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ZADOK PUBLICATIONS MONTHLY NEWSLETTER

March 1, 2005

A Study In Ephesians

A few weeks back, a fellow from Louisville (Jim L.) called and discussed various things that had been helpful in his spiritual walk. One item which the Spirit quickened was concerning the matter of intercession. He said that many years ago an intercessor of great import talked candidly with him and left him with this wisdom,

"I never go into intercessory prayer every day, but let time pass between sessions with the Lord.

"I also never enter that time without first reciting out loud, the entire book of Ephesians. It is very necessary to let the world know your place in Christ and serve them notice that, based on that foundation, you are about to enter the priestly duty of intercessory prayer. By serving such notice, you declare that all things which are subject to Jesus are also subject to you."
Fascinating as it was to hear these truths, they wonderfully combined with a teaching from a lady who has interceded with power for over fifty years, Sister Rachael T., who said that in order to intercede it was necessary

"to worship until one entered the secret place where all earthly considerations faded and nothing remained but you and Him."
Given these premises, it is important to consider Ephesians, then, as the base of intercession and spiritual assertion in binding and loosing. (Any study of the sealing power of the Holy Spirit must inculcate this book as well.)

Some Basic Considerations:

Intercession is the work of the sealed. Twice in this epistle, Paul focuses upon the fact that there is no fellowship, no power, no understanding, yeah, no salvation without the sealing. Regardless of emphasis in many Pentecostal circles upon the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the speaking in tongues, it is the sealing that makes the saint!

The weight of this book is upon two postulates: the Messiah's work through the believer (in relationship to Him) and the work of the Spirit operating within the sealed life.

Observe the various Bible translations of Ephesians 1:13 and it will soon become evident that the sequence leads to the sealing and the sealing leads to power.

Eph 1:11-14
In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. 13 In Him you also, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory. NKJV
Again in Ephesians 4:30
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. NKJV
Being sealed in Him creates the bond of unity Paul likened to that which is found in marriage (Note 5:25-33) [Perhaps this is the reason so much focus is upon destroying marriage unity in the world today].

On the unity of the "seal" rests the foundation for all intercession, as He joins His Bride in praying the will of the Father.

Chapter One:

Beginning in verse three, the sealed life is explored (vs3-12). The God, who is the Father of Jesus (Careful delineation of who one means when reference is made to God is very necessary today, just as it was in Paul's day when many deities carried the name god.), works in us just as He does in Jesus.

As Jesus was chosen before the foundation of the world and predestined to bring about redemption, so the believer stands on the same ground. (Jesus knew who He was and what His purpose was on the earth. So the sealed believers stand on the holy ground of knowing who they are in Him and what their purpose is on earth.)

"According to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will," clearly defines the direction of all intercession.

Paul's own prayer followed these guidelines (v. 17-23)

  1. That THE GOD may give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation IN the knowledge of Him. (The spirit of wisdom and revelation is only given through knowing Him.)

  2. Eyes of understanding opened in order to know what Jesus has in the sealed ones. It is the believer who is the hope of Jesus' calling. His inheritance is the sealed ones (saints)!

  3. His power is the sealed ones' power (v. 19). His Father put all things under His feet and gave Him to be head over all. To the church, which is His body, the Father gave the fullness of Him (who fills all in all things).
"Far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come (v.21)." (Everything has a name.)
Paul expanded his teaching of the work of the Father in the sealed ones in the next chapter.

Chapter Two:

Paul prayed for the manifestation of certain elements given by the Father.
  • That the sealed ones would realize they were made alive with Jesus in His resurrection v. 5. (This is why he detailed, in the chapters which follow, the futility of returning to religion or sin or dead works.)

  • That the sealed ones understand that The God has made them to sit together in the heavenly places with the Messiah. (Paul pointed to the "ages to come" [a set sealed time frame], when the Father will bring to culmination the plan He prepared before the world was made, v. 9)
In the "model prayer of Jesus," after hallowing His Father's Name, He called for "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth just as it is in heaven." Jesus wanted his disciples' prayer to match His.

