Founded At The Foot Of The Cross 1926 For The Glory Of The Lord! Helping To Serve The Needs Of Those Who Are Called To Serve Christ As A Minister Of HIS GOSPEL!
An Outreach Missions And Faith Ministry Where Miracles Occur, Prayers Are Answered And Dreams Come True Because JESUS ....Lives!
Ephesians 1:1-6 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will. To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
Do you enjoy going to Carnivals or Fairs? I do! I like to walk along the midway and smell all the different foods cooking, the popcorn, the cotton candy, the hot dogs and then there is the smell of sawdust, sweet french waffles and all the other flavors that make the event a real carnival.
Combined with all the wonderful aromas there are the sounds that are unique to carnivals all mixed into the other things that can make it a fun and exciting experience. Many of the sounds flow from the carnival barkers hawking his wares, his rides, his sideshows or his games of chance.
If you have been to more than one carnival you learn early on that the games of chance like all games of chance are not played with the game in your favor of winning .... In fact, many carnival games are often more than a little rigged against you winning and when you do win... the prize you get is often a little rubber snake or plastic toy from the bottom of the game prize shelves rather than the big teddy bears or other valuable prizes displayed by the carnies.
As an example have you ever tried tossing the round wooded rings over the square blocks that hold the watches, diamond rings and other grand prizes.....well, before you do take a closer look at the carnie. He usually has wooden rings on both arms and in both hands...you may not be able to see the difference; but, in one hand he holds the rings that can when thrown just right go over the wooden blocks. You can win...a nice prize....while in the other hand he holds rings that are just a little bit smaller; but, small enough that unless you are standing right over the wooden blocks there is no way you can win with those rings.
But the fact is the odds in winning anything at all are often so stacked against you that in reality it would be easier for you to lead a camel through the eye of a needle than, in fact, to be a winner based on the rules of fair play!
But, the carnie is no fool. He knows he must let some of the people win so he gives some people the bigger rings...it is still difficult to win with the right size rings; but, at least he gives you a fighting chance..... I have stood for hours watching these games of chance and peoples reaction when they do win.......99.9% of the winners always say..."I Can't Believe it...I Won....I Won!" Yes!.....They all say..... "I can't believe it!"
I know for sure that you would most likely react the same way if you found you had suddenly inherited a fortune from some long dead and far off relative after their estate was finally settled and you were determined to be the rightful heir! You just would not at first ....believe it!
The reason you would not be able to believe it.......is; because, we have been conditioned to expect the ordinary, the dull, and sometimes hopeless routine of our lives. Indeed, sometimes life does seem to be filled with one day just rolling into another with not much change in our daily routine. So the possibility of some amazing and wonderful great thing happening to us out of the blue in the material world seems a most unlikely possibility! Fact is, you probably feel that you are just like most people....... you just ain't that lucky!
Listen! ......we not only can't believe it when it does happen, most can't even believe in the possibility that something great, can, may or could happen here in the material realm of our daily lives!
Fact is, what's true about the condition of our mistrust and outright disbelief here in the material realm of this world is also true in the spiritual realm. Many of us have trouble believing in the unbridled goodness of God toward us as a person. The idea that God would joyfully and lovingly bestow his blessings on us is something we find hard to believe, can't lay hold of or just cannot or don't want to believe in! Right now I know that there are untold millions who feel this very same way.
Yes! Thanks to a lack of faith no bigger than a mustard seed we have been and are conditioned by the world to think of ourselves as unworthy creatures. We are not good enough, or holy enough, or sincere enough to get the really good things from God - that is our thinking! Listen.... Who in the world are you? ......Who in the world are we? ....To presume upon the mind, grace or goodness of God or to lack total faith in his bountiful blessings? But the fact remains that whether you believe it or not all of us have a rich and glowing inheritance in Christ.
In fact, when we are told just how rich is the inheritance that God has given us, we easily find ourselves saying, "I can't believe it!" We may not be able to believe it; but, my dear brothers and sisters it is absolutely and abundantly true!
