Learning to Live out of the Heavenlies
Several years ago, while in East Africa, along the border of Kenya and Uganda, I learned some powerful lessons relating to “Ephesians Truth.” They were lessons for today! I shared them before but feel to share them again, and include some of what I’m learning today as they reach for this hour.
I was going to the border of Kenya, intending to enter Uganda for some teaching sessions with Pastors. Many of them were living under trying circumstances. They had survived Idi Amin’s tyranny along with an ongoing civil war. Thus, they were prepared for learning the ways of God’s Kingdom. As many as five armies fought there, gaining their support by looting villages. Large numbers of their own people had been killed in one generation. They were in economic shambles; a condition that continues to this day and may soon evolve worldwide. The fallow ground of many souls had been broken up. They were ready to hear the Word of the Kingdom.
Two days before I was to enter Uganda, fighting broke out along the border between Kenya and Uganda. Of course, I was not allowed to cross over. It was a foolish war. No one knew why it started or who was to benefit from it. It spread into every region where I had meetings scheduled. The brethren with whom I remained said Satan had caused it for fear of my teaching about Christ’s Kingdom.
During that time the Lord said to me, “I want you to learn to live out of the resources of My Kingdom. If you walk in union with me, all you need for your life will flow from My Throne. Teach these people the same is true for them.” He showed me that He would supply wisdom and knowledge. He would add strength and supply all needs for shelter, food, clothing, and transportation. I began finding it so.
For weeks I walked in this. I traveled, ate, slept and lived with the African people. I walked miles with them, or rode in their public transportation. Continually I was aware of being in Christ. I never grew weary and found an unusual anointing to minister the Word. There were no inconveniences—only opportunities to experience His enabling grace and share His love.
By faith, I sent word to a Ugandan Pastor to meet me on December 26 at a border crossing about 25 km. from where I had tried to cross over before. That very day the border conflict ceased. But, the situation remained tense right up to the hour. None of the Kenyan brethren could enter with me. They prayed with me and we dealt with the principalities that ruled along the border. We told them they could not interfere with my mission in the next days since I was moving under the authority and covering of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but I later learned I was the first civilian to cross the international border as it reopened. As I walked across the no-man’s land stretching out between the two countries, there was a stench like the smell of dead bodies. The kiosks (little shops) and stalls were deserted. It was a very desolate location.
As I approached the border on the other side, the Pastor who was scheduled to meet me was right there on time. He said, “It is a miracle to see you!” Shortly before I arrived, two other missionaries had been denied admittance. There was one problem, however. The immigration official would not allow me through unless I paid 150 US dollars. I was not prepared for that. I did not even have one US dollar. I had purposely left any American funds with some friends back in Nairobi. By no means was it safe to travel with valuables in that area. So, the Pastor there to meet me went back to the official to tell him my situation. As he walked away from me, I spoke againto the principality who ruled that area. I told him to keep back with his interference.
Within a few minutes the Pastor came walking back, smiling. He said, “This is a double miracle. They have waived the $150 deposit requirement for you! You may enter.”
Oh, what it meant to have learned what Paul wrote in Ephesians! It was information for that day along the Ugandan border, as well as for days to come. It is information for us today. Ephesians Truth is light for the dark hour. It is revelation for the time of deception already upon much of the Church. It is understanding to go with us into the time of trouble of which both David and Daniel told us, and about which the Lord Jesus instructed us!
We might not know when we will need their instruction. It might be at any time. But now is the time for learning. Now is when God is making us ready for the evil day (Eph 6:13).
There were no vehicles at the border, but after walking about a kilometer, we found an old Peugeot station wagon waiting for its full load to make the eighty km. ride to a town about ten km. from the seminar site. We were happy when the driver finally showed up and took right off, to a bar where he bought a case of beer. All the way, he alternately pressed on the gas to gain speed, then turned off the ignition to coast and conserve fuel—so he thought.
Late in the afternoon we arrived where about a hundred Pastors and workers had gathered for a week of teaching. I had met with the same ones the year before when I taught them “The Secrets of God’s Kingdom as Revealed in Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians.” How open they were to that Word! As soon as I arrived, different ones came telling how what I taught before had been working for them.
