Overseer's Message

April 10, 2017

Dear fellow labourers in God’s vineyard,


Greetings to you all once again in the majestic and powerful name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Master. I trust that my letter finds you all well and enjoying the continued blessings of our Lord. Connie and I are happy to report that all is well with us in spite of the everyday challenges that we all face in life. Our children and grandchildren are all progressing beautifully and we are so blessed by their love and commitment to us. Truly, family is a wonderful blessing in life, and we are grateful to God for ours.


What a joy it is to be seeing the signs of spring all around us here in Pennsylvania and all over the northeast as we travel around in ministry. Before we even realize it, summer will be in full swing all around us. Let it come, let it come! As you all know by now, we were able to sell our home in Quincy, MA in September 2016. Since then, we have been looking for a home to buy in the Greenville area. Finally, just about three weeks ago, we put in an offer on a home in the town of Greenville. The offer has been accepted and closing is set for the 19th of April at noon. Thank you so much for your prayers on our behalf, both for the sale of the Massachusetts home and for us to find a home in the area rather than being tenants. Please continue to pray for us as there will be some renovating, painting and cleaning that will need to be done before we move in.


Let me also take this opportunity to remind you all that our national convention is fast drawing near. The brochures and registration forms should be in your hands by this time. Please be aware that July 5 is the cut-off date in order to take advantage of the great prices we have negotiated at the Kalahari Resort in Sandusky, Ohio. We are all looking forward to a great convention and time of fellowship in Sandusky from the 9th through 11th of August. Please do all you can to join us there with your family for a time of blessing. Be sure to keep the convention on your prayer list because nothing happens without prayer!


Once again, I want to turn our attention to the letter to the Ephesians. Here, in chapter 1:15-19, we find Paul’s prayer for the spiritual apprehension of the Ephesian believers and ultimately for all believers. This is the first of two profound prayers which he incorporates into his letter and we find that it is remarkable for the depths of its insight displayed. The opening word “wherefore” points to “the reason” or “the cause” for his thanksgiving and prayers. Because of the “spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” which he described in v3. He had heard of their faith in Jesus Christ and of their love for other believers, but he knew that such qualities may coexist with poverty of spiritual understanding and immaturity of character. For this reason, while thanking the Lord for them he assures them of his prayers for them. Not just prayers for their general blessings but specific prayers for their spiritual illumination and development.


There are actually three features of his prayer on their behalf. Number one, he prays for the illumination of the Holy Spirit in their lives. Please take note that Paul’s prayer is addressed to the “God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory,…”v17. Here we find two titles for God which are unique in the Bible. (a). “The God of our Lord Jesus Christ. We find several times in the Bible where God is described as “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ”. (Rom 15:5; 2 Cor 1:3; 11:31; Eph 1:3), but this is the only occasion where He is termed “the God of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Those who deny the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ (Arians and others), use this verse to bolster their case: if Jesus be God, they say, then why does Paul use this expression (also Matt 27:46; Jn 20:17)? Dr. Noel Brooks, one of my professors, explained it like this “The Lord Jesus Christ is both the Son of God, and servant of God. As the Son of God, God is his Father; as the servant of God, God is His God. In the expositor’s Greek testament, Salmond says, “In the eternal Godhead the Son has His life from the Father, the one fount of deity, and is subordinate in the sense in which “son” is subordinate to “Father, while He has the same divine being; (b)” The Father of Glory”. This is the only occurrence of this exact expression in the Scripture (He is referred to as “The God of glory” and “glory” is associated with Him in other ways). Only here He is called “The Father of Glory”. There is much debate about its exact meaning. A number of authors concur with the idea that God, as the Father of glory, (He) is the origin and King of all that is understood by the eternal glory. In Phil 4:19 Paul says, “My God shall supply all your needs ‘according to His riches in glory’ by Christ Jesus. “it is not possible that the title “the Father of Glory” has a similar significance in the thought of the Apostle? The prayer that he is about to offer can be richly answered because “the Father of Glory” is “rich” (plutocratic) in glory.


From this foundation, Paul prays that this God “may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him” (v17). Because the definite article is absent here in the Greek text, several versions have a different rendering, nevertheless, both the KJV and the NIV render it alike, as referring to the Holy Spirit. There is a reference to the Holy Spirit indwelling the human spirit. John Wesley says, “The same who is the Spirit of promise is also, in the progress of the faithful, the Spirit of wisdom and revelation; making them wise unto salvation, and revealing to them the deep things of God.” The word translated “wisdom” Gk “sophia” has reference to insight into the true nature of things, that ultimate knowledge that emanates from the knowledge of God (W.E. Vine; Barclay). The word “revelation” Gk “apokalypsis” refers to “unveiling’, the drawing aside of a curtain or veil, a disclosure. The word “knowledge” Gk “epignosis’ refers to full knowledge, and the phrase “the full knowledge of Him,” implies not just intellectual knowledge but deep acquaintance with God. Knowledge that flows out of deep intimate, personal relationship. Here we find one of the important ministries of the Holy Spirit as He indwells the spirit of believers. He is not just the source of power, but also the truth. He not only brings fire, but also light and understanding. He leads and guides God’s people into an ever-increasing knowledge of God the Father, not merely, theoretical knowledge, but knowledge which is experiential and personal. Sorry, it’s time to quit! I didn’t realize how much space I would need! Next time, we will look at the second feature of Paul’s prayer in v18.


We continue to hold you all up in prayer before our great and awesome God. Thank you for being faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ and the IFCA. Keep on building the Kingdom of God and exalting the name of our victorious Saviour. May you all have a blessed Easter as we celebrate the Resurrected Lord. Thank God for that cryptic message of the angel. “He is not here; for He is risen, as He said….” Matt 28:6; Mk 16:6; Lk 24:6. Until the next time we communicate, God be with you!


Yours in His Service,



Mike Player

General Overseer