Archive for October, 2012

Hebrews 1 – The Majesty of Jesus vs the Majestic Angels

The Holy Spirit presents the Glories of Jesus first, and then answers any questions the readers might have

Jesus Surpasses

  • Superior or more excellent (KJV) is diaphoros, which can mean varying, but in this instance means different in a surpassing way.

Hebrews 1:1-4 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

1. Jesus is the Communicator.

  • In the past, God spoke prophetically
  • In the present, God speaks personally

Vs 1: but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son,

  • Jesus was not a messenger of God as in the past, when God uses prophets, visions, burning bushes, donkey’s, even fruit (Amos 8:1)

A.  Jesus is the Message.

How do we know He is the message, and not just a messenger as so many religions claim? Hebrews 1:2 boldly proclaims„

Jesus is the radiance of the Glory
„ Jesus is the exact imprint of God
  • Here He is described as the charaktér tés hupostáseōs autoú – “the exact image of His [God’s] essence” Whatever the divine essence is, Jesus is said to be its perfect expression. The writer of Hebrews thus sets forth a high Christology affirming the deity of Jesus Christ.[1]
  • Jesus is the very character (impression) of God

If anyone realized the majesty of Jesus, it was the Apostle John. He witnessed the transfiguration, he leaned upon His chest at the last supper and he held Mary at the crucifixion. Here is his eyewitness account of the majesty of Jesus:

1 John 1:1-3 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.

God Himself  came to us and spoke directly with us- in the flesh, in His words and in His life!

Jesus Christ is the brightness of His glory – ‘the radiance shining forth from the source of life” He speaks the very light of Life! For God is Life!

Jesus has a living message that is to be heard everyday! As out High Priest, he knows the struggles and trials we face, and has a fresh message that will speak to our heart as we need it. This is why we must seek His daily bread! Each day we must gather fresh manna from Him. He is our “Bread of Life!”

This is what He was saying to the crowd when He preached the Sermon on the Mount. Do not be satisfied with a stale word or tradition from the past! Seek the truth daily from the Living Son of God:

Matthew 5:21-22 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.

Do you listen to Jesus each and every day? Does His message excite and thrill you anew every morning? Or are you mired in the past, content with old habits or traditions? Jesus is the Living Message!

Jesus spoke with His Father every day, receiving a fresh outflow every day. He gave us an example…that we should follow in His steps…

B.  As the Heir of all things, We should stop and listen.

“Whom he appointed the heir of all things” and as the HEIR, He has all the stuff we need! How much time do you spend worrying and fretting about stuff, when you should be going to the one who has it all! Listen, observe, follow, desire, and make Him your Lord. We spend so much time chasing stuff instead of following the one who holds all the stuff.

2. Jesus is the Creator

He created you. You are not evolved from monkeys or iridescent goo. You are no accident.

A.  Jesus is the Manager of the Creation

The worlds are upheld by the Word of His power! Take away Jesus and the universe falls apart!

Is your world being upheld by the Word of His power? Is your world out of control, upside down, discombobulated? Then you are not tapping into the power of His Word! No matter how chaotic this world may seem, Jesus is in control. He upholds it by the Word of His power! Shouldn’t you embrace His Word for your world?

B.  Jesus is the Power of the Universe

Do you believe in His Word? Do you know His power? Are you trusting in His power?

Jesus is not just the Creator, He is the Power that controls and manages the entire creation! The amazing truth is that He wants us to ask Him for this same power to be a part of our lives! Listen to what He says:

  • „ John 14:13-14 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.
  • „ John 15:16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.
  • „ John 16:23-24 In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.

3. Jesus is the Conqueror!

Hebrews 1:3.”After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

Jesus made a once and for all “purification of all sins of all mankind for all time!” Jesus conquered the greatest enemy in the entire universe, stronger than any foe ever dreamed up by Marvel Comics! Jesus defeated the “Death Star” of Sin! 

„ Hebrews 1:3 “when he had by himself purged our sins” sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

„ “Making purification” is a reflective tense, indicating that the thing done returns to the doer. „ All Glory belongs to Jesus Christ, for all glory reflects back upon Him!

„ I’ll never understand why our Jewish friends cannot see that Jesus was sacrificing Himself as the atoning lamb. The priest had 146 external requirements that he had to meet to be qualified as a priest of the Lord. Our Jewish friends reject Jesus as Priest because He failed only one-He was not of the tribe of Levi! If they would see the Scriptures that declare Him as the Eternal Priest, after the order of Melchizedek, they might believe. The Psalms even declares this:

Psalm 110:4 The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind, “You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.”

Jesus is the Message of God’s Steadfast Love, and His Word is the Justice that manages our world and His Righteousness is ours by faith, for He has purified this world of sin!

4. Jesus is Crowned as Lord of All

Hebrews 1:3-4 He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become* as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

*”to become.” The Son became better than the angels, inferring that at one time He was lower than the angels. The writer does not deny that He was, and is, essentially and eternally better than the angels. He is speaking here of His glorification which was conditioned upon His fulfillment of the requirements of His human state, which He emphasizes. After He had passed through the experience described in Philippians 2:6-8, He sat down on the right hand of the divine Majesty as Messianic sovereign, and thus became and was proved to be that which in reality He always was, superior to the angels. The superiority here is not that of moral excellence, but of dignity and power. He became superior to the angels when He resumed His pre-incarnate dignity at His resurrection. The writer tells us in 2:7, 9, that for a little time, i.e., during His incarnation previous to His glorification, He was made lower than the angels[2]

The proof of the surpassing Jesus Christ can be seen by all those who behold God. Jesus Christ is sitting at the right hand of our Majestic God! Their radiance is now one! Their authority is now one! Their power is now one!

