Ephesians– overview of 3:1-9; tapping into the power of God, part 15.
length: 66:04 - taught on Nov, 13 2019
Wednesday, Novermber 13, 2019
“If change is going to take place, I must visualize clearly the kind of person God wants me to become, and then determine by an act of the will, by a commitment, to become that kind of person. It involves presenting myself to Him as an instrument for righteousness (ROM 6:13), as a living sacrifice (ROM 12:1), and a vessel for honor (2TI 2:21). If we aim at nothing we will hit it every time. We become what we conceive ourselves to be. Beauty comes from discovering God’s blueprint for our lives, and making a commitment to pursue it with total dedication.” [Joe Aldrich, Secrets to Inner Beauty]
We have been set free and are then no longer under law, but under the way of intrinsic goodness. Would we say that Christ was good because of the law? Would He have been bad if there was no law? He was good because He is good, and through His cross, fulfilling the law by loving His neighbor, He has brought every believer into union with Himself - making us good and making us free to prove what the will of the Lord is.
One cannot do the will of God without God’s power. Obey His will in all things and you will be empowered by God.
Hence, God has made it quite simple for us. Though we may struggle with obeying God’s commands, obedience is simple in concept and it excludes all excuses.
So, what are the believer’s duties in the present state? These cannot be determined unless we come to the decision as to the truth or untruth of God’s authority. If God is sovereign over all, then our duties to Him are the same now as they will be in the heavenly state. It is absurd to defer all consideration of duty to God to the future world; God is as much in this world as in any: and if so, our whole life, in every part of it, must be, not a secular or a part of the world’s economy, but a godly life - a life we live well and can only live well when we live it in communion with Him, His mind and His way.
“Faith is that God given ability to take the promises of God out of mothballs and apply them to the challenges of everyday living. Men of faith dream God-sized dreams and then move out to transform those dreams into reality.” [Joe Aldrich]
The mind that can divide life into duties of the present and duties that concern the future entirely misapprehends the teaching of Christianity, and misconceives what life is.
To do our duty at all times in light of heaven is to do them to our best, owing to the presence and accepting the gracious, sanctifying influences of the Holy Spirit. A secular man may do some things better than I, though I do them by the power of the Spirit, but he does not do them as well as he could.
Watch Paul’s use of power in 2Co 4. It is his faith and his faith’s proclivity to doing God’s will where he finds power.
2CO 3:17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
2CO 3:18 But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.
2CO 4:1 Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we received mercy, we do not lose heart,
2CO 4:2 but we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.
Paul and the men and women involved in his ministry (ultimately meaning all of us) were given a ministry, but not a ministry alone. It was a ministry, and the Holy Spirit, and mercy. They didn’t do everything perfectly, they weren’t sinless, but they had the mercy of God through the forgiveness of God and so they did not lose heart. If they did everything right and everything worked out great there would be no temptation to ‘lose heart.’
Paul first came to Corinth after dismal failure in Athens. Not that Paul failed sinfully, but that the gospel failed to find many believers. In Athens, Paul had tried to meet the Athenians on their own ground, showing his familiarity with their gods and their writers. The failure of the Athenians to believe remained with Paul as he entered the city of Corinth weak and dispirited.
And in Corinth, rather than appealing to what he knew of their culture, he tells them, “I determined to know nothing among you except Christ crucified.”
1CO 2:1 And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God.
The gospel does not make its appeal to wisdom. The gospel also doesn’t offer a superficial persuasion. The gospel is the very power of God to save.
1CO 2:2 For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.
1CO 2:3 And I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling.
1CO 2:4 And my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,
1CO 2:5 that your faith should not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.
In the Greek world that Paul had been ministering to for months, his efforts made a deep impression on him. He himself saw so clearly the foolishness of the cross; he quickly came to know very well that a field of mockery was presented to the Greek mind by preaching of a salvation through a crucified Person. Even Paul’s appearance he knew, to them who venerated their young strong men in the games, was weak and contemptable. Yet, all things considered, Paul made up his mind to trust his success to the simple statement, “Christ and Him crucified.”
There is power in weakness, not sinful weakness, but in abandonment of the fallen world’s perceived secular power. The cross is the epitome of this.
And this message met with great success.