Vol. 14 No. 32
Ephesians 1:15-17, “15For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints, 16do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers; 17that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.”
Principles of Prayer Related to Our Royal Priesthood
- Prayer is that function of the Royal Priesthood, 1 Peter 2:9; Rev 1:6, 20:5, whereby the Church Age believer has access and privilege to present two categories of requests to God the Father, “Petitions prayers” for yourself, and “Intercessory prayers” prayers for others. Prayer is communication with God the Father for the expression of personal needs in petition and the function of intercession for others. One of our great priestly functions is prayer, and when you pray for others you actually enter into and participate in their ministry.
- Two persons of the Trinity are involved in prayer for us: Jesus Christ in hypostatic union, in His human nature, remembers us and prays for us as our High Priest who makes intercession for us at the right hand of the Father, Heb 7:24-25, and God the Holy Spirit who prays for us with groanings that are inexpressible or unutterable, ALALETOS, ἀλάλητος, in human words, Rom 8:26, 34. I liken these groanings to whale calls that can be heard in the ocean.
Heb 7:24-25, “But He, on the other hand, because He abides forever, holds His priesthood permanently. 25Hence, also, He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”
- The fact that our Lord always makes intercession for us indicates that we need His help. This also explains why God the Holy Spirit makes intercession for us with groanings “too deep for words” (i.e., inexpressible), Rom 8:26-27, because “we truly do not know how to pray.” This “we” is the emphatic use of HEMEIS in the Genitive, First Person, Plural, which includes Paul, a spiritual giant. The Genitive speaks of possession speaking about our weakness, including Paul’s. So whether you are a new believer or spiritually mature believer, we truly do not know how to pray to God. Yet in GRACE, God makes up for our deficiencies by having His Son and Spirit intercede on our behalf. So we really must be pathetically weak here, because it takes two members of the Trinity to make our prayers effective, lol.
- The principle of prayer is based on two doctrines of Scripture: the post-salvation spiritual life, defined as harmonious rapport with God and the integrity of God as the source of all answers to our prayers; keeping in mind that the answers are either to grant our requests or to not grant our requests. It is always God’s sovereign decision working in conjunction with His righteousness and justice, (integrity).
- All prayer is offered to God the Father, period! We never offer prayers to Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit or any other person, dead or alive, or any other thing. Any prayer offered to Christ is automatically cancelled, since it fails to follow God’s protocol for prayer. This is illustrated by the model prayer for the disciples, Mat 6:9; Eph 1:17, 3:14; 1 Peter 1:17. Remember that the “Me” in John 14:14, is not in the original manuscripts. That is the only verse where the English translations say to pray to Jesus, which in fact is a false translation of the passage from its original language. It should read, “If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” The Living Bible says it like this, “Yes, ask anything, using my name, and I will do it!”
“Asking in Jesus’ name” tells us that prayer is addressed in the name of or through the channel of the Son, John 14:13-14; Heb 7:25, who is the great intercessor and mediator between us and God, 1 Tim 2:5. It signifies our ability to be able to pray to the Father in the first place, because of Jesus’ saving work on the Cross, which has qualified us to be entered into the spiritual life of a Royal Priest.
Likewise, all prayer is made through the enabling power (filling) of God the Holy Spirit, Eph 6:18. He is the true power and translator behind all of our prayers.
Therefore, our prayers should be directed to God the Father, (and God the Father only), in the name of Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit. That is God’s protocol for effective prayer. To deviate from this causes our prayer life to be ineffective, even though in grace God may answer your prayer.
- We also need to remember that prayer is related to the omniscience (all knowing) of God.
Isa 65:24, “Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking, I will hear.”
God hears our prayer twice: in eternity past and at the time of the prayer. God knew and answered all your prayers in eternity past.
- Although prayer can take place anywhere, an emphasis is placed upon private prayer in Mat 6:6; cf. 1 Tim 2:8. Yet, the New Testament also emphasizes the need for common prayer in church, Acts 2:42. So both individual private prayer and collective public prayer is part of our Royal Priesthood.
