SPEAKING LIKE JESUS SPOKE, EPHESIANS 411-16, ENJOY GOD 40

SPEAKING LIKE JESUS SPOKE: THE LANGUAGE OF LOVE

And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love (agape), may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love (Ephesians 4:11-16)

Childlike love language

TEACHER: Maria, go to the map and find North America. MARIA: Here it is. TEACHER: Correct. Now class, who discovered America? CLASS: Maria.

TEACHER: John, why are you doing your math multiplication on the floor? JOHN: You told me to do it without using tables.

TEACHER: Glenn, how do you spell “crocodile?” GLENN: “K-R-O-K-O-D-I-A-L” TEACHER: No, that’s wrong

GLENN: Maybe it’s wrong, but you asked me how I spell it.

 A CHILD FROM THE ONSET

John 1:1, 14. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

 Jesus relationship with the Father was from the beginning. Jesus, the Eternal God the Son, became flesh.  The secret to the sinless life of Jesus and to His miraculous ministry is bound up in His relationship to the Father. Even though He was God, Jesus drew His power from an intimate, child-like relation­ship with the Father in Heaven. The ability to hear what God is saying, to see what God is doing, and to move in the realm of the miraculous comes as an individual develops out of the same intimacy with and dependence upon the Father.

How did Jesus do what He did? The answer is found in His relationship with the Father.  How will we do the “greater works than these” which Jesus promised?  By developing the same relationship of intimacy, simplicity, and obedience.

Spiritual language enlarges the boundary of our praise and intercessionFor we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us… (Romans 8:26)

The Bible tells us in Romans 8:26-28 that we don’t know how or what to pray often.  This is offset with Holy Spirit knowing the mind of the Father, and Holy Spirit then enabling us to pray exactly the way we need to, regardless of our human limitations.  Holy Spirit also helps in our weaknesses, For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

THE MINISTRY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN PRAYER TODAY (Romans 8:26-27)

Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

 The Spirit helps us in our weakness (v. 26)

In these two verses we are told that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us.  The word is the same as in the passages where we are told that Jesus intercedes.  In Romans 8:26 the Greek has an added prefix which gives the indication of “on behalf of.”  On both occasions “intercede” is in the present tense, indicating continuance.  He intercedes with groans, and he intercedes in accordance with the will of God.

“Likewise” (v. 26) points to something in the preceding verses, which connects them with verses 26-27. Verses 19-25 deal with the hope which the believer has during times of suffering and difficulties that happen to everyone, For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. 23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. 24 For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance..

Just like the believer has hope during his sufferings, he has help from the Spirit in times of weakness.  As hope sustains us in our suffering, Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness.

Biblically, “weakness” generally is the stuff that characterizes the summation of fallen life, but here is the weakness of not knowing “what” to pray in a specific situation.  Prayer is supposed to cover and address  every aspect of our need.  Paul isn’t talking about our ignorance concerning the right type of prayer we need to pray in this verse. It is our ignorance concerning the proper content.

We simply do not always know what to pray as the pressure of life press in.  We do not know what to pray in every circumstance of life.  We always need help!  It is at the point of desperation on our part that the Spirit comes to help us.

This is illustrated by Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

At times, our specific needs/requests, though they may seem to be what should be prayed in the moment, may not necessarily be the measure of the wisdom, love and grace of God. We may make a request which is not God’s will, and because of this, God often denies our requests.

The groaning in Romans 8:26 is the groaning of Holy Spirit.  They are the concrete ways in which the intercession of the Spirit comes to expression.  These guttural sounds define the content of His intercession, as well as the intensity of His emotion. There are several different sources of groaning which are demonstrated in the New Testament.  In Romans 8 there are three groanings that Paul communicates to his readers.

1) CREATION: The first groan mentioned addresses the whole of creation (v. 22). Creation is groaning in its own frustration because of the fall of Adam.  According to verse 21, creation will be liberated from its “bondage of corruption (decay).”

2) BELIEVERS: The second groan comes from believers.  We live in the here but not yet.  We cry for the completion of that future day when we will always be with God. We who have the first fruits of the Spirit – the down payment – wait for the completion of adoption and redemption of our bodies (v.23).

3) THE HOLY SPIRIT: The third of the groans occurs in our prayer life through the Holy Spirit as he intercedes for us (v.26).

Let me also point out that each groan is accompanied with hope.  In the first, creation is liberated from its decay.  In the second, believers receive completeness.  Finally, in the third, the Holy Spirit intercedes because of our weakness.

The Spirit gives us a gracelet to pray

The Old Testament

There is no certain way of establishing whether the people of the Old Testament were granted by God with the gracelet of prayer language.  Prayer in the Spirit, is heartfelt communication toward God.  Let me give you a few examples where this idea is expressed.  Psalm 42:4 says, These things I remember as I pour out my soul… or, my whole being.  Psalm 62:8 says, …pour out your heart to him, and Lamentations 2:19 states, …pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord.

Hannah’s prayer in 1 Samuel 1:12 sounds a lot like “prayer in the Spirit.”  The text declares, As she kept on praying to the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk. . . I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the Lord. Sounds like Acts 2!

The New Testament

What is recorded here in Romans is no different from what Paul calls “praying in the Spirit” in 1 Corinthians.  Praying in the Spirit is one of the gracelets which Jesus gives to his children to express the inexpressible in a language given by the Spirit.

