Ephesians– overview of 3:2-13; The Mystery revealed and the purpose of God accomplished, part 3.
Wednesday December 4, 2019
In his book Secrets to Inner Beauty, Joe Aldrich writes: “Just for the fun of it, let’s write a want add to see if we get any recruits for servanthood.
Wanted: Men and women who will share their lives with a man named Jesus. He will be a permanent guest, and will expect to be waited upon. Your responsibility will be to see that He every need is met.
1. When He is tired, you will see to it that provisions are made for His rest and relaxation. It will involve washing His feet frequently.
2. When He needs encouragement, you will be sensitive and provide it.
3. When He wants to talk, you will always be available to listen, to share in His joys and sorrows.
4. Should He need food at any hour, regardless of how weary you are, your responsibility is to provide it with a proper spirit.
5. This job will demand that you set aside your life and commit yourself to live for Him.
1. The satisfaction of His presence.
2. The availability of His resources. He’s reputed to be a very wealthy man.
3. The prospect of having Him serve you in eternity.
Luk 12:22 And He said to His disciples, "For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat; nor for your body, as to what you shall put on.
Luk 12:23 "For life is more than food, and the body than clothing.
Luk 12:24 "Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; and they have no storeroom nor barn; and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds!
Luk 12:25 "And which of you by being anxious can add a single cubit to his life's span?
Luk 12:26 "If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why are you anxious about other matters?
Luk 12:27 "Consider the lilies, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory did not clothe himself like one of these.
Luk 12:28 "But if God so arrays the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you, O men of little faith!
Luk 12:29 "And do not seek what you shall eat, and what you shall drink, and do not keep worrying.
Luk 12:30 "For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; but your Father knows that you need these things.
Luk 12:31 "But seek for His kingdom, and these things shall be added to you.
Luk 12:32 "Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.
Luk 12:33 "Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves purses which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near, nor moth destroys.
Luk 12:34 "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Luk 12:35 "Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps alight.
Luk 12:36 "And be like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that they may immediately open the door to him when he comes and knocks.
Luk 12:37 "Blessed are those slaves whom the master shall find on the alert when he comes; truly I say to you, that he will gird himself to serve, and have them recline at the table, and will come up and wait on them.
Luk 12:38 "Whether he comes in the second watch, or even in the third, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves.
Luk 12:39 "And be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have allowed his house to be broken into.
Luk 12:40 "You too, be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect."
Jesus said that whoever receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me, Joh 13:20.
There is no higher calling than a chosen son of God sent to serve his Father’s purpose.
2Ti 1:9 who has saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity,
2Ti 1:10 but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,
God’s purpose for the world was centered on mankind. If we could take all of God’s purposes and concentrate them down to one main purpose:
God’s purpose – to create man in His image, but not forced upon man as it initially was in the Garden of Eden, but an image chosen by man, loved by him, and producing within him the deepest gratitude.
By choosing the image of God in Christ Jesus, man becomes a participant in it. When it becomes his by choice, he becomes a part of it. All who will dwell in heaven have chosen it, while all who dwell in hell have rejected it.
God’s purpose in everything, all history of the universe, was to make man of a certain type – the image of God.
The Son of God comes into the world and reveals God, but in so doing, He also reveals what man is to be. He dies in order to give anyone who will put their faith in Him that very life.
What is the type of man that God has purposed? He is eternal, righteous, holy, blameless, just, wise, understanding, insanely rich spiritually, powerful, disciplined, filled with hope, confident, forgiven, filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control; who doesn’t judge others, forgives, is exceedingly gracious, virtuous, always growing, akin to God in everything, obedient to God in everything, in love with God forever, walking by the Holy Spirit.
I’m sure I could add more, but in a fast description, that is the purpose of God for all history – to make such men, and it is no coincidence that Jesus was just that type of man. He gave us His life.
Phi 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.
Phi 4:9 The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things; and the God of peace shall be with you.
Now, this type of life is far stricter and far more sacrificial than others. The people who live in a certain morality in which they restrict themselves and adopt certain principles, for say good hygiene or good for society or the environment or a career are adopting certain restraints. The Christ-life, or Christianity, is far stricter, restraining, sacrificial, and produces far more fruit; but with the Christ-life you will get divine help, which you will not get in the other lives.
“[Also], people are deterred from seriously attempting living like Christ because they think (before trying) that it is impossible. But when a thing has to be attempted, one must never think about possibility or impossibility. Faced with an optional question in an examination paper, one considers whether one can do it or not: faced with a compulsory question, one must do the best one can. You may get some marks for a very imperfect answer: you will certainly get none for leaving the question alone. Not only in examinations but in war, in mountain climbing, in learning to skate, or swim, or ride a bicycle, even fastening a stiff collar with cold fingers, people quite often do what seemed impossible before they did it. It is wonderful what you can do when you have to.” [C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity]
We may, indeed, be sure that perfect living will not be attained by any merely human efforts. We have to obey in faith and in faith seek God’s power. It may seem that He is not helping. Never mind that. After each failure, acknowledge it and claim your forgiveness, pick yourself up, and try again. Very often what God first helps us with is perseverance. While we have not attained the virtue itself, we are learning the power, the habit of always trying again. Virtue is important and necessary, and one of those virtues is the habit of tenacity and perseverance. And in the process, it cures us of all illusions about ourselves and teaches us to depend on God. The only fatal thing is to sit down content with anything less than perfection.
Those who don’t seriously attempt the Christian life, the Christ-life, know very little about Christ or themselves. Those who do seriously attempt it come to know a great deal about themselves and about Christ. They admire Christ for His ability and thank Him for giving that ability to them. They understand the depth of their desires that are away from Christ and come to know them like Sherlock Holmes knew Moriarty or a rat-catcher knows rats or a plumber knows leaky pipes. Attempted virtue brings light; indulgence only brings fog.
Don’t be a hypocrite and fake the Christ-life. Be real and get to work on the inner man.
Eph 1:11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will,
Eph 1:12 to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.
Now think of how we have attempted to alter this type of man, this new man, in order to fit our own desires for the old man. Consider the Corinthians, who held strong to some of the aspects of this man and ignored the others. They embraced the new man’s eternal and his forgiveness, and they rejected all the things that made up his holiness. They rejoiced in their eternal life and their forgiveness, while they participated in strife, jealousy, division, selfishness, greed, judgment, vengeance, disorder, fear, drunkenness, and fornication.
The purpose of God in mankind cannot be partially accepted. It must be fully accepted.