This is one of the main themes of the book of Ephesians. It reveals to us the extreme loving and wonderful magnitude of God's blessings to us who are in Christ. It tells us who we are and how we can live an abundant life in Christ. And how powerful and abundant our inheritance really is!.....One amazing truth we will find as we lovingly study this book is that our inheritance in Christ is given to us freely. There is nothing we can do to earn it, or deserve it. We don't have to work for it, play games of chance, or enter a contest or take a risk of any kind!
You can't bid or barter for it! You can't buy it! It is not for sale! You can't by chance just luck into it! Budda can't give it to you! Mohammed can't bestow it upon you. You won't find it in the Koran. The Pope can't bless you with it by sprinkling so called holy water on your head. You won't find it in the beads of a rosary, or monks habits, the garments of beloved nuns, or a rose on the foot of a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. You can't get it with a seminary or college degree. You won't find it in the watchtower bible society or a so called kingdom hall. You can't get it by riding around in horse and buggies with no zippers or buttons on your cloths wearing black hats, or wearing a funny little beanie or bonnets on the back of your head or dressing yourself in red, black, white or green robes or knotted shawls. You won't find it at a wailing wall, in a temple, mosque, arena, pyramid, church building, glass cathedrals, or in the theological mumbo jumbo letter of biblical law taught by some egghead professor who wouldn't know the truth if it hit him in the rear end like a New York taxi cab! You won't find it in religion or theological doctrines or mythical golden books supposedly found in a field placed there by some mythical angel. You won't find it in liberalism, social movements, party politics, health food stores, civic organizations, church social circles, ladies clubs, drugged out Hindus, Indian gurus, physic readers, palm readers, horoscopes, witches, wizards, sociology, scientology or any other kind of ideology. You can't get it sitting on the padded puffed up air conditioned pews of a long dead church led by a spiritually dead pastor who won't proclaim the truth. You won't find it in the jabbering of so called tongues and dear ole brother Pat Robinson and the circle your wagons Christian Coalition and its' 700 club members can't send it to you in some letter or fact sheet .....and as much as I love many TV evangelists they don't have it hidden in the toe of their gilded slippers nor does it roll down their face in whimpering televised golden show tears. It is not what we wear or who the world says or thinks we are or what church or group of people we worship with or the rituals thereof .......but, it is he who lives in us and has empowered us as the saints of God.
Yes! There is only one way you can get it ....and that is at the foot of the cross when you surrender your life to the Lord Jesus! Then it is freely given to you as a child of God as part of the inheritance that was paid for by the Blood of our precious Savior Lord Jesus upon that old rugged cross... the emblems of which burn brightly across the ages of time and redeems us with and holds us up before the world as true inheritors of the Kingdom of God! It is part of the Blood covenant of Christ that was shed for us upon the brow of Golgotha and if you can lay hold of just a small portion of it .... you can change the world. Give him praise and glory! Amen and Amen!
You know when I was a boy of just seven ...one of the first jobs I had was selling Cloverine Brand Salve door to door and giving my customers a beautiful little picture of Jesus ..and in that my first job.... if I worked hard and sold lots of tins of salve I not only got to earn a nickel on each can I sold! Each sale was also valued at one bonus point and if I sold enough I could take the bonus points and win a prize like a brand new Schwinn bike with bright chrome fenders and all the other goodies like a headlight and a bell and a horn and bright red, white and blue plastic streamers floating out of the ends of the handle grips..........Oh! How I wanted that bike!..........Oh! How I dreamed of it!.......I use to lay awake at night and dream about it....... Oh! How I longed to ride it and feel the wind in my face as I raced around....showing everyone that grand prize..... It became my heart's desire and sometimes I would just cry myself to sleep....I wanted it more than anything......for I was one of the poorest kids in the city and in my mind that bike would somehow make me just as good as the rich kids who lived up the street! Oh! How I wanted to feel like I was just as good as anyone else!
Let me tell you.....that was one of the hardest summers of my life for I arose early and worked till after dark knocking on doors and selling that salve. Each sale sent my enthusiasm higher and higher as I pressed toward the mark of getting the more than 1,000 points I needed to win that bike! Oh! How I worked! Oh! How I Dreamed! Oh! How I would fall into bed tired and hungry. My feet sore from walking barefooted on the hot sidewalks! My knuckles bruised, cut and bloody from knocking on door after door trying to get people to buy a can or two of that salve! My mouth and throat was sore and always parched with the little sales presentation I had learned by heart and gave time and again, over and over and over again as I knocked on every door I came to all over that city! I will tell you more about that bike and more about that summer (later in this series) later on for as it turned out it was one of the most important summers of my life!