Paul (following the epistles chronology) answered the modern dilemma of the Jews vs. the Gentile church. Verses 11-22 is the clearest doctrine found on the subject. The church is not spiritual Israel, and Israel is not a separate entity apart from the Messiah. Verse 18 states:
"For through Jesus we both have access by one Spirit to the Father."
Being fellows citizens with the saints and members of the household of God is not a secondary position. Flowing from the prophets and through the apostles and through every living stone sealed before the foundation of the world, with Jesus as the chief cornerstone, His habitation grows through time to spiritual completion. Herein is the mystery of the Messiah.

Chapter Three:

Paul's revelation was to declare the "fellowship of the mystery (v. 9)." This fellowship of sealed ones (the true church) is given the task of bringing the plan of God to completion.

The root of all intercession is this goal.

The intent of The God for the sealed ones was through their fellowship, with boldness and having access through faith in Jesus, to make known " His manifold (variegated, many faceted) wisdom" to the "principalities and powers in the heavenly places."

Being known in the heavenlies is a far cry from being famous on earth. Carrying status among principalities and powers is more to be desired that pulpit prowess and media glitz.

Paul said, "For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus, the Messiah (v. 14)."

At this point, the apostle to the Gentiles' intercession for the Ephesians followed these lines: He prayed:
  1. That they be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man (The inner core of all sealed ones is similar in this aspect.).

  2. That the Messiah would dwell in their hearts through faith, rooted/grounded in love. (v. 17)

  3. That they comprehend along with all the sealed ones: the width, length depth and heighth of the love in the Messiah.

  4. That they be filled with all the fullness of the Father.
All these desires of Paul were to be facilitated by the "power that works in us." He linked himself to the Ephesians and all sealed ones. (Millions know nothing of this power; they pray prayers without it and live their lives apart from it. This ought not so to be!)

Chapter Four:

(Couple this chapter with chapter 5 and down to chapter 6 verse 10.)

Chapter four gives direction to intercession while holding forth the pure and holy life needed to sustain it

. The "unity of the faith" is paramount to the intercessor's life. A paraphrase could be "maintaining the unity of the sealed ones in faith." Intercessors will ultimately seek this fellowship. Prayer will be made for the lost that they might enter the "unity of faith." Prayer will be made for all problems facing the saints so as to maintain that unity. Prayer will attack principalities and powers in behalf of the unity of the faith. Prayer will surround the sick, the wayward and the weak--as well as supporting the fit, the strong and the powerful in the unity of the faith. Intercession will minister to the body of Christ by edification (building the sealed ones up) so that in the unity of the faith, the perfect man may rise to the fullness of the Messiah.

The intercessor must keep him or her (self) from touching the old life and must be renewed in the spirit of his or her mind (v. 23). He or she must not grieve the Spirit of his or her sealing.

Paul lists some of the things that grieve the Spirit. (Eph 5: 26-Eph. 6:9).

  1. The list includes lying, anger, giving place to the devil, stealing and corrupt communication.

  2. Add to this list, bitterness, wrath, clamor, evil speaking and malice.

  3. Add more to the list, fornication, uncleanness, covetousness, filthiness, foolish talking, coarse jesting, empty words, having fellowship with unfruitful works of darkness, excessive use of wine, eye service and men pleasing.
Paul emphasized some spiritual traits that accompany the sealed one's path.
  1. Righteousness and Holiness are absolute ingredients for the sealed life.

  2. Forgiveness on the level of the Messiah is another.

  3. Walking as children of light, because the Messiah gives light, is their task.

  4. Understanding the will of God (which is foundational to any intercession. Intercessors always ask Him how to pray His will regarding any issue.).