Having learned the principle of repetition is beneficial in teaching, I felt to teach the same things again. Only I added more of what the Lord was continued teaching me. They received the Word with enthusiasm. Meetings went on until about midnight, with two paraffin lanterns, and no desire to quit. We used the following general outline.
I. The Secret of the POWER of God’s Kingdom lies in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. No other kingdom has this secret. It holds the power of an endless life—(Heb 7:16). •The most straightforward understanding of this comes from Eph 1:15—Eph 2:6.
II. The Secret of the RIGHTEOUSNESS of God’s Kingdom lies in the new man in Christ. This means Christ lives in us and through us. Only He can live up to the standards of God’s Kingdom. No other kingdom or government has a system of rightness like this. All other systems must be guided by outward regulations. •The key to this understanding comes in Eph 4:20-24.
III. The Secret of the AUTHORITY of God’s Kingdom is that it is a spiritual authority. This authority finds its release through us as we deal with principalities and powers who oppose Christ and His Kingdom. •The clearest expression for us in withstanding them is in Eph 6:10-13.
The seminar was in a small mud building with a grass roof and dirt floor. God’s Spirit met with us there. Truth and understanding flowed. But, after two days I faced one of the greatest trials I ever faced. It’s too much to tell now of all the Lord continued teaching me through that time of testing. I tell of it in Part II of The Ephesians Truth Series that is soon to be coming to those who request it.
For now, let me share a little more of what we taught in those meetings. I say “we,” for I worked with some good men who were my interpreters. Even to this day I miss those men.
Together we saw how our movement toward Ephesians Truth begins in the first eight chapters of Romans. Then, Eph 1 takes up where Rom 8 leaves off. In both Epistles Paul made use of what I’ve called his “with” words. They tell what we share “together with” the Lord Jesus, and what He shares with us. They don’t come to light in every translation of Scripture, but they appear clearly in the Greek New Testament. Seeing them there, I can point them out for you.
The words generally begin with the Greek prefix sun (sun, pronounced “soon”). This is a Preposition meaning “together with.” Paul put this word together with about twelve other significant words. All of them point to what we share “together with” the Lord Jesus Christ.
Before looking at these words, it will help if we better understand what the word sun (sun) means. To illustrate its meaning, let us compare it with three other Greek Prepositions having similar meaning: para (para), proV (pros) and meta (meta).
Let’s take para first. Draw one line on a piece of paper, then another line straight beside it. There you have one line with another line. They are parallel one with the other.
Take pros next. Draw one line with a bump on it, like a “P.” Then, draw another line with the bump facing the first one. With this you have two lines, one with the other, face to face.
Next, take meta. To illustrate this, draw one line with another one wrapped around it like a vine. Thus, you have one with the other, wrapped together.
With each of these words you see two lines.
But, to consider sun, draw one line on a paper. Then right over it, in the same place, draw another line. There you have one line with another one. There are two, but you see only one because they are together in the same place. Thus, as we discover Paul’s “together with” words, we discover his way of telling about our identification together with Christ Jesus.
The Scriptures where the “together with” words occur had filled my study and meditation for days. I didn’t lay out before the Pastors everything the Lord was showing me, but much of it came through. It couldn’t help but come through. The days I had dwelt in the Word was bringing its Life out in me. To this present day, my longing for God’s Word continues, greater than ever. Daily the longing leads me into a greater spiritual realization in Christ.
Following are the basics of what I was seeing back then with regard to our “togetherness” with Christ.
1. Our first point of identification with Him was in His death. •We were crucified together with Him. Powerfully and wonderfully, before Jesus went to the cross, He identified with us in our sin. For us, He became The Sin. Consider these two powerful statements: First from Isa 53:12—He was numbered with the transgressors; and He bare the sin of many. Paul emphasized this prophetic insight when he said, For He hath made Him Who knew no sin to be sin for us; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (II Cor 5:21)
We go on to see Rom 6:6. Knowing this, that our old man is crucified (together) with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. The above underlined words are from the Greek sunestaurwqh. Take note of sun and remember, it means, “together with another in the same place.” The rest of the word means, “was crucified.” Our old man was crucified together with Him.
How can we know this? We know it simply because the Bible says it is so. I took a stand in those days of walking those African roads to be an utterly believing believer. I let go of feeling, logic and argument so my heart could receive the Word.