Fortunately, we don't have to earn our spiritual inheritance in this way. We don't have to work hard and earn it, or be clever, or be good, or be deserving, or dream about it or weep for it! All we have to do is just accept who we really are in our loving saviour, Christ Jesus!
How and who we are to be in Christ is the wonderful subject of the first three chapters of this beautiful Epistle of our dear and loving brother, Paul, written to the Ephesians. If you will just listen closely to me and bring yourself into the light of God's fulfilling truth that is contained herein, I know you will be able to see farther than you have ever seen before and in that seeing you may be able to at last lay hold of and claim what belongs to you as a child of the living God paid for on that blood stained cross of Calvary there on the hill at Golgotha where the greatest suffering the world has ever witnessed took place and where Jesus laid down his life for you so that you could inherit the greatest gifts the world has ever known......Thank You Jesus! Oh, Brothers! Oh, Dear Sisters! Can you yet see the light? Or are you still blind to all that we have in Christ?
Along with our brother, Paul, it is my prayer that, as I begin to teach from the beautiful book of Ephesians, that "God . . . may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of loving revelation in the knowledge of Him . . . . that the windows of your heart may be opened wide, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the wonderful riches of the glory and of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the loving grace, all giving, and the mighty greatness of His power toward us who believe in him."
Let us read: (Eph. 1:17-19)
Ephesians 1:17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power.
Now, let me ask you the most important question anyone has ever asked you: Do you really know who you are in Christ? How do you see yourself as a Christian? Do you see yourself as powerful? Or do you see yourself as weak and impotent? Do you really understand the true extent of what it means to have the Son of God living inside of you? Do you hold your head up high because of your relationship to Christ, or are you sometimes embarrassed? Do you stumble around seeing yourself in rags or in glowing riches?
Jesus said, "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." Sometimes we emphasize the fact that the truth has the power to make us free. Listen!...Truth is truth whether you believe it or not. And truth is truth whether you have knowledge of it or not. But let me go forth in a different way. Listen!...There are times when we can never be free unless we fully come into the light of and "know" the truth. You see, if you do not know the truth, you are always going to be acting on a lie. If you act on the basis of an untruth, then that lie becomes the wrong reality for you. Listen!...Don't shortchange yourself by believing you are less than God says you are. What a shame it would be for you to believe you are a powerless pauper when you are really a powerful prince. In the first six verses of Ephesians, we will discover at least three characteristics of who you are in Christ.
In Christ YOU Are Significant!
As Paul opens this letter to the church, he addresses it to the "saints." This is a glowing biblical term commonly applied to all believers. Christians are commonly referred to as saints. To be a saint, in the New Testament sense of the word, is to be a "holy one." And that's who we are in Christ. We are The Holy Ones of and in Christ!
Don't be misled by the mistaken idea that sainthood is something which can only be conferred upon certain dead people by some ecclesiastical body of men in the halls of the pomp and pageantry of the Roman Vatican. According to God's Word, all believers are already saints. From God's perspective, we are saints, not because of who men say we are; but, because of what Christ did for us. Listen! We are not holy because of our own good works or righteousness.
The Bible tells us in (Isaiah 64:6) that "all our righteousnesses are as a filthy rags." We are righteous because Jesus died on the Cross so that He could give unto us His righteousness. We read in 2 Corinthians 5:21, "For he (God) hath made him (Christ) to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." We are now the righteousness of God in Christ. What an amazing eye opening spiritual statement!
When Christ died on the Cross, He paid the penalty for our sin. He died there to put to death our old self. But, He not only died to forgive us, He died to enable us to receive His life. He died to empower us! As we surrender to Him, He gives us His life in exchange for ours. He becomes our life. We live by His life. He is in us, and we are in Him. Now we can live from this new level of life. His righteousness is made ours. When God looks at us, he no longer sees us standing alone..He only sees us in Christ.