But simply because He sits on the right hand of Majesty, this does not mean that you can behold His Majesty in your life. The only way you can behold the Majesty of Jesus Christ, hear His message, experience the power of His Word and know the purification of sins that He offers, is for you to bow before Him in humility and repentance, and make Him your Lord and King!

5. Jesus Christ is Lord of all – especially Angels

  • Simply because Jesus is positioned above all does not guarantee He will be worshipped as Lord over all.
  • The Holy Spirit wants us to wrap our hearts around the Lordship of Jesus Christ, the view of Him upon the Throne!

Why does the Holy Spirit consider this truth so important?

People through the ages tend to worship something or someone rather that Jesus Christ. Either they feel He is out of reach, that they must use an intermediary (as the Catholics & Orthodox Church with their ‘saints and icons’), or that He is just a “super angel” (as the Mormons and Muslims believe).

A. Consider the Jewish View of Angels

Galatians 3:19 Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed would come to whom the promise had been made.

Now the old covenant was brought to man and maintained by angelic mediation. The angels ministered between God and men to carry on the work of the old covenant. The Jews knew this and consequently believed in angels. Some of them believed in angels to such a degree that they actually worshiped angels.

B. This Developed into Heretical Worship

How do we know? By Paul’s letter to the Colossians

Colossians 2:18 Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind,

Paul’s statement in Colossians 2:18 shows that the self-appointed teachers at Colossae taught a doctrine of “false humility and the worship of angels.” But the pagan Greeks had no concept of angels. This is a tenet of Judaism and became further corrupted into the heresy of Gnosticism. Gnosticism (along with many other things), involved the worship of angels. Gnostics reduced Jesus Christ to an angel.

The tenor of the false doctrine at Colossae was that the Colossians were not complete in Christ (Colossians 2:8-9 See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily,) and needed to approach God through angelic beings. Since the angels are much inferior to the Supreme God, the Colossians would have to lower their sights, so to speak, by approaching angels first!

The basic thought seems to have been the Christian’s need to reach beyond Christ to a Supreme God through the mediation of angelic beings. These beings were of lower standing on the ascending scale to ultimate truth. Therefore the believers who sought to reach God directly or through one mediator, Christ, were presumptuous and needed a measure of self-abasement that would enable them to begin lower down on the scale. They could seek gradual completeness by invoking the mediation of lower, but more readily accessible, beings. This self-imposed humility, along with the active neglect of the body, would enhance their spirituality and their quest for completeness.

Paul’s evaluation of the Colossian heresy was that it did not amount to true humility, as they had thought, but to a type of pride and carnality — a mere “appearance of wisdom” (2:23) — that was denying the significance of Christ.

Paul corrected this heresy by stressing that all believers were members of the Body of Christ, who is the Head. Since Christ had triumphed over all “powers and authorities” (2:15), the members of Christ’s Body did not need anything beyond Christ.

So Chapter one is important to frame your View of Who Jesus Christ is, and how He relates to your faith walk!

  • Jesus is the Communicator of God’s Message to you
  • Jesus is the Creator who maintains this world through the power of His Word.
  • Jesus is the Conqueror, having purified this world.
  • Jesus is the one who is crowned as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

But to behold His Majesty, you must crown Him King and Lord of your life!

[1] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book.

[2] Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies – Volume 2: Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1973), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 42.


Pearls are unlike any other jewel. Pearls are the only jewel coming from “living” creation. They are produced by “life”, a life which has reacted to and overcome the working of death. Only when the oyster is wounded does it secretly, in the depths of the sea, produce its pearl. I believe God chose carefully the building materials of Heaven. Revelations 21:21 says that the gates of New Jerusalem are twelve pearls. Each gate was made from one giant pearl.

Entering the New Jerusalem through a giant pearl pictures the passage from death to life. It pictures the debt of gratitude we owe to all those Christians who were wounded, many mortally, and through their testimony we pass from death to life. Their life, though despised by the world, gives us life. As Paul wrote, we are all members of His body,

Ephesians 4:15-16 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

Love is the power that strengthens and builds the joints and the body of Christ. Love built upon the wounding of Christ, and the fellowship of His sufferings continues the flow of Love which His body needs to grow and thrive. There is no Pearl without a wounding. There is no Pearl from a comfortable oyster. The church will never know the beauty and power  of Christ’s Love​ without pain, trials and hardship. There will be no Pearl necklace adorning a “comfortable” church.

Through the wounding of Christ, His Life was released to us His body. Through the miracle of Christ’s resurrection, a glorious church continues to be empowered by His Love.​ We are to be a pearl of great value, adorning the New Jerusalem! This Pearl is so valuable, that we are to sell everything so that we may obtain it. Yet this Pearl cannot come forth without a wounding. As Christ was wounded for our transgressions and now is exalted in Glory, so too we must accept the wounding of the Cross, dying to our flesh, so that we might share in His Glory!

Hebrews is the “Better” Book, about our Surpassing Savior

Hebrews 1:4 So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.

  • Superior or (more excellent KJV) is diaphoros, which can mean varying, but in  this instance means different in a surpassing way.
  • Human salvation demands the divine disclosure of truths surpassing reason. Thomas Aquinas
  • So our Salvation depends upon a SURPASSING SAVIOR!
    • Everything about Jesus is Superior and Surpasses that which took place before Him.
    • Hebrews is the only book that specifically calls Jesus a priest, although implied in others
    • This is probably what Jesus explained to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:27)
    • Hebrews, more than any other book, expresses the unity of the message of the 66 books of the Bible
    • The author never refers to the human author of the Old Testament references, but always ascribes them to God or Christ!

