#5 Broken Teeth and Lame Feet Cripple a Body!

Broken Teeth and Lame Feet Cripple a Body!

When Jesus was on earth in bodily form, He was somewhat restrained geographically. In other words, while he was in Nazareth, He couldn’t touch someone in Jerusalem. Of course the kingdom’s power transcended time and space with some of His miracles. He spoke and the centurion’s servant was healed long distance. He spoke and a four day dead man walked out of the tomb. But for the most part, if He wasn’t there, it didn’t get done.


Looking back, we can see God’s plans and purposes for this time-frame known as the church age; His intent was that the church would function as His body. Once people are born again, the Holy Spirit of God comes to live within them, and collectively, that group of people known as the church becomes the body of Christ.


Jesus said that It was expedient (a good thing) that He go back to the Father; for if He didn’t go, then the comforter couldn’t come. The comforter is the Holy Spirit of God, and if you are a born again believer, He lives in your heart, which makes you a part of the body of Christ.


So the church is His body, it isn’t a building or a denomination, it’s an organism. It’s a global organism made up of people from every nation. This intricately arrayed organism accomplishes His will, through His Spirit, all over the world—there is no geographic restraint in the church age, because God’s Spirit is strategically located globally. God’s just looking for His people to be available and function according to His purposes and plans.


As I was writing, I thought about the Sermon on the Mount. I thought about the crowds thronging this new Rabbi who was previously unknown named Jesus. I thought about how bright His light must have shined in the midst of their darkness, how His light was such a new hope that contrasted the extorting and blinding religion of the Pharisees, which had kept the people from the truth. What clothes did this crowd wear? How did their countenance appear? Was He viewing saddened faces of despair that were spiritually hungry? Is that what ignited the words of His teaching…the poor in spirit…those that mourn…the meek…were they hungry and thirsty for His righteousness and desperate to know God?


Then the light of the world given by God to darkened man tells them that they are salt and light. Already, in His first message, He is preparing those that will follow Him to be His body once He’s gone, because His light in them will bring continued light into this darkened place and their saltiness will preserve this fallen world and make others thirsty for righteousness.


When the people of God begin to reflect His hope and glory in the midst of this pain riddled world, it makes the people around them thirsty for the things of God. When the body of Christ allows the light of Jesus to shine out of them, it begins to illuminate a path of righteousness for others to see. But if the salt loses its savor, it loses its function, and its purpose becomes useless. Unsavory salt will make no one thirsty, it’s lost its function, it’s useless, throw it out and let it be trampled under the foot of men.


In a similar fashion, the light of the body of Christ is like a lighted city on a hill. In ancient times weary travelers had to hike the dangerous rocky crags of the Jordan rift system, and from afar, a glimmer of hope lied ahead, elevated illuminated cities showed the way. Surely, as long as they saw the light, there was hope in their hearts. But if that light be hidden under a basket, it’s lost its purpose. It no longer functions and the travelers are lost.


Likewise, the functioning of this organism known as the body of Christ requires that its body parts operate according to their proper function. The body of Christ must emulate the person of Christ, and when the church acts like the world instead of Jesus, it becomes a crippled body, with broken teeth and lame feet. In other words, instead of bringing healing, like a broken tooth, it brings pain; and instead of carrying the gospel to the lost, like a lame foot, it loses its function.