All of these benefits of spiritual language help us see in the Word why on the day the Church was born, the Lord gave everybody the gift of spiritual language.  It wasn’t to prove to them that Holy Spirit had come; as the love of God overflowing in their hearts accomplished that task.  Nor was it to demonstrate that the power of God had come.  Over each of their heads could be seen fire from Heaven that had come to energize.  I believe spiritual language was given not as a proof but as a resource they would need in order for the Church to be the Church.

I will never argue against the idea that tongues are an evidence of the baptism of the Spirit, because I think there is sufficient evidence for that.  It’s just not the only evidence.  The Lord did not give us spiritual language as a point of argument for the Church.  He gave it as a resource to capacitate the Church.  The Holy Spirit, who has come to dwell in us, wants to overflow every one of us and, in that overflow, to release His spiritual language.

Jesus and Praying in the Spirit

A subject which is not often spoken about is whether Jesus Himself prayed in the Spirit.  Certainly it is a debatable point and one that can get very heated, depending on who you are talking with.  There is no incident in the Gospels that can establish it with certainty, or dispel it equally as well.  There are however, places that support the possibility.  In Mark 7:34, we find Jesus in the midst of working a healing.  The text affirms that Jesus gave a “deep sigh,” and again at 8:12, “He sighed deeply.”  The word translated “sigh” is the same word as “groan” in Romans 8:22-23, 26.

The word was a technical term in the Hellenistic world for prayer that did not involve the mind, but was called forth by the Spirit.  Arnold Bittlinger notes, “The first reference is particularly interesting, for here the term ‘sighing’ (stenazein) is used, along with ephata (the word), when Jesus was healing someone.  According to Rudolph Bultmann, Ephatathis is an expression in a strange language which, according to numerous parallels in the Hellenistic world, was often used in connection with healing the sick or casting out demons (Bittlinger 1967, 49-50). Certainly, these are not conclusive arguments to establish certainty, but they are thoughts which will give our thinking some elasticity.

In verse 26 the Spirit is giving vicarious intercession for the saints.  Remember, “praying in the Spirit” is presupposed elsewhere in the New Testament (1 Cor. 14:13 Therefore let him who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret; Eph. 6:18, praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints; Jude 20, But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit).  This “praying in the Spirit” is the same as “praying in tongues.”  The gift of tongues in 1 Corinthians 14:7-12, 22, which had a place in public worship, is described here in terms of “groans which words cannot express.” In short, they are utterances in tongues.

It is the “Spirit himself” who is acting here. The utterances in tongues are the medium through which he cries on our behalf to God.  The Spirit does not free us from earthly things, but as our proxy, brings our needs to God in ways which we cannot express ourselves.

Romans affirms tongues with certainty and a positive interpretation.  Just as those who spoke in tongues at Corinth required an interpreter to make their utterances intelligible to men (1 Corinthians 14:13, 26), so to in Romans.  Those who sigh in prayer need the Spirit as an intercessor in order to make their utterances intelligible to God.

Stergein: (Storge) This means a natural affection, like that between members of a family, or even in the love of animals for their offspring. This kind of love binds any social unit together.

Father’s Love Defined

Philein (noun form philos) This phileō, spontaneous natural affection, with more feeling than reason, occurs some 25 times. It is the love between friends, the mutual attraction of similar interests and characteristics. It is the appreciation of the qualities of another person and can be understood as tender compassion. The Greeks valued friendship very highly, and philein  is the most commonly used word for ‘love’ in the classical writings.

Agapan (noun form agape): This means the highest form of love which sees something infinitely precious in its object. It is a love of esteem and of prizing for the values ascribed to the beloved. Agapē means to love the undeserving, despite disappointment and rejection; the difference between agapaō and phileō is difficult to sustain in all passages. Agapē is especially appropriate for religious love

Let me address how we experience the love of the Father.  We do it through His phileo love, not agape.  The phileo of the Father for the Son is described in John 5:20,  For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel.  The ministry of Jesus, His words and works apparently flowed out of  phileo love.  It was in the relational intimacy of tender compassion that Jesus sensed His Father’s presence and heard His voice, which let Him know what the Father was doing.

Father God expresses this same type of love for us.  John 16:27 says, for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God.  Our communication and connection with God is supposed to flow out of the same continual experience of our Father’s phileo for us.  Modern definitions of agape focuses on a truth about God that is almost untouchable or unknowable from a human standpoint through its elevated concept.  Phileo is important, as it focuses on God’s tender touch, which is missing in most believers lives.

Let me address how we experience the love of the Father.  We do it through His phileo love, not agape.  The phileo of the Father for the Son is described in John 5:20,  For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel.  The ministry of Jesus, His words and works apparently flowed out of  phileo love.  It was in the relational intimacy of tender compassion that Jesus sensed His Father’s presence and heard His voice, which let Him know what the Father was doing.

Father God expresses this same type of love for us.  John 16:27 says, for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God.  Our communication and connection with God is supposed to flow out of the same continual experience of our Father’s phileo for us.  Modern definitions of agape focuses on a truth about God that is almost untouchable or unknowable from a human standpoint through its elevated concept.  Phileo is important, as it focuses on God’s tender touch, which is missing in most believers lives.

Worship and praise are powerful tools of warfare that drive back darkness.  Praise drives darkness away, as true praise and worship is despised by the enemy.   There is power in our praise when it becomes an instrument in the hands of the Spirit to drive back the works of darkness. Praise is an instrument of warfare and intercession, and it is loathed by the Adversary.  It’s why we are supposed to sing in the Spirit.

 

 

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