A superior workman turns out a superior product, so Hebrews shows that the  Messiah, the Founder of the New Testament is better than the founders of the First Testament, who were the prophets, angels, Moses, Joshua, and Aaron. Therefore, the testament He brought in is superior to and takes the place of theirs. In the light of this, we can better understand the words, “But now hath He (Messiah) obtained a more excellent ministry than they (prophets, angels, Moses, Joshua, Aaron), by how much also He is the Mediator of a better covenant (the New Testament), which is established upon better promises”[1].

Commitment to Following Christ with all of your life will produce everything which is BETTER for you!

The Surpassing Life of Jesus

1. Jesus is superior to angels.

2. Jesus has a Name which is more excellent.

Hebrews 1:4 having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

3. Jesus has a more excellent ministry

4. Jesus mediates a better covenant based upon better promises

Hebrews 8:6 But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises.

Hebrews 11:4 By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.

5. Through Jesus we have promise of better things

Hebrews 6:9 Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things—things that belong to salvation.

The Surpassing Life we share with Jesus

1. We Have a Better Hope

Hebrews 7:19 (for the law made nothing perfect); but on the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God.

2. We Have a Better Covenant

Hebrews 7:22 This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant.

3. We have Better Promises

Hebrews 8:6 But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises.

4. We Have a Better Sacrifice

Hebrews 9:23 Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.

Hebrews 10:5-6 Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me; in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure.

5. We Have Better Possessions

Hebrews 10:34 For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one.

6. We Have a Better Home

Hebrews 11:16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.

7. We will Have a Better Life

Hebrews 11:35 Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life.

Hebrews 11:40 since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.

The Surpassing Life Focus

1. Endure for the sake of Better

Hebrews 12:10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.

2. Sacrifice and Do good for the sake of Better

Hebrews 13:16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

3. Draw Near to God in Better Hope

Hebrews 7:19 For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.

4. Be Better at Provoking

Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:

5. Better produces Joy even in the face of loss and tragedy

Hebrews 10:34 For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance.

Hebrews is the Better Book which details the Surpassing Life of Jesus Christ. Not only did Jesus surpass everthing before Him, He offers His surpassing life to us, so that our lives will benefit and share in His surpassing life. And if we share in His surpassing life, our lives will focus on Him, and that focus will produce changes in our works and priorities.

[1] Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies – Volume 2: Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1973), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 142

The Fullness of Christ-is it for You?

  • Colossians 1:9-10 And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.
  • Colossians 1:11 “Strengthened with all power, according to the might of His Glory, UNTO all patience and longsuffering with joy.”

The Proof of Fullness

The evidence of power (and therefore fullness) is always endurance in the face of trials or hardship or tests of faith. The ability to endure under continuous or intermittent pressure that tests our faith in His Word is the foremost proof of spiritual power and the “fullness of Christ”.

This was the lesson of the Book of Joshua as embodied in the person of Caleb. Caleb was one who possessed the Fullness of God, as evidenced in his strength, passion and victory of possessions. He gained everything that God wanted Him to have, and had more to give away to his children. Fullness will always reveal itself in victory in the face of trials, and will always result in an abundance of blessing, so much so that your family will benefit and inherit!

  • The fullness of Christ will reveal itself in our life through joy in the face of hardship or even suffering. The fullness of Christ is never meant to be for an individual, but is always meant to be shared to bring others into His inheritance.

The Limits of being Filled with the Fullness of Christ

Even though we are made in the image of God, we are not God, so our experience of God’s fullness does have limits.  A. B. Simpson[1] used the following analogy to illustrate the limits of being filled:

Being filled with the fullness of God is like a bottle in the ocean. You take the cork out of the bottle and sink it in the ocean, and you have the bottle completely full of ocean. The bottle is in the ocean, and the ocean is in the bottle. The ocean contains the bottle, but the bottle contains only a little bit of the ocean. So it is with the Christian.

We can be filled with the fullness of God when we immerse ourselves in his love and in his ways and in his Spirit and in his word; however “we cannot contain all of God because God contains us;  . . . we can have all of God that we can contain. If we only knew it, we could enlarge our vessel. The vessel gets bigger as we go on with God.A. W. Tozer.[2]

Our Christian walk should be a journey towards spiritual maturity that allows us to experience more and more of Christ’s fullness and enable us to share Him with others.

1. Fullness comes from Proximity

Psalm 16:11 You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

  • There can be no fullness apart from a daily abiding and depending upon Jesus Christ

2. From His Fullness we receive Grace upon Grace

John 1:16 And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.

  • Jesus illustrates the principle of grace as the means to fullness. From the fullness of Jesus we receive His grace, so that we might be filled to overflowing, thus allowing His grace to pass on to others.

2 Corinthians 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.

1 Timothy 1:14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 1:7 It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel.

2 Corinthians 4:15 For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.

2 Corinthians 8:14-15 your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness. As it is written, “Whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack.”

3. His Fullness gives you Blessing

  • Paul experienced the fullness of blessing – Romans 15:29 I know that when I come to you I will come in the fullness of the blessing of Christ.
  • We are already blessed in Christ – Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,

4. His Fullness reflects the Fullness of the Earth

1 Corinthians 10:26 For “the earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof.”

  • We are to know the height, depth, breadth and length of Christ, for He is our inheritance.

5. The Church is the means of gaining the Fullness of Christ

  • The Church is His fullness – Ephesians 1:23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

Ephesians 4:10-13 He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,

6. The church must be built up to the Fullness of Christ

  • Eph 4:12 “to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ”
  • 1 Peter 2:5 you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
  • Colossians 2:6-7 Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

7. Love is the Key to being Built up into the Fullness of Christ

Ephesians 3:17-19 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

  • Being built up in Christ requires us to be fully aware of our calling, our blessing and our inheritance, so that we might clearly see the breadth, length, height and depth of what Christ wants us to possess.
  • When we see that which we stand to gain, it should draw us deeper into love with Jesus Christ.