Mat 18:19-20, “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. 20For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”
- Prayer is one of the most powerful and effective functions in all of history. It is a privilege, the function of the Royal Priesthood. Therefore, it is a powerful weapon in the hands of the believer. It is an invisible power directed toward invisible God in relationship to our invisible assets. And it is most effective when used by invisible heroes, i.e., believers who have attained spiritual maturity. The more you grow in grace, the greater your spiritual growth, the greater your effectiveness in your prayer life. Effectiveness is not measured in terms of your eloquence when praying in public, but on the basis of your spiritual growth when praying in private.
- The Church Age mandate for a consistent daily prayer life is found in 1 Thes 5:17. “Pray continually” is a mandate for both habitual and spontaneous prayer. This verse can be translated, “Make it a habit of prayer.”
- Since grace is the principle of prayer, no believer can petition for himself or make intercession on the basis of human merit, ability, morality, production, service, or spiritual gift. Every believer approaches the throne of grace on the merits of our Lord Jesus Christ who is our great High Priest.
Heb 4:16, “Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need.”
Prayer was designed to fulfill the will, plan and purpose of God for our lives and to give us access to heaven while still living on earth. Too many prayers are expressions of what you want, not what God wants. To express the will of God in your prayers, you have to come to know what the will of God is or how to ask for the will of God instead of your own will.
The Agenda for Your Private Prayers:
- Confession of sin, 1 John 1:9, if necessary, to ensure the filling of the Spirit. Only prayer offered in the status quo of the filling of the Spirit will be heard.
- Thanksgiving expresses the concept of worship in private prayer.
Eph 5:20, “Always giving thanks to God the Father for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
1 Thes 5:18, “In everything give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Capacity for thanksgiving comes from your personal love for God and your impersonal love for others. Capacity for thanksgiving increases as you grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It is hard to stay alert when you are in a routine situation, doing the same thing over and over again. Your thanksgiving to God is a part of your personal love for God. The more you love God and the more you appreciate Him, the greater your thanksgiving, and the greater your alertness in prayer.
- Intercession is praying for others, Eph 6:18; 1 Kings 18:36-37; James 5:16‑18. This is a spiritual ministry. It requires that you have your own private prayer list.
- Petition is praying for your own needs and situations. Therefore, it is prayer offered on behalf of self, as per Heb 4:16. To approach boldly means you approach in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
- Confidence is a necessary aspect for effective prayer, 1 John 5:14-15, as well as concentration. Concentration is a function of the filling of the Spirit, positive volition and motivation.
- The sanctification of food or saying “grace” before meals is a special prayer, 1 Tim 4:4-5.
- Prayers for those in authority over us. As citizens of a client nation to God, this is a very important function for believers.
1 Tim 2:1‑2, “First of all, therefore, I request that petitions, prayers, intercessions, thanksgivings be made on behalf of all mankind; on behalf of kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead an undisturbed and tranquil life in the entire spiritual life and integrity.”
- Prayers for the sick, James 5:15.
- Prayers for the unsaved, Rom 10:1. Paul prayed for the salvation of unbelieving Jews. Although you cannot pray that their volitional will to be coerced, you can pray that they will be exposed to the Gospel and have the opportunity to believe in Jesus Christ.
- You can pray for your enemies, Mat 5:44. This prayer reflects the phenomenal dynamics in spiritual autonomy from the confidence of spiritual self‑esteem and the impersonal love of spiritual autonomy.
Mat 5:44, “But I say to you, love your enemies (impersonal love), and pray for those who persecute you.”
- You can pray for spiritual adulthood, Phil 1:9. But spiritual adulthood is only achieved by the consistent intake and application of Bible Doctrine.
Phil 1:9, “And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment.”
- There is prayer for the communication and communicators of Bible doctrine; for Pastor‑Teachers, missionaries and evangelists, 2 Thes 3:1; Heb 13:18.
