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Daily Bread AUG/28/10
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Saturday, 28 August 2010 12:19
Ephesians 4:16 - From whom all the body is joined and knitted together by
every ligament that provides support: so that each individual part functions
effectively, providing for the growth of the body as it builds itself up in
love.

The whole body is under the control of the head - unless there is some
disconnection in the body. If we do not hold the head (Christ and His
appointed leadership) in its proper position, then there will be no growth;
and we will see a completely dysfunctional church. The framework of the body
(or skeletal structure) is held together by ligaments, tendons, and muscles.
It is by this anatomical analysis that Paul expresses the interdependence
that each individual within a local church must have with others, if that
church is to be submitted to Christ Jesus. It is a picture of submission and
dependency upon each other, and a consecration to one purpose: the
functioning of the body of Christ.

If the proper connections are not established and maintained, then those
individuals unwilling to connect will be handicapped, and unable to respond
to the commands of the head. As a result the body will appear crippled.
However, if each individual submits themselves to the love of Christ, and is
willing to allow the Holy Spirit to set them in their proper place within
the body, then each body part will be properly connected. It is through this
love and cooperation that the church will grow into the fullness of the
measure of the maturity of Christ: unto a fully matured man (Ephesians 4:13;
1 Corinthians 12:18; Ephesians 5:30; Galatians 3:27-28; 1 Corinthians 12:13;
Romans 12:4-5; 1 Corinthians 10:17; Colossians 3:15). Using the same
analogy, when an individual attempts to establish their own place and
purpose within the body - it is like a cancer that produces dysfunctional
tissue, and makes the entire body sick.

Anyone who has isolated themselves from the local church cannot be connected
to the body of Christ, and cannot be submitted to Christ. Rebellion and
division are attempting to rule the land today, and that spirit has
overwhelmed many in the church. There are so many good people who think they
can just go it alone, but such a concept is foreign to the gospel of Christ
and the Kingdom of God. In fact, the whole revelation of God is centered
upon the order and community of family. If the church is unwilling to
function as the family of God, and as members of that family - there will be
no representation of the kingdom of God.

If the individuals lack a consecration to unity and to submission (to
leadership first, as well as to each other), then they fail to understand
the most fundamental concepts of the doctrine of Christ. With all the
wounded and hurt people, along with all those who have been raised with
suspicion and criticism, great compassion must be exercised to bring them
back into the proper function of family; but this must be recognized as
everyone's objective. There must be patience exercised on the part of all
those already connected and yielded to God's divine order, as the Spirit of
God deals with those who are living under the spirit of rejection, hurt, and
even rebellion. We must all cease to be so important in our own eyes, and
instead become servants clothed with humility and walking in love (1 Peter
5:5; Ephesians 5:2).
 
Daily Bread AUG/27/10
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Friday, 27 August 2010 10:08
Ephesians 4:15 - But speaking the truth in love, we may grow up into Christ
in all things; who is Himself the head.

Our individual growth in the things pertaining to our spiritual life demands
that we speak the truth. There is only one source of truth, and that is the
word of God. Our confession of the truth is directly related to the results
that we get. Our willingness to agree with the truth - and confess that
Jesus Christ is Lord - resulted in our salvation. We learned from Paul in
this same context that our confession is made unto salvation (Romans 10:10;
Proverbs 18:21; Matthew 12:37). Words are so important to God that He used
them to create the heavens and the earth, and everything that is in them
(Psalm 33:6,9; Hebrews 11:3). If we are going to have the things that God
has purposed for us to have, then we must believe what He has said.

Whatever it is that we believe is ultimately what we are going to speak. Too
many times God's people speak out of fear and distrust, instead of love and
confidence. The things that we see and hear have such an impact on us, that
we forget what God said that he would do - if we would only believe. If we
are willing to believe the love that God has for us, then we know that He is
going to take excellent care of us. In the midst of the crisis and the
circumstances, we can rise above it all through knowing and believing what
God has said. If we agree with Him and confess what His word has declared,
then our faith will flow out with divine authority through the
acknowledgment of every good thing that is in us (Philemon 1:6). If we hold
fast to the confession of our faith, we will have the divine provision for
everything that we need - because God is faithful who has promised (Hebrews
10:23; Hebrews 4:14; Philippians 4:19).