Here's the truth of who we are in Christ. In Christ we have significance! We must begin to realize our righteousness in Christ. And that can and will only come as we begin to see ourselves as in Christ, living in him and walking not just with him ...but, as he walks we are walking in him. He carries us within his being...we don't carry him, we don't take him where we go he leads us to where he wants us to be. But, he can't do that unless we surrender our lives to him at the foot of the cross and let him lead our walk in him. As long as we continue to think that because we know him we take him with us where ever we go we will never begin to live in him. We must surrender to him and live our lives not in the manner we choose; but, in the glowing victory of a life that we live in him. By him and through him. He doesn't follow us! We don't follow him! We don't walk in his footsteps. We are the footsteps he takes because we are in him. Sealed forever unto the ages....unto the glory of God forever ....and ever. Amen and Amen!
Listen....Here is where we must begin to find the importance of knowing the truth. Unless we know our true position in Christ, we will never begin to live from and in that glorious position.
In Colossians 3:1-4 our position is described, "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory."
Our position is as those who are "hidden with and in Christ in God." We are now seated in heavenly places in Christ. That is our true position. And we are saints of God because of our position in Christ. We are significant because of our position, relationship with and in Christ. This is what we must begin to see by the spiritual eyes of our faith. This is who we really and truly are. It has been said that some people can't get saved; because, they won't accept their sinnership, and that some Christians can't walk in victory because they won't accept their sainthood. In Christ we are significant. In Christ we are the saints. You have God's permission to live like a saint and he has given you the power to do so. Because you are sealed forever in Christ!
In Christ You Are Sufficient!
In verse 3 we read, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ." We see in this verse, God has given us all sufficiency in Christ.
Look closer at this revealing and beautiful verse. It is not that He will bless us! He has blessed us! It's done, it is complete, yes, it is finished! And what has He blessed us with? He has not just given us a blessing; He has given us spiritual blessings. But look further. He has not just given us some or a few spiritual blessings; he has given us every spiritual blessing. And finally we are told that He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ. What a promise! It's really more than a promise. It's a living reality and a finished work and the blessings paid for with the blood of Jesus at Calvary!
Again, Listen!... to me dear friends if you do not know this truth, you will never walk in it. In Christ we have sufficiency; because, we have every spiritual blessing in Christ. And so we must learn to live in and on in our resources in Christ. In Christ, we are rich. The riches of Christ have already been deposited into our spiritual account. We must now begin to draw upon those riches each and every day as we live in him and live not unto ourselves.
Listen!... It is just as if someone made an anonymous and secret deposit into your savings account down at your bank! If you did not know about the existence of that deposit, you would never be able to draw upon it. But when you came into the knowledge of that truth, and realize that, in fact, the funds are there then you would immediately have access to that money as a resource and could draw upon them for your needs! This is exactly what the Word of God is saying to us. You may choose not to believe it, and live in spiritual need and poverty. Or you may choose to draw upon your abundant resources in Christ.
Sometimes we can feel that we do not have what it takes to do what God is calling us to do. Throughout the Scriptures we find that God is continually calling us forever upward! There is a high, high calling for the believer. There is much the Lord commands us to do. But the commands of Christ are not burdensome; because, he has already given us the resources for us to act upon all that he commands. It has been said that every command of God is not a demand on you, but a demand upon God who gave the command. To say it another way, God will never call or give you anything to do that He hasn't already given you the power to do and accomplish all that he commands.
In Christ you are already sufficiently equipped for anything he calls you to do. You just need to begin to live in that knowledge, draw upon it and live in it and do it now! What are you waiting for? Stop walking around in yourself and begin to let Christ walk you around in him! When you do you will never be defeated! When you do you will never be in want! When you do you will never be in need! When you do you will never be lost! When you do you will never be alone! When you do you will never be poor....for in Christ you are more than his child you are a saint, you are a prince, you are all that Jesus is; because, he not only lives in you .....you... are sealed forever in the majesty of his grace......forever and ever not only in the spiritual realm in heavenly places ...but, here in the material realm of this world! Right here! Right now!