To continually experience Christ’s fullness we need to spend time nurturing our union with him.  We nurture our relationship with Jesus by becoming more aware of his Spirit within us, by being filled with his word (Eph 5:18b; Col 3:16a), and by being obedient to his word. But it begins with love.  Jesus promised, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”  John 14:23

8. Dependence upon Christ through yoking and learning is essential for Fullness

Matthew 11:29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

  • If there is no decision to yoke completely our will and flesh, there can be no fullness.
  • If there is no continued decision to focus on Christ and learn of Him, there can be no sustained fullness.

Nurturing a close relationship with Jesus is easier said than done in our busy and materialistic world.  As we yoke ourselves to Christ, we must also weed out the thorns and thistles of life: the cares of this world, that may hinder our spiritual growth and prevent us from experiencing Christ’s fullness.  

In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus taught that, “The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear [the word of God], but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.” Luke 8:14-15 (NIV)We must allow the Holy Spirit to cultivate the soil of our hearts to enable God’s word to flourish and be fruitful and multiply in and through* (see discussion of Ephesians 3:16-21 following)

9. The Fullness of Christ is measured in the unity of faith and knowledge of Christ in the church.

  • Fullness in Christ is Body related, not individually attained
  • Ephesians 4:13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ[3],
  • Colossians 1:19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,
  • Colossians 2:9 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily,

From His Fullness We Have Already Received

John 1:16 “of His fullness we have all received”

Just as God clearly marked the promised land to Joshua and the Israelites, all that we have in Christ is already been given us. Ephesians 1-3 provides every blessed boundary line of what we have in Christ. Just as Joshua knew what God had given them, it became the calling of the Israelites to GAIN all that land. This is where Ephesians 4-6 comes into view. After the calling comes the WALKING! We have the fullness of Christ, now we must learn to WALK in the fullness of Christ!

We will never walk in the fullness of Christ unless we realize that our very walk depends upon Him. If we have received Him, let us put on Him! Joshua did not have the strength of weapons and soldiers to take the land promised to him. But the Captain of the Host did! Joshua and his leaders had to learn to always “enquire of the Lord”! They had to follow the Captain if they were going to achieve victory and fullness! As Charles Spurgeon preached:

“There was not in John any good thing but what he received from his Master. There was not in the noble martyr Stephen one grain of courage but what he received from Christ. Paul, Apollos, or Cephas—these had nothing but what they took from Him. If they received everything, why should we hesitate to do the same? Of ourselves it is also true that all our Graces came from Jesus. This is true of the greatest saint and true of the least.”

Fullness of Christ is the Basis of True Ministry

Our ministry and service for the Lord is measured by the degree of Christ that we have to minister. A minister of Christ is one who ministers Christ, who is able to minister Christ because he has Christ to give, has the Holy Spirit of Christ to impart Christ. Ministry is not meant to be in an “official capacity.” Ministry is never on the basis of “office” or “position” or “degree.” Ministry is because of Christ having you and you having Christ.

Remember the Shunammite woman’s son who died in the days of the Elisha the prophet? In her distress she sent for Elisha. The prophet sent his servant Gehazi, and Gehazi went with the prophet’s rod in a professional or “official” capacity. “I am the servant of the great prophet, and I have his rod, the symbol of his office.” And Gehazi went in this “official capacity” and put the rod on the young man; but nothing happened. There is no power in what is merely “professional.”

The woman was not to be satisfied with this official effort. She clung to Elisha, and would have nothing second-hand but only himself, and when he came in what did he do? He spread himself upon the young man, hands to his hands, feet to his feet, lips to his lips, in an utter identification of himself with that death, himself being in life, and he literally, by reason of the life in him, lifted that lad, so to speak, out of the grip of death. It was life by the living, and there is no other way. “Fullness begets fullness, life begets life, grace begets grace”

The church is that which comes into contact with conditions of spiritual death and, because it has the living, risen Lord in it, breaks the power of that death, and delivers there from, and proves the testimony of Jesus, that He it is who lives, and Who became dead, but is alive for evermore. That is the testimony of Jesus.[4]

God’s Purpose as to Fullness for His People

Biblical Pictures of the Way to Fullness:

The Levites in Joshua
  • Fullness as to Sonship
  • Fullness as to Worship (type of church)
  • Fullness as to Heavenly Example (no possessions, cities of influence)
The Bronze Man in Ezekiel 40:3-4

Ezekiel 40:3-4 When he brought me there, behold, there was a man whose appearance was like bronze, with a linen cord and a measuring reed in his hand. And he was standing in the gateway. And the man said to me, “Son of man, look with your eyes, and hear with your ears, and set your heart upon all that I shall show you, for you were brought here in order that I might show it to you. Declare all that you see to the house of Israel.”

1. The Linen Cord of Measurement (line of flax)

No measurement is given unto it. We are not told how long that line was, but we do know that it was used for the greater measurement. When we come later to the river in chapter forty-seven, it is not the rod but the line that is the instrument of measurement; and we find that that river becomes too deep for man.

This clearly corresponds to what Paul said in the Letter to the Ephesians. There he spoke of “the love of Christ, which passes knowledge.” We are here in the presence of something that is far greater than human measurement. Since the Bronze Man represents the Holy Spirit, there is no measuring the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is without measure.

2. The Rod of Measurement.

These are two ways of measuring. One is what we may call the “measureless measure”, the Measure that has no limit. That is the great fullness of the Spirit. The other is that which is brought down to things in everyday life. This rod was used to measure all the details of the House of God.

The Bronze Man shows us there is great fullness of Christ (measureless); He also shows us that this fullness is applied to the minute details of the House of God. The Son of Man is the Righteous One, and He is God’s standard of measurement. God measures everything by Him…This is why the letters to the seven churches in Revelations are not simply a “dispensational thing.” They are in reality the Letters to the churches throughout all the age whereby Jesus Christ is measuring them according to His Fullness, and showing them where they are failing to overcome and attain unto His Fullness! The letters apply to every church in every age, for we will all be measured by His Fullness and whether we have gained it!

