What was God’s purpose for Jesus after He died on the cross and rose from the dead? Ephesians 1:20 tells us how and where God placed Jesus, “that (the resurrection power of God) raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. The next verses God tells us of Jesus’ ultimate authority, “21 Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come.” Lastly in verses 22-23 God tells us why He placed Jesus there, “God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. 23 And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.”
It is important for us to know that Jesus’ work on the cross finished the issue of salvation and forgiveness, but not His work in the world now and in the future. God has a plan for all time that He reveals in the Bible. He refers to all believers here as the church, elsewhere the Bride of Christ. They are a body of believers that are filled with His Spirit, the Spirit that fills all things.
Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, we are connected with Him and to all other believers. We are all part of His body, the church. Using the analogy of a body for all believers shows were are connected, able to work together, have many parts and each have a unique job to accomplish for Him. So… how are you working within His body, the church, to accomplish what He has set out for you to do for Him? Are you cooperative with fellow believers? Do you work for His glory and not your own? Believers are not perfect, but sinners forgiven, and we need to be filled with His grace, mercy and love as we strive to work with others for the cause of Christ. Remember Christ said in John 13:34-35 “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. 35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
Spend some time in prayer today contemplating your place, work and spirit of cooperation within your local church. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you where you are doing well and where you need His help to do better. He is faithful and will show you.
As Paul begins his first letter to the Corinthian church, he introduces himself and then proceeds to tell them why he is thankful for them and their faithful witness for Jesus. Walk with me through 1 Corinthians 1:4-9 and put yourself in the place of a receiving Corinthian believer and see what Paul is saying to you too.
“I always thank my God for you and for the gracious gifts he has given you, now that you belong to Christ Jesus. Have you thought about the gifts God has given you in Christ? Who would give thanks for your serving them with your gifts of encouragement, love, peacemaking, hope, and joy? 5 Through him, God has enriched your church in every way—with all of your eloquent words and all of your knowledge. Okay, how active are you in your church? Do you go there with the intent of serving the body of Christ? 6 This confirms that what I told you about Christ is true. 7 Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. Knowing you have faith and gifts from God, are you serving with anticipation of His return? 8 He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns. 9 God will do this, for he is faithful to do what he says, and he has invited you into partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” Through faith in Jesus we have all we will need to keep a steady course and await His return, are you living like He could come today? Are you doing things (praying, studying, worshiping) to keep you strong in your faith?
I thank God for Paul’s ministry, sacrifice and love for others that spills over to me generations later. He was committed and totally living in anticipation of Christ’s return. He wanted to encourage others to follow Christ completely knowing that Jesus equips every believer to complete the tasks He has prepared for their lives. How are you doing in giving thanks for your fellow Christians that serve alongside you at your church, workplace, or neighborhood ? Are you using your God given gifts to support the body of Christ and live a life filled with thanksgiving and praise?
May this November be a time of renewal and praise for you as you consider Christ and all He has done and given you to keep you strong for Him. May it overflow to others daily as you give thanks and serve Him.