I have heard many people say, "Life is difficult." Actually life is not
difficult. Circumstances are difficult; life is wonderful. The natural life
is so important to each one of us, we will desperately struggle to hold on
to it. The abundant life that we have received in Christ Jesus should be
even more important. The abundant life that we have been given in Christ
Jesus has supplied us with a quality of life that affords us all of the
blessings and provisions of God (Ephesians 1:2; Romans 5:17,21; Romans 8:2;
2 Corinthians 8:9; Psalm 84:11). Through Christ Jesus, we have been richly
supplied with everything that pertains to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3;
Philippians 4:19; Ephesians 3:16). It is our choice whether we allow
circumstances to rule our lives, or we allow the word of God to rule us. The
facts are that whatever we are most convinced of, whether it be the
circumstances or the promises of God - that will be what we ultimately speak
out. We have heard how God will supply our every need, and how He will cause
all grace to abound to us so that we will have all sufficiency in all
things; but when the difficult situations arise, do we speak according to
God's word? If we are willing to be doers of the word and not hearers only,
then the circumstances will have to conform to the word of God, and will not
be able to affect us (Matthew 7:24-27).

If the life of God is going to dominate our lives, then we must allow God's
word to have the final say in everything that we believe. Without faith it
is impossible to please God; but if we hold to the word of God, the faith
that changes things will come to us. Therefore, let the love relationship
that has been established between you and the Lord Jesus produce a
confession of truth. Our defense against false beliefs in every dimension of
our lives is the word of truth. Do not be carried about with every wind of
doctrine, and by every troubling situation; but rather be firmly established
in the word of His truth (1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Corinthians 6:7; Ephesians
1:13; Colossians 1:5; John 17:17). If you will hold fast to the truth and
speak the truth - then you will mature into all the things of Christ Jesus.
 
Daily Bread AUG/26/10
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Thursday, 26 August 2010 15:09
John 1:14 - And the Word became flesh and came and lived with us; and we saw
his glory: the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and
truth.

The Greek word 'sarx' (which means "flesh") would not only have been very
specific concerning the humanity of God incarnated, but would have equally
been a strong rebuke to the Gnostics of the time - who viewed the flesh as
innately evil and unable to contain or express any attributes of God,
especially the Divine Person Himself. The Greeks, who admired the 'Logos' as
that which formulated the order or the world, aspired to be joined with God
through a mystic relationship in the Universe. To them the idea of
encountering the logos of God in the flesh was unthinkable. Yet God in His
love and mercy took on the likeness of sinful flesh, and condemned sin in
the flesh. The great grace and blessing of God can only be viewed with
wonder and amazement; as Paul said, "Great is the mystery of Godliness, God
was manifest in the flesh." (1 Timothy 3:16).

Today as God's people, we fully embrace this glorious reality that Jesus is
come in the flesh. He not only came 2000 years ago when he was born of a
virgin named Mary; but He has come into His temple, so that we can say,
"Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world" (1 John 4:4).

The Authorized Version translates 'sarx': flesh 147 times, carnal 2,
carnally minded 1, fleshly 1. It occurs in the Septuagint 215 times, and its
Hebrew equivalent is 'basar'. The first occurrence in the Old Testament is
in Genesis 2:21; and in the New Testament, Matthew 16:17.
 
Daily Bread AUG/25/10
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Wednesday, 25 August 2010 10:41
Ephesians 5:23 - Because the man is the head of the woman, even as also
Christ is the head of His church: the savior of the body.

The common approach to understanding the meaning of ancient words is to
understand the culture and times in which the word or concept was used.
However, more important than Graeco/Roman culture (and even Hebrew culture)
is biblical culture; a culture defined by God. The kingdom of God culture is
distinct from all other cultures, and at the heart of this culture is love
and servitude. It is within this context that we must understand biblical
words, whether Greek or Hebrew.

