LIVING YOUR BEST LIFE
18 AUGUST 2019 @ 8 A.M.
I just want to recap on some of what we have learnt these past 3 weeks with Pete’s teachings:
- Christ has reconciled all creation to Himself and God.
- Christ has united people from all nations to Himself and one another in His church.
- Christians must live as new people. (2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us that if any person is engrafted in Christ He is a new creature altogether – (that is a completely new species.) The old has gone. Sometimes we feel the old man raising his head – we need to put him down again. The bible speaks of persevering, abiding in the Vine, overcoming, remaining in Christ, going on believing (continuous present tense). These all reflect faith on our part. Our perseverance is required, not guaranteed. We are saved TO new lives of holiness in thought, word and deed. That includes submission to proper authorities and in our homes and family life.
- God has blessed us in the heavenly realms with EVERY spiritual blessing in Christ. Our eyes need to be enlightened in order that we may know the hope to which He has called us.
- We were chosen in Him before the creation of the world – to be holy and blameless in His sight. Here we must remember that to be predestined is a choice on our part. We can choose to respond to His Grace or to resist it. (Maybe I can give an example here of what I mean. Some of you may be familiar with the name, David Pawson. His Father was a farmer who “predestined” his son to follow in his footsteps as a farmer. His Father went so far as to procure a farm for him. David himself had always wanted to be a farmer but felt God’s strong calling on his life and had to turn his Father’s offer down to follow that calling. (Does that make sense?)
- We have seen that God has included Gentiles in His Kingdom in all generations – from every tribe, nation, people and language.
- We are not saved by good works but by faith. This faith will bring forth good works. We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Eph 2:10)
Now we are moving into Ephesians 3. I will start by reading the first 13 verses. You may use your bibles or follow with me on the screen behind me.
Eph 3:1 – 13 READ
The first half of Ephesians is all about our WEALTH in Christ – our relationship to God in Christ. The riches He brings us. His Grace. The inheritance we have in Him. One of the acronyms for Grace is “God’s riches at Christ’s expense.” He paid the ultimate price on the cross so that we may have redemption through His blood; the forgiveness of sins that we may live in accordance with His pleasure and His will AND He made known to us the mystery of that will. (I’ll come back to that). The second half is all about our POSTURE as Christians and our relationship with others in the Lord. Paul says we are to walk worthy of the calling we have received (with behaviour that is a credit to the summons to God’s service.) Brackets = Amp Eph 4:1
He lists 8 areas we are to walk in, which Pete will probably bring out next Sunday when he goes into Ephesians 4. They are Humility; Unity; Maturity; Integrity; Charity; Purity; Docility and Responsibility.
WHAT WAS THAT MYSTERY MENTIONED EARLIER?
Ephesians 3:6 The mystery that Paul received by revelation from the Holy Spirit is that, through the gospel, the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.
Colossians 1:25 “In it (His body, the church) I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you, the Word of God in its fullness – the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints.”
V27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Paul proclaimed Christ, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that he may present everyone perfect in Christ.
V29 To this end I labour, struggling with all His energy, which so powerfully works in me.
Ephesians 3:12 tells us that in Christ Jesus and through faith in Him we may approach God in freedom and confidence, with boldness and without fear.
How do we live our best life? The only way is to be totally committed to Jesus Christ. To live for Him fully every single day. We often think this is difficult to do but it isn’t. We think we need to give up things, but eventually we find that they give us up. We read that we have complete access to Christ – we don’t need to go through a mediator. We must have a relationship with, not only Jesus, but God and the Holy Spirit as well. What we call the Lord’s Prayer starts – Our Father, who art in heaven. That is God we are praying to. There is only one God and one Mediator between us and God and that is the Man Christ Jesus. 1 Tim 2:5
It is vital to have a personal relationship with Christ. Some people here may attest to the fact that they had “distant” Fathers. Fathers who maybe travelled a lot, Fathers who worked all hours of the day, ostensibly for their families, but the family never benefitted because the parent wasn’t there.
Just as parents have to be active in a child’s life for a loving relationship to be enjoyed, so we too have to have a real, living and loving relationship with our Lord. This consists of conversations with Him – not just monologues where we tell Him all our problems and worries and ask for things, although there is place for that, but to start off with Thanksgiving, Praise, Honour, and Worship. He will absolutely love that and eventually you will hear Him talking back to you – revealing scriptures to you, giving you a commission. Then we will enjoy dialogues with Him. It is so wonderful to be a child of God.
2 Corinthians 5:19 – 21 ”…God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors (official messengers), as though God were making His appeal through us – we implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. V21 God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.
I love the living Bible’s version of v 21 For God took the sinless Christ and poured into Him our sins. Then, in exchange, He poured God’s goodness into us. Isn’t that amazing?
As servants of the Gospel, Paul gives us 4 helpful statements from verses 9 – 12 of Eph 3.
- V9 Administrate – plan. Work out what you are going to do
- V10 Seek out God’s manifold wisdom – meaning it has various forms or functions or is many-sided. It has infinite variety and innumerable aspects. James 1:5 tells us that if we are deficient in wisdom, we can ask of God who will give it to us liberally. But, it must be in faith that we ask.
- V11 As we share the mystery of Christ we offer an eternal and timeless purpose for peoples’ lives. Transformation is inevitable.
- V12 We may approach God with freedom from fear, boldly and with confidence.
We cannot underestimate the power of living God’s way through the Holy Spirit and WHEN we do this we see others as far more important than ourselves.
Continuing Paul’s Epistle we read from v 14 to the end.
Eph 3: 14 – 21 READ This can be our prayer as well!
“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom the whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
V20 Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us,
V21 to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
So, I pray, as we go out from this sanctuary, into the coming week, that we will be filled with the Holy Spirit and ready to do His Will and His Pleasure.
Bow our knees
Ask for strength from above
Know we have power at work within us
Know Christ dwells in our hearts through faith
Be rooted and grounded in love
The secret is to know this love
Be filled with all the fullness of God
To Him be all glory in the Church and in Jesus Christ throughout all generations – forever and ever. AMEN