3. The Lesson of the Corinthian Church and the Fullness of Christ

1 Corinthians is an example of the fullness of Christ being diminished within the church by the intrusion of the fleshly or carnal man. Paul held up the measuring rod against the church when He said: “I determined to know nothing among you, save Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” Paul brought in this Righteous Man to correct the things that were unrighteous. By bringing in the Righteous Man, he put out the unrighteous man. By bringing in the Man of the Spirit, he put out the man of the flesh. That is exactly the meaning of this Man of brass with His measuring rod, so that first of all the object in view is Christ. He governs everything.

Fullness of Christ as the Bread of Life

Exodus 16:16-21 This is what the LORD has commanded: ‘Gather of it, each one of you, as much as he can eat. You shall each take an omer, according to the number of the persons that each of you has in his tent.’ ” And the people of Israel did so. They gathered, some more, some less. But when they measured it with an omer, whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack. Each of them gathered as much as he could eat. And Moses said to them, “Let no one leave any of it over till the morning.” But they did not listen to Moses. Some left part of it till the morning, and it bred worms and stank. And Moses was angry with them. Morning by morning they gathered it, each as much as he could eat; but when the sun grew hot, it melted.

  • Gathered much – to give to others
  • Gather just enough – had no lack
  • Gather as much as you can eat, early and daily
  • Do not leave it lying around, it is of no use
  • This bread melted in the heat, but there is a bread that does not wither in the heat-The Word of Life

John 6:32-38 Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.

A Picture of Fullness is Measured by Reaction to the Heat of Life

Jeremiah 17:7-8 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”

Matthew 6:10-11 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread,

  • Fullness of Christ in our life always results in Cool Shade for others in the “heated times” of their life.
  • This is illustrated in the application of the Manna to Grace Giving.

2 Corinthians 8:13-15 For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness. As it is written, “Whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack.”

Fullness of Christ as the Waters of Life

  • Christ is the Water of Life, and all those who abide in Him have Living Water flowing from His Fullness within.

John 7:37-38 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

  • Fullness of His Living Water comes only to the hungry and thirsty

Matthew 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

  • The Living Water of Christ is never meant to be contained (filled), but to always flow outward as an eternal spring of life to others.

John 4:13-14 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

  • The Word of God is the source of the water of Life. Jesus is the Logos!

Psalm 1:2-3 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

  • The Word of God will be the River of Life for all Eternity

Revelation 22:1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb

  • The Living Water always produces a fullness of life and fruit!

Ezekiel 47:12 And on the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither, nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing.”

How to Gain the Fullness of Christ in your Life

Here is the Key: Ephesians 3:16-21 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

1. Inner Strength of Spirit!

If you are to take the Word of God and the indwelling Spirit and grow into the fullness of God, it begins with inner strength. You must be strengthened by His Spirit in the inner man. You must allow the Spirit to have control of your inner man.

Your inner man will be strengthened when the Holy Spirit has control of it, when you yield to Him, when you no longer are ruled by yourself, when you no longer do just what you want, but where you learn moment by moment, step by step, one day at a time, to yield control to the Holy Spirit.

If there is to be a change in your inner man it’s going to be by the strengthening of the inner man through the Holy Spirit. And that comes as you yield to the Spirit. Every time you yield to the Spirit a decision in your life, you strengthen the muscle of your inner man a little more and as you continue to do that your inner man gets stronger and stronger and stronger and it’s easier to say yes to the Spirit and no to sin.

Sin decreases as you yield to the Spirit because you strengthen the inner man and it becomes easier to say yes to the Holy Spirit.

2.  The Indwelling Christ

When you yield to the Holy Spirit, He controls your life then Christ settles down and becomes at home there. Verse 17; “That Christ may ‘katoikeesis’, settle down and be at home in your hearts by faith.” Christ wants to be at home in you. He wants to settle down. He wants to have a clean life. One that He doesn’t have to be running around cleaning and sweeping and chastising and chastening. The blessed Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Savior, the Messiah, God Himself in human flesh wants to live within the believer in fullness. He’s there because you have been born again and declared “righteous” and “just.” Christ wants to give you His fullness, His righteousness, His peace, His strength, and His power. He wants to dominate you so that II Cor. 3:18 becomes a reality.

2 Corinthians 3:18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

You are changed into His very image. Ephesians 4:13 becomes your reality.

Ephesians 4:13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,

You come to the full measure of the stature of Christ. In other words, Christ likeness, Christ permeating every part, every fiber, every ounce of your being with His wonderful person and presence. The “imprint” of Christ is upon you, just as the “imprint” of God was upon Jesus!

Hebrews 1:3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature…

So, as you yield to the Spirit of God, your life is under His control. You mind is set upon the Holy Spirit.  You are walking after the Holy Spirit, and Christ can settle down and be at home. When Christ is at home in your life, it is because you have yielded to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

3. Immersed in the Incomprehensible Love of Christ

a) Love is foundational

The third thing which must happen is revealed in verse 17: “In order that ye may be rooted and grounded in love.” Without being rooted and grounded in the Love of Christ, you cannot know His fullness. Love permeates all the Christ wants to do in your life. Selfishness and pride must be rooted out and replaced with His agape love.

When Christ fills us love fills us. Look what it says in verse 17; “When Christ dwells in our hearts, Christ settles down and is at home in our hearts, and so we are rooted and grounded in His love.

This is the foundation of the fullness of Christ, experiencing His love firmly in the core of your being. You can’t have a love experience unless His love is your foundation. As Christ fills your heart love rules. Love is the foundation. Love is the bottom line. Love is that which everything else is built upon.