  5. Being filled up with the Spirit, which ushers in correctness and exactness: The correct psalm, the perfect hymn, the most powerful spiritual songs. (It would seem that "worship teams" would occupy themselves with these pursuits.)

  6. To "Submit to one another in the fear of God." This passage is connected to Paul's teaching about husbands, wives, children, fathers and servants.
This passage has nothing to do with church authority. It does speak to the profound need for the church to be humble, always seeking the building up of the saints, and to be submissive to the exact will of God.

Chapter 6:10 ff The Task of the Intercessor:

After all this preparation, Paul addressed the task of the intercessor, which was to be "strong in the power of HIS might." The sealed saint is to put on the armor of the Father (fully knowing this is the armor Jesus wore as well).

THEN, he will be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. He will be able to wrestle with principalities and powers, rulers of the darkness of this age, spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places. (Note: the word "hosts" in the NKJV, which is interposed by the translators, actually relates to places and persons who harbor and act as "hosts" to evil.)

Ephesians 6:12:
"For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against persons without bodies--the evil rulers of the unseen world, those mighty satanic beings and great evil princes of darkness who rule this world; and against huge numbers of wicked spirits in the spirit world. (Living Bible)"
The "evil" day is now upon us but few take these passages serious. The intercessors do.

The intercessors work:

  1. Praying always with all prayer (worship) and supplication in the Spirit. Binding oneself in petitionary prayer is serious business.

  2. Being watchful in the matter of perseverance and supplication for ALL. THE SEALED ONES (the saints). Watchful (vigilant), but seeing with spiritual eyes--the disciples were told to "watch and pray." Luke 21:36

    "Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man." NKJV
  3. Paul requests prayer for himself and universally for all who follow:
    "That I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel…that I may speak boldly as I ought to speak."
Summary:

Having reviewed Ephesians through the eyes of an intercessor, it would be derelict not to close with these thoughts.

First, God can call for intercession to be made at any moment; therefore, it is necessary to constantly be aware of His leading. There may appear an image, face, place or situation before the sealed one which demands prayer. Bro. Halverson testified of seeing a truck (the kind used for transporting furniture) before him. He could see the truck maintaining speed along an interstate highway. He prayed for that truck and driver without knowing any other detail. Months later, he traveled to a distant city and met a couple who gave testimony they had been miraculously spared a terrible truck accident along an interstate as they were moving their home goods to another city. Brother Halverson reportedly came to them and gave them a description of the truck even down to the license plate, told them the day when the Lord finally lifted the burden to pray (which was the day they arrived at their destination). Intercession is a wonderful occupation.

Second, there is a joy in praying through the Holy Ghost, letting Him direct the prayer by bringing to the front various and sundry items. Personal testimony lends this illustration: The Lord directed to intercede for a particular city which was experiencing many problems. He directed me to move there and establish residence. This required a move across the state and changing residence where I had lived for over twenty years. This would be a move to a city where we knew no one. Before the move, he took me in the Spirit to that city, an out of body experience in which I could see the darkness, the despair and inside places of government where intrigue was taking place. The Lord showed me His desire to have light and joy flood that area, which was dominated by spiritual darkness. I knew that my mission was to defeat principalities and powers in the heavenlies.

While carrying this out, many times He would stop me to pray for specific matters. I remember praying that those who had stolen and were stealing from that city be discovered. Over thirty people were so discovered in one year and fired. He directed prayer sometimes in tongues; therefore, I would not know the import of the prayer. Many times after moving there, I would be instructed to go and do certain things, see certain people, or simply walk in certain areas. There is joy in doing the will of the Father even without knowing any of the particulars. I can say this: just last week an article on that city was published. It gave the statistics of growth and some changes in its economic aspects. The article concluded with this statement, "Whereas in 1997 (we moved there in 1996), the city was 2.6 billion in arrears, currently they are experiencing a surplus of 5.8 billion." It is wonderful to do the work of an intercessor!




Until Next month,


Dr. Cosby R. Oliver, PhD.







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