nature what God already saw us to be. It is affecting our attitudes, our actions, our conversations, our efforts, our expressions, and our influences upon others.
We are to be led by one Want To (one Lord), one Faith (a faith toward God), one Submersion (a submersion in the presence of God’s Spirit for the testimony of change), one God and Father (a Father of lights to send us as the light of life to the world), one God Above All (a testimony of the power of His resurrection might in all things), one God Through All (a testimony of community love in a passion for God and compassion for one another), and one God In All (the reality of His glory subduing every enemy and releasing Christ’s destiny to the earth). The sevenfold Holy Spirit of God is what leads us as children of God (Isa. 11:1-2).
Ephesians 4:20-32 But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another. “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil. Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
These things are not disciplines of the flesh. They are transformations in our flesh brought about by the power of God’s grace at work in our lives. We are being changed from glory to glory and that internal change is affecting the expressions of our purpose and destiny with and expression of life towards others. We putt off the old man by putting on Christ! By this we are renewed in the spirit of our minds and we become motivated by a different culture, the culture of the family of God!
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson