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Ephesians overview – 3:14-19, part 40: Inner man; the good heart.

EPHESIANS-1-200526
length: 69:20 - taught on May, 26 2020
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Class Outline:

Tuesday May 26, 2020

 

“The life the Lord came to give us is a life exceeding that of the highest undivine man by far more than the life of that man exceeds the life of the least human animal.” [George MacDonald, Your Life in Christ]

 

Christ told us to pick up our crosses and follow Him. The lie throughout the world is that His cross is too heavy to bear. But none of those who spread that lie, nor those who believe it, have ever picked it up.

 

Many haven’t picked up Christ’s cross because God does not allow us to only pick up a portion of it. It has to be the whole thing, which is complete commitment. We have to die to ourselves, to our will outside of the Father’s, just like Christ did. This is the great challenge faced by every believer. We are made sons in a moment when we believed in Christ as our Savior, but to be like the Son of God in life takes complete commitment of faith. Then we find the truth, that the cross that we picked up was actually easy and light. No one knows this who hasn’t picked it up.

 

MAT 11:28-30

"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 "Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls.  30 "For My yoke is easy, and My load is light."

 

When the ignorant soul hears of what is called “eternal life,” he thinks of it only in the sense of duration, as an endless elongation of consciousness. What God means by it, however, is to live as a being like His own, a being beyond the attack of decay or death, a being with a divine nature, which is a oneness and perfect harmony with love, joy, peace, and goodness.

 

LUK 6:20-26: Blessed are you who hunger, weep, are hated for His sake. All things in our lives are under God’s authority. We never seek our own way.

 

LUK 6:20-26

And turning His gaze on His disciples, He began to say, "Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. 21 "Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. 22 "Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and cast insults at you, and spurn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man. 23 "Be glad in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for in the same way their fathers used to treat the prophets. 24 "But woe to you who are rich, for you are receiving your comfort in full. 25 "Woe to you who are well-fed now, for you shall be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep. 26 "Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for in the same way their fathers used to treat the false prophets.

 

This first part is obedience to God in all things, which will cause us to go without in certain cases. Not every good Christian of the early church starved to death, or wallowed in the severest poverty, or was martyred, though some of them did. All Christians with good hearts sacrifice many things and so have less then they otherwise would have. Again, this is obedience in all things.

 

We have nothing on earth, not even rights when God determines it to be so and we suffer unjustly, but we do have Him, and for that reason we are all superabundantly rich.

 

Christ’s life, which He gave to us, is truly supernatural. And here is another proof of its miracle: that something so supernatural should have become so natural. What I mean is that anything so unique when seen from the outside should only seem universal when seen from the inside.

 

It is only in the minds of the unbeliever that think our faith and our commitment to the life of a Man we claim to be God is so incredulous and foolish. On the other side of the narrow door, as much as heaven in the holiness of Christ is so unknown to us as believers, when we see it, we think it normal.

 

We may look upon these things that Christ tells us to do as beyond the world and on a heavenly plain, but no Christian looks upon them as ludicrous, though the world they are just that.

 

Commitment to the life of Christ frees God to transform our hearts.

 

When we can perfectly and truly say with Christ, “Your will be done,” we give our lives into His hands and make our experienced life a part of the divine organism and the life of the Father and Son will flow through it. It is the spirit of the perfect child toward the perfect Father.

 

LUK 6:27-34

"But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 "Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either. 30 "Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back. 31 "And just as you want people to treat you, treat them in the same way. 32 "And if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 "And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 "And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, in order to receive back the same amount.

 

Vs. 34 “what (humin) you?”

 

MAT 5:47 “what (perissos) superabundant/extraordinary”

 

Jesus asks: “What are you?”

 

Matthew: “If you greet your brothers only.”

 

Luke: “If you love those who love you… If you do good to those who do good to you … If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive … what (humin) are you?”

 

He says “Sinners lend to sinners to receive as much again.” He uses isos (as much, same amount), implying that this is even without interest. This is a beautifully hidden aspect to this message. The world of fallen men, sinners, will do things for each other that have a semblance of God’s love, as in lending without interest. And they say, “This is good what we are doing. It is good enough.” But Christ is from heaven and the new men that He made through His death and resurrection are also heavenly. EPH 1:3 states that we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies. Being from heaven, we are not kinder or nicer versions of the old men, but the new men who are like Christ, and they love, and greet, and do good, and lend to all who are in need.

 

“The life of Christ is this - negatively, that He does nothing, cares for nothing for His own sake, and positively, that He cares with His whole soul for the will and pleasure of His Father.” [George MacDonald, The Creation in Christ]

 

Without having Christ to give us His life through His own self-denial and fidelity to the will of the Father, none of us would have ever chosen a life of self-denial. “To will, not from self, but with the Eternal, is to live.” [MacDonald, ibid]

 

PHI 2:8

And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

 

LUK 6:35-38

"But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. 36 "Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. 37 "And do not judge and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned. 38 "Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, they will pour into your lap. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return."

 

The reward: “you will be kind to ungrateful men.” You will act like sons of the Most High, experiencing the life of Christ.

 

JON 3:4

Then Jonah began to go through the city one day's walk; and he cried out and said, "Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown."

 

Unrepentant prophet vs. repentant idolaters.

 

Jonah hated the Ninevites. His evangelistic message to the city was comprised of 5 Hebrew words. He doesn’t shout out what their sins are. He doesn’t even mention the name of Yavah or the Elohim of Israel. His heart wasn’t in it. He did the least for fear that the Ninevites might repent.

 

JON 4:1-4

But it greatly displeased Jonah, and he became angry. 2 And he prayed to the Lord and said, "Please Lord, was not this what I said while I was still in my own country? Therefore, in order to forestall this I fled to Tarshish, for I knew that Thou art a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity. 3 "Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for death is better to me than life." 4 And the Lord said, "Do you have good reason to be angry?"

 

JON 3:4

Then Jonah began to go through the city one day's walk; and he cried out and said, "Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown."

 

“overthrown” - haphak = to turn, overturn, change, transform, or turn back. The prophet resisted God and Nineveh turned toward Him.

 

Jonah wanted the city to be thrown upside down while the actual characters were turned upside down. The prophet should have been depending on the compassion and steadfast love of God, but instead the enemy did.

 

As far as we see in the story related, Jonah never relented. He got angry at God again when the shade tree that God had given him had died.

 

JON 4:9-11

Then God said to Jonah, "Do you have good reason to be angry about the plant?" And he said, "I have good reason to be angry, even to death." 10 Then the Lord said, "You had compassion on the plant for which you did not work, and which you did not cause to grow, which came up overnight and perished overnight. 11 "And should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know the difference between their right and left hand, as well as many animals?"

 

And there the book ends without a response from Jonah. Was he mad at God for the rest of his life? And so, when we come to the end of it, we find that though the story is about the prophet Jonah, it is more so about us. God is compassionate and full of lovingkindness to His enemy, but are we? Do we desire to witness the destruction of evil men above a desire to see them repent and be saved by faith? The Book of Jonah is a call to love your enemies.

 

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