According to Romans 5:5, “the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit.” The moment we’re saved God’s love comes in us. His love is there and it’s expected that we love. It’s the most normal thing in the world for a Christian to live a love life. In fact, Paul wrote to the Thessalonians and said – “Nobody needs to teach you how to love, you are taught of God to love one another.”

If you don’t experience a total life of love, it is not because it isn’t there, it’s because you have never allowed it to function. Love is the most normal thing for a Christian to do. The Spirit of God comes into your life, He fills your life with love, He begins to rule your life, you yield to Him, Christ settles down, He is at home, His love permeates, and as it permeates your life you should be characterized thirdly, by incomprehensible love. And it should start by being the very root and the very foundation of your life. The very basis of your life.

b) His Love must become your own!

Not only is it the foundation, but verse 18 says you must be able to comprehend this love. In the Greek the verb comprehend is a compound verb “katalambano” which is an intense verb meaning to seize or grasp for your own. It pictures the brass ring from the old merry-go-rounds, that were there to be grabbed it you tried hard enough. For the love of Christ to be foundational in your life, you must desire it and grab hold of it! You literally seize love; you make it your own as a way of life!

The love of Christ is such a treasure because it is the gateway into the fullness of Christ. It is the most desired thing, something you want to seize, something you want to grasp. Something you want to cling to.

c) His Love can be Experienced in a miraculous way.

Ephesians 3:19 “and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge”

Paul says we can experientially know this love even though it surpasses our ability to know.

The knowledge here is the knowledge which is experienced. To live a life built on love, to live a life that grasps every possibility of love in every situation is only possible when you’re filled with the fullness of the Spirit of God who causes Christ to be at home in every dimension of your life, bringing the fullness of His own love.

If you claim to be a Christian but you don’t have love as the root and the ground of your life, the problem is not that the people around you are giving you trouble, the problem is clear back in verse 16, you have never yet yielded the control of your life to the Holy Spirit. The very first evidence of the fruit of the Holy Spirit is love, Galatians 5:22.

The absence of love is the presence of sin. The absence of love is the presence of iniquity. The absence of love means you’re not walking in the Spirit.

The entirety of the Law is summed up in one thing—“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.” And your what? “Neighbor as yourself.” That’s the whole law, right there.

Ephesians 5:2 Paul says to “Walk in love.” What kind of love? The kind of love that gives yourself as a sacrifice. Biblical love always involves sacrifice. Humble yourself at the Cross. Yield to the Spirit of God. Let Him have control of your life so that Christ can settle down and fill your life with His love.

d) Know the boundaries of His Love

what is the breadth and length and height and depth,

We are able to grab this love in its fullness. This love extends in all directions and covers every situation.

 Jerome said that the love of Christ reaches up to the holy angels and it reaches down to those in hell. Its length covers the men on the upward way and its breadth reaches those drifting away on evil paths.

  • „ How long is this love? Eph 1:4; It began … “Before the foundation of the world.” Eph 2:7; “That in the ages to come He will show the exceeding riches of His grace…” How long is His love? From eternity past to eternity future.
  • „ How deep is His love? Eph 2:1-3; Deep enough to reach us when we were dead in trespasses and sin.
  • „ How high is His love? Eph 1:3; High enough to take us and bless us with all spiritual blessing in heavenly places. High enough, Ephesians 2:6, to raise us up together and make us sit together in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus.
  • „ How broad is His love? Eph 3:12 – broad enough to build up the entire body of Christ through the ages.

Its breadth — it can reach anybody. Its length — it runs from eternity to eternity. Its depth — it reaches to the pit of sin. Its height — it takes us to the presence of God and sits us on His throne. That’s His love.

This is the kind of love we are to build our life on. This is the kind of love we are to comprehend and seize at every moment. This is the kind of love we are to experience and know. The kind of love that reaches to parties that hate each other. The kind of love that runs from one part of our life to the end of our life. The kind of love that reaches to the person in the deepest pit. The kind of love that can lift up a person to the very presence of God. That’s the kind of love we are to know. This is the kind of love which will bring us into the fullness of God.

4. Internal Fullness of God

As a Christian, if you follow this sequence you can be filled with all the fullness of God. It’s one thing for you to be filled with the Spirit in verse 16. Another thing for you to be filled with Christ in verse 17. But now to be filled with God, the eternal God, the almighty God, the creator God, the sustainer God, the God of the universe, the God who made it all, the God who fills it all can fill you?

Incredible…Incomprehensible…Inconceivable…Impossible? NO! Very Possible!

We are to be full, full, full, full. Paul says it over and over and over and over. In Ephesians 1:23 look at it, he says; “The body, the church, is the fullness of Him that filleth all and all.” The fullness of Him that filleth all and all. In chapter 3, we’ve just looked at being filled with all the fullness of God, verse 19. Chapter 4 verse 10; “That He might fill all things.” Chapter 4 verse 13; “That we might come to the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Chapter 5 verse 18, “That we would be filled with the Spirit.” God doesn’t settle for anything less than total fullness. (John MacArthur)

The word pleeroo, fullness, is a word that is used many times in the New Testament to speak of total fullness. That is its meaning. Picture a scale which reflects your life. There is to be no level balance, a little of you and a little of God. NO! The scale is to tilt totally in God’s favor. He wants all of you so He can fill all of you!

It isn’t a little bit of God and a little bit of us… it’s the fullness of God. It’s the fullness of Christ. It’s the fullness of the Holy Spirit. God wants, literally, Himself to fill us so that as Paul said to Titus, we adorn the doctrine of God. (Titus 2:10)

What Kind of God are we filled with? This is Amazing Truth!
  • „ II Samuel 22
  • „ Job 26
  • „ Job 36

5. Internal Power is the Result

Ephesians 3:20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,

When all this happens the explosion takes place. The engine roars. Verse 20 is the great doxology. The great benediction. “Now unto him who is able,” …when a believer follows these paths, when you follow these sequences – “Now God is able.”