Ephesians 1:19-21
And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us- ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:

Last week the emphasis on the passage revolved around the people of God being able to see spiritually. There were three things the Holy Spirit wanted God's people to see, but the last one we covered was the awesome power that God gives to those believers who are in Christ.
The power spoken of is directly related to the resurrection. It should be understood that the cross and the resurrection represent one event where the forces of evil were overcome. Jesus' offering of Himself as the spotless Lamb of God, paid humanity's sin debt in full; therefore, death had no right to hold Jesus in the grave.
The resurrection proves that Jesus has conquered death, hell, and the grave. It's true to the naked eye that it appears this victory was not secured because we see death and dying all around. We are currently in a time-frame that scholars call the "already- not yet." In other words, Satan's kingdom was defeated at Calvary, the resurrection proves it, but the physical fulfillment of the kingdom of the Christ lies somewhere near on the horizon. A similar concept is that David was anointed king as a teenage boy; however, the manifestation of his kingdom didn't occur until approximately 20 years later. Some may say, “I need further proof. I don’t see any of God’s power working; instead, all I see is chaos and confusion.” For this person, my response is that God’s presence is resident and active in the lives of His true believers, and through them, according to the working of His mighty power, He is progressively moving forward with His plan.
Hebrews 2:8-9
hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.


The purpose of this time-frame is for believer's, empowered by the resurrection dunamis of the slain Lamb, to do the work of the kingdom. It is beholden on the regenerate man (born again believer) to be about his Father's business. But there is a day upon the horizon where this present age will be physically brought to an end, and the Lamb of God will rule upon this earth in physical form (Revelation 20:4, 6).
So as we transition into verse 22, we must be reminded of God's power given to us "In Christ." This power is necessary as the church functions within this "already- not yet" time-frame; for the forces we will face in this battle are powerful.
The text says: Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion...

The power that is resident in the resurrected one, which same power resides in us through the moving and operation of the Holy Spirit, is far above principalities and powers, might and dominions. Who is Paul referring to with these words?
We will cover some of these concepts in detail when we get to chapter 6, but briefly, the word principality is arche in Greek, which means chief or first in order; just a couple verses down, the word prince is used to describe Satan. Jesus used this same word three times in the gospel of John to refer to Satan, as the prince/ archon. Obviously this word is a variant of arche, which is where we build the word archangel. What this means is that Satan is the chief ruler of this current evil age; more specifically, the realm that he rules is within the sphere of unredeemed man.
Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion...
Anyway, the idea is that Satan, his power ([exousia]- the word power here is used in chapter 6 and refers to demon spirits), his might (dunamis), and his dominion (kingdoms) he has ruled, have been defeated through Calvary, and are awaiting their judgment. The point for the believer is that he understand at least three things: (1) "In Christ," we have victory over the archon {the prince} and exousia {demons} (2) "In Christ," we are the vessels God chooses to inhabit in order to accomplish His will upon this fallen earth (3) "In Christ,” we have been given the power we need to overcome the evil one.
Ephesians 1:22-23
And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

In these two verses, the emphasis surrounds the relationship of Jesus' power to His church, through HIS victory, all things, all powers have been placed under His feet, which signifies supremacy and ultimate authority. Personally, I can visualize Jesus' foot on the throat of the dragon right here; nevertheless, another thought of supremacy is that Jesus is the head; furthermore, He is the head of a body, and the body is the church.
Now, we have discussed this multiple times, but the word church is ekklesia, meaning called out ones. It must be understood that the church isn't a building or an organization; rather, it's an organism. The church (ekklesia- called out ones) is a functioning organism making up Christ's body upon the earth through the energy or power of the Holy Spirit, which is made available to the believer because of his righteous position given "In Christ."
Jesus is the head of this body. He supplies the power and the plans for its purposes and function upon the earth. Through the written word and the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus completes His work upon this earth during this "already- not yet" time frame.
This thought will be expanded upon in a couple of chapters, but let the title of tonight's message ring loud in the ears of the hearers: Broken Teeth and Lame Feet Cripple a Body!
Proverbs 25:19
Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble
is like a broken tooth
(painful), and a foot out of joint (can’t function properly).


In other words, when the body of Christ doesn’t function like it’s supposed to, the work of God is hindered in some way. It’s not operating at capacity. No one wants to be responsible for their own actions; rather, they would prefer to live their lives the way they want, pretending that their daily decisions don’t have consequences for the kingdom of God. I’m sorry that is a lie. Every time we, who call ourselves “Christian,” make a decision contrary to God’s will, there is a result.