We see two more “together with” words in Rom 6:8. Paul said, ...if we be dead (together) with Christ, we believe that we shall also live (together) with Him. To see how he used the little word meaning “together with,” see this verse as it appears in the Greek. Don’t worry that you can’t read it. Just take note of the little word sun (sun). One letter is clipped in the second word. Ei de apeqanomen sun cristw (For if we died together with Christ), pisteuomen oti kai suzhsomen autw—(we believe we shall also live together with Him).
The words translated we died together with are from a Greek Verb in its Aorist Tense. This is a way of telling that the work is done, finished, over. No one can change it. It’s completed. Paul spelled the word like this to set forth a statement of fact with no effort to explain what he meant. He simply expected us to know “we were crucified together with Christ.” If we are willing to accept this as God’s Word to us, its “energy” can begin working in us.
Jump down a few verses to Rom 6:10. For in that He (that is, Christ) died, He died unto sin once: but in that He liveth, He liveth unto God. 11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. The key to this becoming real in our lives is in the word reckon. It means “put it down to your account.”
This Word begins taking hold in us when we are willing to know it. Then, our identification with Christ in His death can work its way on into us. We can begin receiving power to walk in it day in and day out, no matter what tries to rise within us contrary to it. We learn to perpetually reckon it to be so.
It comes down to a matter of our willingness to put God’s Word above anything that speaks contrary to it. This calls for strong commitment on our part. It calls unto our will. It asks me—and you—to make a statement: “When Christ died, I died.”
Paul came to this place. He said, I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me—Gal 2:20a. The word from which I am crucified with comes is sunestaurwmai ( sunestaúromai). Look close and you will see the little word sun attached to the beginning of the Greek word that means, “I was crucified.” Putting the two of them together means “I was crucified together with.” The fact is, this word appears in the Greek as a Perfect Passive form. Most clearly, this means “I have been crucified together with.” The action took place with a result that remains.
Paul knew this. We can know it too!
It all begins by knowing it. It comes on into us as we are willing “to put it down to our account” in a simple and straightforward manner, not trying to explain it, but just to know it. And then, it works its way into our living, energized in us by the power of the Holy Spirit.
In I Thes 2:13 Paul says something that reminds us of the energetic power of God’s Word. See this and meditate upon it: For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the Word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the Word of God, which effectually worketh (from energéo) also in you that believe.
See this verse in the New International reader’s Version: We never stop thanking God for the way you received His Word. You heard it from us. But you didn’t accept it as a human word. You accepted it for what it really is. It is God’s Word. It is at work in you who believe. The last part of this verse tells how Paul held regard for God’s Word. It holds within it an energetic force that empowers it to work effectually in the lives of those who will receive it.
We could go on with more of those “together with” words. We’ve covered them before. We could go on and on discovering the height and depth, and breadth and length, of every verse in every passage where they occur. The glory of what Christ Jesus is bringing to pass in our behalf is, I believe, greater than we could ever discover, or make known, in a few lines written on a piece of paper.
To fathom the depth of the work Jesus accomplished on our behalf—for us and together with us—is far beyond this poor writers ability. The work of Jesus takes us into eternity and continues on there with a development of the grace and glory that’s only just begun in us in this age.
I would like to go on with you into all the “together with” words, but we can’t do that here. For now, I just inform you there is unimaginably more that Jesus accomplished for us—and with us.
God is waiting to bring us back toward knowing what He once offered our Parents in the Garden. They chose to do things the serpent’s way. That choice of theirs has infected us. But what Jesus did in the redemption has opened the way—oh, what a way it is!—for us to know what they lost, and even more. Yes, even more, much more. Whatever we might come to know today, though contested by the enemy, leaves room for all we need to know for tomorrow, and the next, and the next day, and on.
This is just the beginning. Next we will see more of those powerful and unusual words Paul used to tell of our identification with Christ. This series of articles is going to run along with the series of booklets we’re putting out on Ephesians Truth. We’re putting the final touches on the first book so help us pray it on through. We will only send them to those who request them so make sure you’re on the list ro receive yours. This information is vital for the days that are moving in upon us, taking us on closer to the Day of the Lord. The hour is late and the message is so very important for what awaits us.
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