As powerful as God is you hold the trigger that determines whether He’s able in your life! You are the key to God accomplishing all that He would through you!

Now that you have inner strength, now that you have the indwelling Christ, now that there’s incomprehensible love, now that you’re filled with internal fullness, the fullness of God, now He is able to do what?

“Exceeding abundantly above all we ask or think according to the power that works in us.” That power doesn’t work in you until now. Verse 20 does not become reality until verses 16 to 19 have been fulfilled.

God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that you ask or think. Don’t ever say, Lord, I don’t know if You can use me in this situation. He can. Beyond your dreams, infinitely beyond. When the church gathers together, it gathers with the Holy Spirit, and the power of the Lord Jesus Christ. And when it separates every believer goes out of here able to do exceeding abundantly above all that he can ask or think, if he follows the pattern right here.

Dr. J. Wilbur Chapman’s tells about a man who gave this testimony at one of his meetings:

“I got off the Pennsylvania depot as a tramp. And for a year I begged on the streets for a living. One day I touched a man on the shoulder and I said -Hey, mister, can you give me a dime? As soon as I saw his face I was shocked to see that it was my own father. I said – Father, father, do you know me? Throwing his arms around me with tears he said – Oh, my son, I found you. I’ve found you. Not only a dime, but all I have is yours. And then this man said “Men think of it, I was a tramp. I stood begging my own father for ten cents when for 18 years he had been looking for me to give me all that he was worth.”

Don’t ask your heavenly Father for a dime. Take all that He’s got to give. Don’t live as a beggar on a pittance when the resources are there to live as a king to His glory.

[1] A B Simpson (1843 – 1919) was a Canadian minister, theologian and author, who had a passion for evangelism.  He founded The Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA). Sourced from

[2] A W Tozer, The Counselor: Straight Talk about the Holy Spirit, 1990, p68.  Sourced from

[3]The word “knowledge” is epignōsis, “full knowledge, precise and correct knowledge.” “Perfect” is teleios, “mature, complete, full grown.” Expositors says: “The state at which unity is lacking is the stage of immaturity; the stage in which oneness in faith and knowledge is reached, is the state of mature manhood in Christ.” The words “mature man,” refer to the individual believer. The apostle has in mind the spiritual maturity of each saint. The words, “unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ,” further define what Paul means by the mature saint. The expression “the fullness of Christ,” refers to the sum of the qualities which make Christ what He is. These are to be imaged in the Church (1:23), and when these are in us we shall have reached our maturity and attained to the goal set before us. Thus the whole idea will be this — ‘the measure of the age, or (better) the stature, that brings with it the full possession on our side of that which Christ has to impart — the embodiment in us the members, of the graces and qualities which are in Him the Head.’ ” The term, “spiritual maturity,” as applied to a Christian, is ever a relative one, not an absolute one. Paul, in Phil. 3:12 disclaims absolute spiritual maturity, while in 3:15, he claims relative maturity of Christian experience. This process of conforming the saint to the image of Christ begins in this life in the work of the Spirit in sanctification and is never completed in eternity, for the finite can never equal the infinite nor even remotely approach to it. Christ’s perfections are so wonderful that the saints will ever bear but a dim reflection of them. This is the distance between finiteness and infinity.

Translation: Until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the experiential, full, and precise knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of the Christ. Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies – Volume 1: Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1973), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 101-102.

My journey to Mai Ayni had begun a year earlier, after Dr. Rodney Hammer and I had managed to visit the Eritrean refugee camp in Northern Ethiopia. We were burdened for the needs of the 1300 unaccompanied minors living in the camp. Because of repressive conditions and little hope for education, children aged 6-16 are leaving the Eritrea to seek hope elsewhere. In Ethiopia, most are sent to Mai Ayni. This time I was armed with the generous donations of the BR-KC Baptist Association and was teamed with some Eritreans from the United States. I joined my Eritrean friends at the airport. Tomas Solomon and Efrem Kahsai have formed a 501(c)3 in the U.S. called URER or Urgent Relief of Eritrean Refugees ( We had connected and had talked several times before meeting at the airport. Along with them was Senait Tecle, an Eritrean who wanted to see firsthand the conditions and needs of the refugees so she could report back to the organization she was an integral part of, SACS. SACS is a Christian charitable organization dedicated to advocating on behalf of all those who are in chains for their faith, as well as all other prisoners of conscience in Eritrea; advancing the cause of religious freedom in Eritrea; assisting those who are suffering hardships as a result of their persecution. SACS aspires to fulfill a command to help those in need according to James 2:15-16 – “Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?” It also serves as a voice of the persecuted church in Eritrea through its website and to “speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute; speak up and defend the rights of the poor and needy” (Prov. 31:8-9).

Tomas had conversed several times with Eritreans in the camp to see what the substantive needs were. We formed a shopping list which we decided to buy in Addis. We had flights to Shire on Friday, so my arrival on Wednesday meant we had to hurry up. We also had to arrange transportation of the goods. All this proved too much to handle in 48 hours, especially since we decided to interview some young Eritrean women who had just arrived in Addis and were going to be sent to the refugee camps. These women had endured seven months of horrors in an Egyptian prison, living on one small loaf of bread a day. Their original group of 107 trying to cross the Sinai into Israel was now only 45 due to being shot by Egyptian soldiers, dying of thirst in the Sinai, or dying in prison. These girls were only 16-25 and had already experienced such sorrow. Yet they were fortunate, for my friends (staying in Addis to buy goods) interviewed another young Eritrean refugee (named Rehal) who had been with a group in the Sinai and had been captured by Bedouins. They were tortured to plead with family and friends to raise money for their release. If they could not, they were killed and body parts removed and sold on the black market. She told my friends the body parts are worth $30,000. Rehal was only 19, and her hand was black from having been burnt with liquid plastics. Muscle was exposed. She had extreme pain from nerve damage. The Bedouins had abused her so badly that they didn’t think her parts were usable  They wrapped her in a blanket and through her out like trash in an area where wild dogs roamed. Soldiers just happened to be passing by as the dogs were attacking her unconscious body. Sent to Addis, she needs medical and psychological attention that we believe is not available in Addis Ababa.