Col 4:2-3, “Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; 3praying at the same time for us as well, that God may open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned.”
- The prayer of widows, that is, ladies who become single either by the death, divorce or abandonment of their husbands. This special category of widows in spiritual adulthood can pray both night and day (more often than once a day) for themselves and for others. As a result of their very tranquil and uncomplicated life, they are able to be effective in continuous prayer on behalf of others.
1 Tim 5:5, “Now she who is a widow indeed, and who has been left alone has fixed her hope on God, and continues in entreaties and prayers night and day.”
Vs. 17 – Paul’s 1st Prayer for the Church.
Eph 1:17, “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.”
This passage begins with the protocol of addressing our prayers to God the Father, as we noted in our doctrine above.
Paul addresses God the Father as “the God of our Lord Jesus Christ,” HO THEOS TOU HEMEIS KURIOS IESOUS CHRISTOS. Then he sates, “the Father of Glory,” HO PATER HO DOXA. “The God and Father of our Lord Jesus” is a common phrase used by Paul throughout his epistles. Peter also uses it in 1 Peter 1:2, “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
This passages speaks about Jesus Christ in hypostatic union, (100% God and 100% man), focusing on His humanity, since He is God Himself being a member of the Trinity, co-equal, co-infinite and co-eternal with the Father and Holy Spirit. As God, Jesus Christ has no other God over Him, but the son of God in humanity recognizes the Father as His Sovereign, John 10:30; 17:11, 21-22.
Paul addresses Jesus as our “Lord,” KURIOS that means, “Supreme controller, owner, master, or lord.” In the New Testament KURIOS also functions as the name of God. Each person of the Godhead; the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is called KURIOS.
Jesus being called “Lord” chiefly refers to the elevated and glorified Christ. The lordship of Christ is especially related to the Church. Christ is, above all else, the Lord of His people, His body. He is “our Lord Jesus Christ,” one of Paul’s most frequently used descriptions of Jesus’ relationship to His people.
Doctrine of the Lordship of Jesus Christ
John 13:13, “You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am.”
1) The Lord Jesus Christ was referred to by Israel in the words of Deut 6:4: SHAMA ISRAEL, ADONAI ELOHENU, ADONAI ECHAD, translated “Hear O Israel, the Lord (Jesus Christ) is our God, the Lord (Jesus Christ) is one or unique.”
2) In the title of the Second Person of the Trinity, there are three words.
- KURIOS, translated “Lord”, which means, “master (authority), Supreme deity” in both Greek and Latin is used for Jesus Christ who is God.
- IESOUS is from the Hebrew YEHOSHUA meaning, “Jehovah, or the LORD is salvation.” The Hebrew tetragrammaton YHWH is also translated Lord. IESOUS is translated “Jesus,” which is the title for His humanity meaning, “Savior.”
- CHRISTOS is from the Greek word CHRIO and means, “the Anointed One, Messiah or Christ.” CHRISTOS is translated “Christ” meaning, “anointed one,” which is His second royal titling as the Son of David being the Messiah.
3) In the title of the Second Person of the Trinity:
- “Lord” refers to the deity of Christ with emphasis on His authority as the “Lord of lords and King of kings”, Deut 10:17; Psa 136:1-26; 1 Tim 6:15; Rev 17:14; 19:16.
- “Jesus” refers to the humanity of Christ.
- “Christ” refers to His deity with His Messiahship in view as the legitimate and eternal king of Israel. It refers to His Divine commission. Christ simply means “anointed” and in the ancient world they did not give you a commission on paper, they put oil on your head.
4) A false doctrine prevalent today is called “Lordship Salvation”, which says that, “if Jesus Christ is not Lord of all, He is not Lord at all”. The old Wesleyan adage is “Christ saves us from sin, not in sin”.
This belief is a mixture of justification and experiential sanctification from the Arminian viewpoint held by many Reformers and Covenant Theologians today who are anti-Dispensationalist.