Now with respect to the Greek language, 'kephale', which is translated
"head," may refer to the actual head of man or animal; also point, top,
superior, etc. Yet we must not get lost in the maze of definition, but
rather understand the meaning of the words by context and application. We
must look at the role of Christ to the Father, and the man to Christ, in
order to really understand the role of the wife to the man (1 Corinthians
11:3; Ephesians 5:25). The relationship of the Father to Christ Jesus is the
first and most important relationship to understand, if we are to understand
the proper relationship between the husband and the wife. The love between
the Father and the Lord Jesus is the model of the kingdom rulership: which
is not dictatorial or legislative, but a relational governorship born out of
oneness (John 17:21-23). To be ruled by someone who loves you, and to rule
based upon relationship - these are foreign to man; and we must be guarded
against raw definitions and human models when we attempt to conceptualize
this. This is governorship by oneness, servitude, and love. There are many
things to say, but consider what Paul says with regards to this hierarchy -
when he says that man is the glory of God, and the woman the glory of the
man (1 Corinthians 11:7-10). This must cause us all to pause and think about
the notion of what comes first, and then second; but within the framework of
conferring glory and honor upon that which is second. We must also consider
the partnership and companionship nature of both these acts: God creating
man to walk with Him in a glorious relationship; and God creating woman from
the man, ordaining that they should be as one in purpose and life.

Equally the same could be said of 'hypotasso', which means "to be subject,
submit, or subordinate." While it is a hierarchical term, it must be kept in
the context of the model of the love that Christ Jesus showed us. Remember,
God does not make us submit or become subject to Him; it is voluntary. He
does not force our will, but rather draws or romances us unto Himself with
His love and care for us (Colossians 3:18; Ephesians 5:22-24; 1 Peter 3:1;
Titus 2:4-5). Certainly there is a consequence if we refuse to walk in love
and obey God, because all those who refuse divine love and life abide in
death. Equally, when a woman is unwilling to participate with the divine
order of things, she fails to realize the glory of walking in the fullness
of Christ. Yet the important point to consider here is the relational
aspects of those who have given themselves to walk in divine love and in the
life of Christ. It is important to remember that Colossians 3:18 and
Ephesians 5:22 are as important as Hebrews 13:17. Wives are supposed to
submit to their husbands, and the people of the church are supposed to obey
and submit themselves to those in authority in the church. How does each
member of the church want to be treated by the pastor? Or better, how should
a pastor treat those that are supposed to submit to him? Well, he must treat
them as Christ Jesus treats the church; otherwise relational governorship is
not working. Should people in the church submit to a tyrant who is not
leading them in the ways of Christ? Should a woman submit to a tyrant who is
not leading her into the ways of Christ?

Why do we obey the Lord? We obey Jesus because we love Him. Where did we get
the love for Christ Jesus? He laid down His life for us - so that His love
may be poured into our hearts.
 
Daily Bread AUG/24/10
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Tuesday, 24 August 2010 13:24
Acts 2:22 - Men of Israel listen to these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man
accredited by God to you through power and wonders and signs - which God did
through Him in your midst - as you yourselves know.

God's divine testimony (or accreditation) of the ministry of Jesus comes by
way of the mighty deeds (or miracles, called 'dynameis' or 'dunameis') which
He did. This is the same power that the disciples were promised in Acts 1:8.
This power to do mighty deeds was given so that those who are in bondage to
sin, sickness, and poverty might go free. The power to do mighty deeds has
been made available to everyone who will believe. The promise was first made
to the general audience that John the Baptist addressed - when he first
spoke of the ministry of Jesus, and proclaimed that Jesus would be the one
that would baptize in the Holy Spirit and Fire (Luke 3:16; John 1:33; Acts
1:5; Acts 19:4). Jesus said these mighty deeds would follow those who
believe, as signs (Mark 16:17). These are the same mighty deeds manifested
in Steven's life in Acts 6:8; in Philip's ministry in Acts 8:13; and also in
Paul's ministry in Acts 19:11.

Today all one has to do is believe, and they will receive the authority to
be sons of God. The promise of being endued with the Holy Spirit and power
is just as fresh and certain today as it was when Jesus said: "If any man is
thirsty, let him come to me and drink. He that believes on me, as the
scriptures have said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water"
(John 7:37-39). The voice of God can still be heard right now saying,
"Nothing shall be impossible unto you" (Matthew 17:20).
 
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