Friday, June 6, 2014

Prisoner of Christ (Ephesians 3:1-13, Galatians 5:22-23, Phil. 1:21-26)

Ocean Grove, New Jersey
"God's square mile"

© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.

Ephesians 3:1-13

1 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles— 2 if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, 3 how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, 4 by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ),
Paul is calling himself, "the prisoner of Christ Jesus" for us.  I wondered how Jesus could make him a prisoner when He came to set us free.  Then 2 things came to mind:  
  1. When Jesus blinded Paul to get his attention, it was like a prison for 3 days. That's something it would be hard to forget.  He had received holy reverence for Jesus.  This pulling us aside and causing us to do a sacred search of our souls and values isn't common today.  I admit sometimes my prayers are a quick to do list for God rather than soul searching and worship.  I think the monks were really good at this even having times of quiet without speaking.  This would be nearly impossible for me : )
  2. The other thing I see here is Paul admitting he is a prisoner of love.  After I first experienced the fruit of His Spirit I was captivated.  Joy is so awesome!  It's just one fruit which Paul describes in Galatians:
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self- control. Against such there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23 NKJV)
In Philippians, The Apostle Paul is enjoying his ministry so much he's content serving the Lord.  Yet longing to be with Jesus.  I can understand that to an extent.  We've never known anything but earth, so some of the descriptions of Heaven are hard to grasp.  So glad He gave us the Holy Spirit so we could get a taste of Heaven on earth. 
21 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 For I am hard- pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. 24 Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you. 25 And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith, 26 that your rejoicing for me may be more abundant in Jesus Christ by my coming to you again.
(Philippians 1:21-26 NKJV)
The other thing to note is in AD60-62 Paul was literally in a Roman prison.  Even through his suffering, he was able to give us these letters.
5 which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: 6 that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel, 7 of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power.
At one time it was believed the Messiah, "Jesus," would only come for the Jews.  Most of us are Gentiles, those who are not born Jewish.  It was believed that the Messiah would slay all of Israel's enemies and set them free.  Israel has endured so much.  I've heard some Jews say they are only tormented because they are the chosen ones.  satan and his darkness doesn't tolerate light.  Light reveals the truth and extinguishes darkness.

8 To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; 10 to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, 11 according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him. 13 Therefore I ask that you do not lose heart at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.
(Ephesians 3:1-13 NKJV)

There is a Christian section of the Jersey Shore here.  It is privately owned by the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association.  Unfortunately, our tax dollars didn't pay for the restoration of the boardwalk after Hurricane Sandy.  My husband and I were there the other day and noticed it's not up yet.  We don't have a lot of money so I thought I could pray feel free to join me if you like.

Dear Heavenly Father,
I lift up Ocean Grove to You.  I pray You will help them get enough money to restore the whole boardwalk.  I thank You for the wooden cross on the beach, and how You protected the people, hotels and buildings.  We are grateful for a beautiful place to have baptisms and Christian concerts.  Thank You for all the wonderful blessings we have received.  
In Jesus Name,

Here's the link to the Ocean Grove site.  You can see how beautiful it is : )
Here's a song from Natalie Grant, "Your Great Name" (link)


  1. Hi Karen,
    I stand in agreement with your prayer for Ocean Grove and ask Father please provide what is needed to restore the, laborers both paid and volunteer, supplies and many more people praying and praying for this work to be done. In the name of Jesus Christ amen.


  2. Thank you Child of God, I really appreciate it : ) I'm sure the Lord will help them work this out.
    God bless!

  3. Dear Heavenly Father- I pray in agreement with child of God. I thank You for the Jersey Shore and this place that has been set aside for You. I pray You will provide all the needs.
    In Jesus Name, Amen.