Many times our decisions are made based upon selfish motives, but the results don’t just affect us, they affect countless others. For instance, let’s pretend for a moment that we are having a hard time getting our flesh under control. We’re irritated with others and just don’t have any patience with anyone at work. Many times this will result in the believer thinking his problem is the work place, resulting in the frustrated believer wanting to run in another direction to solve the problem, but the problem isn’t the environment; instead, the problem is the believer’s perception of his situation. This person is viewing their circumstances from their own eyes instead of God’s, from their own desires instead of God’s.


By the way this can also be true for relationships, whether they are marital or companionship in nature, and once the decision is made to move on, countless people are affected, the witness left the building. I understand that God moves witnesses and brings new ones, but we are supposed to be making sure that the decisions we make, as His body, are lining up with His will. Other scenarios can be attitudinal. When we behave or respond a certain way to people, we either bless them, giving them a positive perception about the kingdom of God, or we offend them and give them a negative perception about the kingdom of God. The salt just lost its flavor, the light was dimmed, the tooth was broken, and the foot’s out of joint.


Just as humans require body parts that are wholly functional in order to operate at capacity and accomplish work in the physical realm, the organism known as the church operates at capacity when its individual parts work in unison as it carries out the orders from the head, which is Christ.
There is so much that could be said here; yet, there is so little time to say it. But let's try an abbreviated version.
First, without a proper understanding of God's word, the body is void of knowledge regarding proper function to begin with. This problem can have multiple reasons for its existence-- a couple are: (1) the believer refuses to study to show themselves approved (2) the preacher doesn't properly teach the scriptures from God's perspective; instead, he teaches them from a mindset that wants to meet the people where they are instead of the mindset of bringing the people where God is.
But one other main thought that comes to mind is this question: what is unity? Is unity of the body where we all gather around the campfire, sing songs, and tell each other what a wonderful job we're doing for God's kingdom? True unity surrounds our holding to the gospel of faith?
Ephesians 4:13
Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

1 Corinthians 1:10
Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

When a person is born again from the dead and begins to gain a revelation that daily faith in the finished work of Christ provides a standing of righteousness before God, allowing the believer access into the presence of God, allowing the believer fellowship with the presence of God, a deep work is begun in the heart of that man.
This New Testament believer is being properly positioned within the body and is now receiving its signals from the head. The thought here is similar to the anatomy and physiology of the human body. There are sensory and motor pathways that send and receive signals from the brain to the body parts resulting in action. But if there is a body part severed from the whole, that body part can't receive its proper signal; therefore, it can't operate as it’s supposed to.
It would be like a severed hand lying on the ground trying to hand a Christian tract to an individual two blocks away, it has no feet to get there, and it has no mouth to speak with. While there is the chance that a passerby may happen upon this isolated hand and receive the tract, the separated hand is not as effective because it's in disunion, it's in disunity from the body. Also, worth mentioning, it becomes obvious at some point that something isn't right. My point is that a hand is supposed to be a part of a larger whole in the same way that a Christian is supposed to be a part of the body of Christ. And when there is a person in isolation unable to coincide with anyone, there is a problem. All these scenarios are just a couple everyday examples of broken teeth and disjointed feet affecting the proper operation of the body of Christ upon this earth.
…Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

He wants to fill His body (the church) with Himself, so He can operate through them.


