by Mike Ratliff
7 οὗ ἐγενήθην διάκονος κατὰ τὴν δωρεὰν τῆς χάριτος τοῦ θεοῦ τῆς δοθείσης μοι κατὰ τὴν ἐνέργειαν τῆς δυνάμεως αὐτοῦ.
8 Ἐμοὶ τῷ ἐλαχιστοτέρῳ πάντων ἁγίων ἐδόθη ἡ χάρις αὕτη, τοῖς ἔθνεσιν εὐαγγελίσασθαι τὸ ἀνεξιχνίαστον πλοῦτος τοῦ Χριστοῦ 9 καὶ φωτίσαι [πάντας] τίς ἡ οἰκονομία τοῦ μυστηρίου τοῦ ἀποκεκρυμμένου ἀπὸ τῶν αἰώνων ἐν τῷ θεῷ τῷ τὰ πάντα κτίσαντι, 10 ἵνα γνωρισθῇ νῦν ταῖς ἀρχαῖς καὶ ταῖς ἐξουσίαις ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις διὰ τῆς ἐκκλησίας ἡ πολυποίκιλος σοφία τοῦ θεοῦ, 11 κατὰ πρόθεσιν τῶν αἰώνων ἣν ἐποίησεν ἐν τῷ Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ τῷ κυρίῳ ἡμῶν, 12 ἐν ᾧ ἔχομεν τὴν παρρησίαν καὶ προσαγωγὴν ἐν πεποιθήσει διὰ τῆς πίστεως αὐτοῦ. 13 διὸ αἰτοῦμαι μὴ ἐγκακεῖν ἐν ταῖς θλίψεσίν μου ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν, ἥτις ἐστὶν δόξα ὑμῶν. Ephesians 3:7-13 (NA28)
7 Of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God having been given to me according to the working of his power.
8 To me, the least of all the saints, this grace was given to the gentiles to preach the unsearchable wealth of Christ 9 and to enlighten all men as to what is the stewardship of the mystery hidden from the ages in God, the one who created all things 10 that it might be made known now to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenlies through the Church the many faceted wisdom of God 11 according to the plan of the ages, which he made in Christ Jesus our Lord 12 in whom we have boldness and access in confidence through faith in him. 13 Therefore, I ask you not to despair concerning my afflictions for you, which is for your glory. Ephesians 3:7-13 (translated from the NA28 Greek text)
If you have been reading our last several posts then you know that God has had me focusing quite a bit on humility contrasted with pride. Pride in Christians is never right. However, if we are honest, we must all agree that that there is a growing disrespect for God in today’s various teachings on prayer along with current expressions in contemporary worship. My brethren, these things are products of pride! While boldness does mean that those who are truly in Christ need not have any inhibitions as they come before God, they must still never forget that God is God. To treat God as if he is a “buddy,” to bring him down to our level in any way, is truly blasphemous. It is insolence in action to do any other than respect and worship God as he deserves. He is not our “buddy” or “pal,” but our heavenly Father and our God. What does it mean to come before him in boldness while not being insolent?
In the passage I placed at the top of this post, the word “boldness” in v12 translates the noun παρρησίαν (parrēsian) , “boldness, confidence, openness.” Παρρησίαν is the accusative, singular of παρρησία (parrēsia). The structure of this noun tells us that we can come before our Father with total freedom of speech, pour out our hearts, and tell him everything. This is indeed a blessed privilege. We are able to do this because of the finished work of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 4:14-16; 10:19). Now, because of the blood of Christ, we can come directly to God and speak openly to him at any time.
What would be an example of insolence in prayer? I heard a television preacher one time actually demand that God answer some outlandish prayer about fulfilling some of his so-called “prophecies” he had made. I always think of him when I study this. Other examples are the “Name it/Claim It,” “Word of Faith” people who are little more than side-show carnival showmen trying to get people’s money by promising much for their “power in prayer.” I would hate to be them when it comes time for the judgment.
Let us come before God open, candidly, and without fear but also in reverence, respect, and worship.
Soli Deo Gloria!
As a yielded vessel, i am no longer desperate for what to say. I pray to be STRONG IN HIM, and i have to trust that HE IS ANSWERING MY PRAYER. Praying in HIS will , listening to the Spirit as you pray. Religion has taught us to pray for what we desire. He may have a completely different plan. The prayer in Matthew that Our Master taught provides us the pattern that we should follow. As far as the prosperity message, the Master did not have a place to put HIS head, is the servant above the Master? You are so right; i would hate to be some of the big time religious leaders when they meet the Master. But i also believe HIS promise in Phil. That HE WILL MEET OUR NEEDS. THE NEEDS MAY BE PHSICAL, EMOTIONAL OR SPIRITTUAL. HE WILL MEET ALL THOSE NEEDS IF WE LET GO AND TRUST HIM. WE ARE SO USE TO BEING IN CHARGE; HE IS TRAINING US TO LET GO AND ALLOW HIM TO LEAD AND BE IN HIS WILL. FOR SOME OF THE JOURNEY WE WALK WITH A FOOT ON TWO RAILS AND THEN GRADUALLY, WE WILL WALK THE NARROW PATH.
I will give you another example of insolence in prayer that I recently heard from the lips of Paula White on the Jim Bakker show – not that I watch that ridiculous program. I came across it on YouTube and listened for a bit out of curiosity. I was quite stunned at her ignorance and arrogance. She is a woman of many (false) words. She stated that it is illegal for God to do anything upon the earth without someone giving him permission to act. Therefore, she described how she prayed to God, imitating the way she spoke it, yelling loudly, and said, “God, you are in need of me.” Wow, does she think way too highly of herself or what?! Has she not read that she is but dust or as a grasshopper? Her theology doesn’t originate from the Bible I read. A God that is in need of a human depraved sinner is not all powerful and worthy of worship. And God is in complete control of His universe, doing as He pleases. She must have skipped over those verses, too, since they don’t fit her pride. And, of course, she was on the program promoting her new book (and her husband, Jonathan Cain, was promoting his new CD). Talk about a carnival side show, the entire lot of them.
Such people who speak and teach lies against God still have breath. It just goes to prove, God is indeed long-suffering. But their escape from judgment is only temporary.
There is something in scripture to cover every request we have. If we have the Sword of the WORD in our minds and mouths. Mike mentioned Rom. 13 in the beginning of his last teaching. WHO puts those in authority over us? The big sin in this time is REBELLION. It is all over the place. Our president is in office because Elohim is sovereign and knew who would be good for this country and times. There is so much wrong going on but WHO is in charge and knows what is happening. I see people watching the evil of the media and allowing it to penetrate their minds. Sadly, we are not capable of pulling ourselves out of the pit. We are at a place that dependency must be on HIM.
I wonder what it would be like to follow the Word as king hezekiah did?