When you start letting Christ walk you around in him... the words you speak will be the truth and you will no longer be afraid to speak it, the music you write will sing with the glory of the Lord, you won't have to question whether the killing of the unborn is wrong, you will know why prayer in public schools and the teaching of the Bible are the right things to do, you will also know that the so called Gay "lifestyle" is an abomination before God.....you won't want to view pornography ....you won't steal anymore, you won't want to do drugs anymore, you will no longer be unkind, be hateful, be spiteful, be slack in your work, you won't support politicians who conduct themselves with the morals of a cathouse piano player, you won't rob God anymore by not giving unto the work of the Cross, paying your tithes, paying on your vows, honoring your commitments, being a good husband or wife, being a good dad, being a faithful wife, you won't walk past a homeless person you will lift him up,...you won't want to go to bed at night without having given thanks to God or having done something for those who are in need of food and live with hunger gnawing at their spirits, you will become a loving caring servant of the Lord who look for children with no shoes and you will begin doing what God requires the believer to do and that is to let Christ walk you around in his glory and by his grace make you more like him and less like you ......when you lay your life down at the foot of the cross and surrender it to him for his use and glory and let him pick it up and take it unto himself and let him begin to walk you around in him .....then and only then can you begin to live in the glory of who you really are in him....sealed now and forever in heavenly places in Christ Jesus and sealed in the rock of ages for ever, sealed in the Lily of the Valley.. sealed in the good Sheppard, sealed in the bright and morning star.......he is the great I am.... he is he ...that is the Christ.... the son of the living God!....who makes us heirs to the Kingdom and all the blessings thereof now and forever that he has claimed for us upon the blood stained cross of Calvary......Hallelujah! Thank You Jesus! Let us give him praise and glory! Amen and Amen!
In Christ YOU Are Secure!
In Christ we are not just sufficient we are also secure in him. In verse 4 we are told that God chose us in Christ. In verse 5 we are told that God predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ. And in verse 6 we are told that God freely bestowed His grace on us in the Beloved. In Christ we must learn to rest in, trust in and live in our relationship to Him and in Him! In Christ we are secure; because, we are in the Beloved. We are in Jesus. Therefore, we are secure. Our security rests on our relationship with Him and in Him!
Listen! It was God's will to choose us. He called us in order to adopt us as his sons and daughters. We are told that this is His will. In other words, God has given us what we cannot earn on our own. He has freely bestowed on us His grace and made us part of His family. No wonder John could say, "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called sons of God!" (1 John 3:1)
Listen....God loves me! He has accepted me! And the same is true for you! There is nothing you can do for God to love you more. There's also nothing you can do for God to love you less. God doesn't change you so that He can love you; He loves you in order to change you. It is not your love for him that changes you! It is His love for you that changes you; because, he loves you! Surrender to that love right now! Take hold of it! Rest in your relationship in Christ. In Christ you are secure. In Christ you are accepted.You are His and He is yours!
What powerful words! In Christ you are significant! In Christ you are sufficient! In Christ you are secure! You can say it another way. In Christ you are righteous! In Christ you are rich! In Christ you are received! You are a saint, so learn to realize your righteousness. You are blessed with every spiritual blessing, so learn to rely on your resources. You are accepted in the Beloved, so learn to live victoriously in your relationship not to Christ; but, in him! For in it there is true VICTORY over this life, over this world and over death, hell and the grave. Yes! In Christ we are secure!
Remember, what Jesus said about the importance of knowing the truth. You can't live right unless you believe right.You cannot walk in the light if you continue to live and walk in the darkness! Proverbs 23:7 says that as a person "thinks within himself, so he is" If you believe what the devil says about you, you will assuredly fail! If you live based on what others say about you will never be able to rise to higher places. But, if you live in the truth based upon who God says you are, then you can hold your head up high. You are somebody; because, somebody lives in you. In Christ you have all you will ever need. And in Christ you are totally secure. Nobody, nothing can ever take that away from you!
Why not? Right Now! Begin To Live In The Sufficiency Of His Loving Grace? He Is Waiting For You Now! Let Him Come In Right Now.... And Give You A Glowing Life Of Victory! For You Are One Of The Beloved .....A Saint!...Sealed Forever In The Sufficiency Of His Love And Grace! Come Now!... And Receive Him As Yours! He is Waiting To Give You VICTORY, To Renew your life and lift you up!
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