This false doctrine claims that if you do not keep Jesus Christ as number one priority in your life as demonstrated through good works you are not saved and, or will lose the salvation you once had. Scripture wrongly used to make these claims include: John 14:15; Heb 12:14b; Eph 5:5; 1 Cor 6:9-10; James 2:14, 17.
We understand these scriptures as having a context that admonishes unfaithful but truly saved people to live their lives as an example to others faithfully in obedience to God’s commands. Lordship salvation is contrary to the grace Plan of God for salvation and a heresy that says Christ’s work on the Cross is not all sufficient for your salvation. You must demonstrate works in order to be saved. In fact, Scripture teaches that God saves the ungodly in their sins, Rom 5:6, “For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.” Scripture also teaches that God saves the believer from their sins, Gal 5:16, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.”
The first known use of the term “Lordship Salvation” occurred in a 1959 debate in Eternity magazine between Presbyterian Everett F. Harrison, a professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, and John Stott, an Anglican theologian.
The fact is, we should keep Christ as our number one priority in life, Heb 12:2. But whether we do or not, does not determine our salvation or the Lordship of Christ.
Miles Stanford suggests that “Lordship salvation … rightly insists upon repentance, but wrongly includes a change of behavior … in order to be saved. No one questions that there must be a sincere change of mind, a turning from oneself to the Savior; but Lordship advocates attempt to make behavior and fruit (that is, good works) essential ingredients of, rather than evidence of, saving faith.” (Miles J. Stanford, The Gospel According to Jesus – John F. MacArthur Jr., pg. 1. 1988).
It is interesting that MacArthur uses that quote since he believes in Lordship salvation. Dr. MacArthur’s position on Lordship Salvation has been made very clear in his published book, THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JESUS. He has also made statements in some of his other published writings and tapes that relate to this subject, some of which are quoted below:
“The Greek word translated ‘belief’ is not referring merely to intellectual attainment or mental acquiescence but a wholehearted acceptance of everything that is implied in the claims of Christ. You need to believe that Jesus is God and that He died for your sins, committing your whole life to Him in sacrifice and serving Him as Lord.” (Assurance of Victory–1 John 5, Moody Press, p.12).
“Submission to the will of God, to Christ’s lordship, and to the guiding of the Spirit is an essential, not an optional, part of saving faith,” (EPHESIANS, p. 249).
“Saving faith is a placing of oneself totally in submission to the Lord Jesus Christ,” (Romans 1-8, p. 205).
5) Jesus is the Lord of all because of His saving work upon the Cross, as we will note below, and especially of the believer. Having Jesus Christ as Lord in your life means you should be obedient to His Word on a consistent basis, 2 Cor 10:5; Eph 4:17; 5:8, 10, 17, 19; 6:7; 1 Peter 1:14.
- Just as the servant must be obedient to the master or the worker is to be obedient to his boss, so too should the believer be obedient to the Word of Jesus Christ, i.e., Bible Doctrine.
- The goal of Christian exhortation is to encourage the believer to place every aspect of his or her life under the Lordship of Christ.
1 Peter 3:15, “But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.”
- The one confessing Christ as Lord and not doing His will has built his faith on sand, Luke 6:49.
6) The Lord Jesus Christ is true humanity and undiminished deity in one person forever. This is called “hypostatic union.” Jesus had to be true humanity in order to be judged for our sins and take our place. The use of the term “hypostatic union” refers to the unique person of Jesus Christ as the God / Man, beginning with the virgin birth and continuing throughout the incarnation. Hypostatic union means that Jesus Christ is 100% God and 100% man at the same time. Documentation for the hypostatic union includes: John 1:1-14; Rom 1:2-5, 9:5; Phil 2:5-11; 1 Tim 3:16; Heb 2:14; 1 John 1:1-3.
- Since the First Advent, Jesus Christ is the God / Man as undiminished deity and true humanity in one person forever. Now He is resurrected. Once resurrected, He spent forty days on the earth, after which He ascended into the presence of the Father to be our High Priest, Mediator and Advocate.
