By TIMOTHY L. MELTON, PASTOR
(Transcribed by Myra Colgate)
Cherokee Pentecostal Holiness Church
Read Ephesians 4: 8-32
From now on, we are on our journey to Heaven. On this journey we must compare ourselves only to Jesus, not to others around us, so we can say, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” He raises people up. It may not look like it yet, but we are on our way now, growing up in Him.
It helps to realize God doesn’t have an enemy anymore. Since Jesus came to this Earth, and by how He lived, what He suffered, even before the crucifixion, and afterwards, Jesus has already defeated satan. Jesus ‘whupped’ hell! In verses 8 and 9, “He ascended on high, He led captivity captive and gave gifts unto men.” Jesus, literally blessed us with the victory, leading them out as captives, so we get blessed, making us ‘more than conquerors.’ (If a boxer was chosen to fight in a million dollar match, he might win the match, but him taking the money home with him, makes his wife and family ‘more than conquerors.’ This is like what Jesus did for us.)
In verse 11, the ‘gifts’ are those people who have been placed around us who would be considered as apostles, pastors, prophets, evangelists and teachers, whom Jesus has called and directed to serve others, operating as such, within His Body, the Church. They are assigned this calling by Him for the perfecting of saints.
The spirits of the saints are made perfect at the time of salvation, by God. However, the souls of each person; their minds, wills and emotions, are now in a process of growth. Their bodies are a part of the process. Through their heeding, learning and training, they are both to come into a self-control and obedience.
The Agent-in-Charge of this much-desired, fully-cooperating, soul-changing adventure, is God, The Holy Spirit. He now resides within each new believer, at their own choice, and accompanies them in the central core of each believer. The soul’s, ‘renewing of the mind,’ salvation, as well as the originally desired body exchange, will all be fully complete at the ‘set’ time, known only by God, Our Father.
Sometimes, Holy Spirit’s leading of us will be, by our hearing His voice, but mostly, we can follow His leading by a wonderful sensing of a Peace that settles on us as we receive an answer we have asked of Him. Or, He uses, by our sensing of something else, by a nervous reaction or an unease, a gentle jab, when He knows an immediate response is necessary. We need to ask Him to show us what’s wrong or needs to be dealt with differently. His voice will at times be audible to us, or He can use a ‘still, small voice’, or a knowing felt within our core region. Many have called Him the ‘Lower Knower’ within us, as detectives or soldiers know and call this, a ‘gut’ feeling. Saved or not, ignore such a sign at your peril.
Many people feel their brain is washed clean. Let God work on you. Even Scripture calls this a ‘washing with the Word.’ Yes, the Holy Spirit desires to change the way we think, but it’s for our good… After all, it’s takes time to stop cussing, swearing, or using bad words coming out of our mouths. It is a process to make kinder, gentler choices of words which encourage, giving better thinking and actions.
As a Pastor, I am not a thief or a reveler or anything, but God’s still working on me. As long as we remain on Earth, He is still going to be working on all of us. After all, we are in the process of going from death to life, or from being broken to being mended while we are here. We need the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers to do the work of the ministry. The process teaches each person how to do the work of the ministry, and needs everyone in the whole church working together. Pastors have more responsibility in this process, so we can all come into unity together. Become a family not only a social club. God is at work on us because we are not here just to get saved, the race has only just begun. Maturing, studying, we are to be helping each other. Everyone has a calling, especially when the devil comes to interfere with or destroy a life. We do have an enemy.
We have begun an amazing journey. Wherever we are, our journey is not over.