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Ephesians; 1:3 – every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies, part 12.

EPHESIANS-1-181023
length: 63:32 - taught on Oct, 23 2018
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Class Outline:

Tuesday October 23, 2018

 

For faith to mature, the believer has to set about obeying God. And be ready:

 

The believer committed to total obedience will discover some truths about himself: He’s really bad at obeying, bad at virtue, bad at self-control.

 

There is a silly notion that good people don’t know anything about temptation. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is. A man who gives into temptation in five minutes doesn’t know what it is like to resist for an hour.

 

Bad people actually know very little about badness. Always giving in, they have lived a sheltered life. We will never know the strength of the flesh until we fight it with Christ at our side.

 

And we will never know the power of Christ that can clothe us if we don’t fight the flesh with everything we have with Christ at our side.

 

The chief example is Paul’s thorn in the flesh, which he would have rather had removed than fight against its temptations.

 

1CO 15:9 For I am the least of the apostles, who am not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.

 

1CO 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.

 

1CO 15:11 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.

 

We cannot remain immature. The spiritually mature deal with reality with the power of the word of God and the Holy Spirit. The immature try to live in their own fantasy. 

 

All children live in fantasy at times. It is right for them to do so. Some people cling to the fantasy. The demand that their world put them in the center and give to them all that they want. They decide to do whatever it takes to maintain their childhood world. Since this is impossible because it is not reality, they either act out or internalize. They may turn to drugs, alcohol, or other things that distract, numb, or consume them in a false world.

 

Christ told us to be like children in faith, but not in our minds. He told us to be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.

 

MAT 10:16

“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; therefore be shrewd as serpents, and innocent as doves.”

 

When we begin our journey as believers, elected and predestined, we all form an image in our minds of what Christianity is, and all of us are wrong in some way, simply because we don’t know as of yet what Christlike actually is.

 

The Christ way of life is more restrictive and difficult than what we first imagine. In some ways it is more difficult than our false idea and in other ways it is infinitely better. We must not cling to our false idea. We must accept all the truth concerning the life of Christ and set our hearts to obeying all of it. We must not alter the Christian life to fit our fantasy, which would make us unfit just as a physical adult is unfit for life if he strives to keep his life in  his childhood fantasy.

 

Even the child Jesus had to mature so as to deal with reality.

 

LUK 2:40 And the Child continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.

 

EPH 4:14 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming;

 

EPH 4:15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ,

 

EPH 4:16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.

 

Children are easily swayed by falsehood when it cleverly promises them an easier more delightful way.

 

1PE 2:1 Therefore, putting aside all malice and all guile and hypocrisy and envy and all slander,

 

1PE 2:2 like newborn babes, long for the pure milk of the word, that by it you may grow in respect to salvation,

 

1PE 2:3 if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.

 

By longing for the word, you will accept its truth and not try to mold it to your own desires, which would be longing for your desires above the word.

 

The context of Peter’s “Therefore, putting aside … and grow …” is obedience, action, and fear of God. Maturity is facing reality with open eyes and divine power.

 

Notice Peter’s context when he writes “Therefore, putting aside.”

 

1PE 1:13 Therefore, gird your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

 

1PE 1:14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance,

 

1PE 1:15 but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior;

 

1PE 1:16 because it is written, "You shall be holy, for I am holy."

 

1PE 1:17 And if you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each man's work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay upon earth;

 

Mature thinking is to know that we are accountable to God solely on His terms, and those terms are impartial. The immature want the law to bend to their whim and fancy.

 

1PE 1:18 knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers,

 

1PE 1:19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.

 

We are to always know that we have been purchased and set free by God through the blood of Christ. By means of an enormous price, we belong to Him alone.

 

1PE 1:20 For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you

 

1PE 1:21 who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

 

1PE 1:22 Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart,

 

1PE 1:23 for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and abiding word of God.

 

1PE 1:24 For,

"All flesh is like grass,

And all its glory like the flower of grass.

The grass withers,

And the flower falls off,

 

1PE 1:25 But the word of the Lord abides forever."

And this is the word which was preached to you.

 

So, grow up:

 

1PE 2:1 Therefore, putting aside all malice and all guile and hypocrisy and envy and all slander,

 

1PE 2:2 like newborn babes, long for the pure milk of the word, that by it you may grow in respect to salvation,

 

1PE 2:3 if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.

 

2PE 3:17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard lest, being carried away by the error of unprincipled men, you fall from your own steadfastness,

 

2PE 3:18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

 

Mature faith is faith more frequently in the doctrines of the word of God and facing reality head on with truth.

 

Maturity is character. It is not behaving a certain way in some situations. It is being a certain type of person.

 

The Christian way of life, a life with the spiritual blessings from the Father as life’s center, is not an exam. It is not a graded paper or a bargain with God - if you hold up your end, He’ll hold up His.

 

God desires His children to be of a certain type - divine character. It’s a transformation rather than doing things for the sake of doing.

 

God is not concerned with our actions per se. If all He wanted was good actions in a sort of contest with Satan against his bad actions in which the highest score wins, then God could have sent the good angels and won handily. God wants men of a certain character. And it is divine character that the spiritual blessings make, while the material blessings only make characters, or shall we really call them caricatures or cartoons.

 

This does not mean that it doesn’t matter how many bad decisions I make. I cannot say, against Paul’s warning, “We’re under grace so let’s continue in sin.”

 

Bad decisions and sin do not produce divine character. It is grabbing hold of the spiritual blessings, loving them, and living in them that produces character and transforms the mind so that we may prove what the will of God is.

 

The type of believer God desires is a mature one. A mature one understands that he is forever worthless and bankrupt before God, that God works through Him invisibly, that the spiritual blessings are the center of his life, that he is to use the material and worldly things in his life in the proper way, that he is to be filled with the Spirit and thus produce the Spirit’s fruit, that God the Father is his Father, and that God the Son is his Brother, and … many more things than these.

 

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