Our concern for the children in Mai Ayni is that they receive good education and decide to stay in the camp, rather than try to make it to a European Country as these women did. The dangers are too great, and the odds of them making it are too small. This is why we returned to Mai Ayni. Through contacts in the camp, and an earlier visit in July by Yonas, a member of URER, we determined to buy the following items.

  • 8 32″ LCD TV’s
  • 8 DVD Players
  • 2 Satellite Dishes and receivers (with this there is no monthly fee)
  • Medical Supplies – Diabetes testing kits and strips, bandages and analgesics.
  • Sanitary Napkins (these are in short supply and needed for teenage girls)
  • Library reference and education books
  • Art supplies
  • 6 Electric sewing machines
  • 2 Large Self-contained stereo systems
  • 3 Desktop Computers (Dell)

I also gave the women who had been in prison (and were interviewed) $100 to share among themselves to aid in paying their way to the refugee camp. ARRA (Administration of Refugee and Returnee Affairs was only giving each of them about $25 when the bus fare alone $17). We also handed out $25 scholarships to the top 5 students in each of the grades 5th – 8th as a way to encourage the children to stay in school and excel in their studies.

My Eritrean friends stayed in Addis until Monday, buying the goods and arranging for the two day transport to Mai Ayni. We had to hold the title to the truck in order to make sure all the goods got to Mai Ayni. So I set out on my own to the Camp. I had lost my interpreters, but was amazed how God provided them every step of the way. Arriving in Shire, I discovered that ARRA had no transportation to the camp that Friday, so I decided to travel by public transportation. The three hour bus ride was a thrill, especially with the odors (hygiene is not a priority) and constant strange looks as if I was the only white man who had ever ridden the bus to Mai Ayni.

For the next four days I enjoyed no running water, rats foraging in my $3/night hotel room, and so many flies I almost got used to them. Nights were sleepless because of constant noise and calls to prayer and who knows what that was crawling across my feet. But I loved every second of being in the camp! God connected me in a miraculous way with the Elders of the Evangelistic Church. He gave me multiple opportunities to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the children in Mai Ayni and even in the town I stayed (May Sembry). I believe I witnessed to a total of 450-500 children. Many times I would hear them say He is MY God! Many others had this expression as if they had never heard of Jesus Christ. What saddens me is that the Evangelical Church has been told by the more powerful Orthodox Church NOT to evangelize the unaccompanied children of Mai Ayni. If they come to their church of their own accord, that is OK. Jo Ann Ruble and her friends had assembled 1300 “goodie” bags that I had handed out to the children at a couple times. They were quite the “draw”. So I left about 650 with the Elders of the Evangelistic Church and told the children to go to the Evangelical Church if they wanted more.

My friends arrived in the camp Monday at 5pm, and we all stayed at the guest house of the Evangelistic Church. They even cooked dinner and breakfast for us. Ermias and Efrem were two of the Elders, and want me to return and help them put on a VBS for the children. That means returning in the summer (when it is 100 degrees and humid). They would also appreciate an overhead projector and laptop so they could show Evangelistic films like the Jesus Story. They told me that many are coming to Jesus Christ in the camp. I even met one young man (Mohammed Ali) who had converted from Islam to Jesus Christ. His new name is Stephen. His wife and son are still Muslim, so he needs our prayers.

We had a big meeting with ARRA and the camp parliament (council of all the associations). They were so excited over what we had brought. They made the comment that many people visit the camp and promise to return, but never do. They really appreciated what we had done. We had so much that they decided to send some of it to Adi Harush and Shimelba.

Since the goods were displayed in public, I know they will be used in the appropriate places. In Mai Ayni, most went to the Elementary and Intermediate Schools, as well as a Youth Center in the Camp. The women’s association was going to manage the sewing machines. I was able to go to Adi Harush and meet with their Parliament. I heard a young boy shouting and running to me. It was Eben, son of Jordan, one of the women imprisoned in Egypt. They had just arrived in Adi Harush along with 60 other refugees. This camp is only 2 years old and already 22,000 Eritreans are living there.

My friends went on to Shimelba while I returned to the hot running water of the United States. With a long layover before my flight at 10PM, I decided to go into Addis and walk around. I had two dolls left which the ladies of Hickory Grove Baptist had made. I gave 5 away to young teenage girls in Mai Ayni. They lived together in one house (they were unaccompanied minors). But there were so many girls it was hard to pick a couple without causing pain to the others. In Addis, God led me to a hospital, and then to the Head Nurse. I told her what I wanted to do. The last girl she led me to was Asma, nine years old. She looked so sad until I explained the doll was hers. Then her face lit up with a beautiful smile. Then the Head Nurse explained she was dying of AIDS. My heart nearly jumped out of my chest. I could hardly hold back the tears.

Great are the needs but great is our God. Sparrows are 2 for a dollar or 5 for two dollars according to Jesus. Yet His Father knows when one of them falls to the earth. How much more valuable are these little ones to Him! Will you join me in praying for God’s Justice to reign in Eritrea, so these children and families can be united again? Will you pray with me that our State Department will put pressure on the Egyptian Government to stop the abuses of the Bedouins and their own prison system?