7) First Advent of the Jesus Christ in hypostatic union began with the virgin birth and terminated with our Lord’s death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and session. But our Lord always existed as God. John 8:58, ”Before Abraham was born, I am (had always existed).”
- The pre-incarnate person of Jesus Christ was and is infinite and eternal God, coequal and coeternal with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit.
- The post-incarnate person of Christ includes undiminished deity and true humanity in one person forever.
8) The God / Man, Jesus Christ is:
- Different from all members of the human race because He is eternal God.
- Different from the other two members of the Trinity because He is true humanity.
- As infinite and eternal God, Jesus Christ is superior to all creatures, both angelic and human.
- In hypostatic union, Jesus Christ continues to be superior to all creatures, both angelic and human, Heb 1-2; Phil 2.
9) Jesus Christ is Lord because He is the only Savior. Because Jesus Christ was judged for our sins on the Cross, becoming our substitute and taking our place, we who have believed in Him for eternal salvation have Him as our one and only Lord. Eph 4:5, “One Lord, one faith, one baptism,” refers to the unique person of Jesus Christ as the God / Man. His uniqueness began with His First Advent.
- “One Lord” means Jesus Christ is the basis for our unity because of His substitutionary spiritual death.
- “One faith” means we are all saved in exactly the same way, by faith in Jesus Christ.
- “One baptism” refers to God the Holy Spirit entering us into union with Christ forever at the point of salvation. We will always be in union with Christ, documented throughout the New Testament by the prepositional phrase “in Christ”, EN CHRISTOS.
10) Jesus Christ is Lord because He is the “Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world”, John 1:29. No one else could do this, only the perfect Jesus Christ as the Son of God could provide salvation. Because Jesus Christ was judged for our sins on the Cross, becoming our substitute and taking our place, we who have believed in Him for eternal salvation have Him as our one Lord.
11) Ever since His resurrection and ascension, Jesus has assumed the role of Lord, Acts 2:36; Phil 2:5-11. The fact that Jesus Christ is seated at the right hand of God identifies Him as the authoritative arm of God. He is Lord in the ultimate sense of the word.
12) As Lord, Jesus Christ creates and controls the universe. Prior to the incarnation, Jesus Christ created the universe, John 1:3; Col 1:16; Heb 1:10. As God, and now as the God / Man, our Lord Jesus Christ holds the universe together, Col 1:17; Heb 1:3.
Col 1:16-17, ” For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”
Deut 33:26, “There is no one like the God of Jeshurun, (upright one – a special name for Israel), who rides the heavens to help you, and in His majesty He rides through the skies.”
Heb 1:3, “And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power.”
13) Jesus Christ is Lord of all regardless of our thoughts and actions. In fact He is Lord of all members of the human race, believers and unbelievers, and is Lord of all angelic creatures as well. That is why scripture tells us, “At the name of Jesus Christ every knee shall bow,” Isa 45:23; Rom 11:36; 14:11; Phil 2:10-11; Rev 5:11-13, and that He is the “King of kings and Lord of lords, “ 1 Tim 6:5; Rev 17:14; 19:16. The reality is that Jesus Christ is Lord whether you keep Him in that position or not.
If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson #’s:
15-094, 15-095 & 15-096
A PERSONAL NOTE FOR YOU
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I am here to tell you that Jesus loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. God the Father also loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you by sending Him to the Cross. At the Cross Jesus died in your place. Taking upon Himself all of your sins and all of my sins. He was judged for our sins and paid the price for our sins. Therefore our sins will never be held against us.
Right where you are, you now have the opportunity to make the greatest decision in your life to accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life by truly believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised on the third day as the proof of the promise of eternal life. So right now you can pause and reflect on what Christ has done for you and say to the Father:
“Yes Father, I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ, died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”
If you have done that, I welcome you to the eternal Family of God!