Ephesians 2:1-3 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
These three verses are rich with details, but the main thought shouldn't be missed: there is a juxtaposing of two thoughts here when these verses are viewed in light of what we've been studying. In other words, a comparison and contrast is taking place between the redeemed (believers) and the unredeemed (unbelievers).
What's being compared and contrasted is God's plan for humanity compared to the current fallen order of things. In the first part of Ephesians, we learned that we were adopted of God. Once again, God is in the process of creating an eternal family. Entrance into this family comes by way of birth. While it’s true the terminology adoption was used, and in that sense likely refers to the differences in God's plan regarding Old and New covenants and Jew versus Gentile believers; nevertheless, entrance into the kingdom or family of God, comes through a new birth in Christ.
Upon faith in the plan of God, the believer is born again and sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. The Holy Spirit makes your heart His home, and you become the temple of God, the dwelling place where the God of the universe performs His day to day operations, even the body of Christ.
So the born again believer is being led by the Holy Spirit as he travels his pilgrimage, and this thought is being contrasted to our new thought: …the spirit of the air that is working in the children of disobedience.


Ephesians 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

Those that are born again are born out of the world system, and while they were previously dead in sin because they were separated from the life of God, now they've been quickened or given life through their connection to Jesus.
The words trespasses and sins have specific meanings.
Trespasses- describe a wandering from the right path. This is descriptive of a lifestyle walking in opposition to God's will.
The context of this verse related this thought to unbelievers, but how often are churches filled with people whose journey is heading in the opposite direction from God's will?
Sins- this word means to miss the mark. The idea is a spear-man missing the bull’s eye. The thought for everyday life is that there is right and wrong, and wrong choices miss the mark of God.


While the first describes chronic behavior, the second describes acute failures along the way, and the person walking the path of the first word, will repeatedly perform the works of the second.
Ephesians 2:2
Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:


As human beings we all have one thing in common: we've all walked "according to the course of this world." The hope is that we no longer are. While we will certainly miss the mark because of our frail humanity, we shouldn’t be constantly failing in the same area time and again.
From being born in Adam until being born again in Christ, we walked the course of the world. We were enslaved to the prince of the power of the air. As mentioned earlier, Jesus called Satan the prince of this world. Satan is the chief ruler of this fallen age of sin, but he is not sovereign-- God is in control. Furthermore, notice the words...the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
The people that are bound by the kingdom of Satan are those who are unredeemed. The born again Christian is no longer under the power of Satan's kingdom. Unfortunately, if the preacher doesn’t preach the gospel for the way God wrote it, believers will not be equipped to travel the freedom path; sadly, they won’t even know it’s there even though it’s in the very book they’re reading. The same thing happened to the Pharisees, who were reading and searching but never seeing (John 5:39, 40).
The spirit that works disobedience is synonymous with the spirit of antichrist spoken of in:
1 John 4:3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God:and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
It should be understood that the spirit of antichrist is the spiritual power that Satan exerts over God's creation humanity, which was made possible through Adam's fall. From the beginning of his associations with the human race, he has been a seductress.
I use the feminine form of the word because the book of Revelation calls his lying false system of religion a harlot that causes humanity to live in a state of intoxication and fornication (Revelation 17:1-6). Proverbs seven gives a good rendering of how this seductive spirit operates within the hearts and minds of God’s people. This spirit uses beauty and sensuality, religion and carnality, in order to entice and seduce the people of God into bed with it, and the whole time it’s a trap, a snare to entrap, a leading to the slaughter house to destroy.
This spirit has been seducing and usurping from the garden, through Babel's corporate rebellion, and will not stop until Jesus destroys him with the sword of His mouth. We should be reminded that a couple weeks back we discussed the fact that the family of God isn't only Father and children, but it's also Bridegroom and bride, and there is nothing that will ruin a marriage faster than the presence of a harlot in the house.
…worketh in the children of disobedience:
Philippians 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

The word "worketh" is energeo in the Greek. Just as the spirit of antichrist is influencing the unredeemed to do the works of his kingdom, God, through the Holy Spirit, gives us the desire to accomplish His work.
We will complete this thought next week, but the ability of Satan to operate in humanity is related to the inherent sinful nature man receives from Adam; whereas, the redeemed have been spiritually transformed, becoming partakers of a new nature, and receiving new desires from God (Ezekiel 36: 25-27; 2 Peter 1:4).