April 24, 2015 by pastorjdo3
Ephesians 2:1-3 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.
Tuesdays study set the backdrop for a night of compassionate discussion. As we began, our heart were seasoned with the power of Paul’s Words to Ephesus. It was as though he were writing to us. How soon we forget! Old things have past, and behold all things have become new, and we erase our past, ignore our present, and substitute our future finished self for our present incomplete self; using it to cast shade and see ourselves as better than or above the next person.
Paul says, “You were” “You used to” “All of us” “Like the rest” “We were”. Paul reminds us that we are not far from the positions and circumstances that we now turn our nose too. We were immersed in sin! Seeking to gratify our flesh and ungodly thoughts! And furthermore, we deserved the wrath of God! We were enemies of the King! Worse, he says we were also once “disobedient”. There was a time when we heard truth, knew and accepted truth, and chose to rebel against truth. You weren’t always “worthy” of the front row, and you once wore a more appropriate title than the one we currently wear!
With that in order, we must remember to stay humble. This passage should do two things, 1. Create Patience and Understanding 2. Make us Hopeful
Patience and Understanding should be the result of us doing this self evaluation and being sober in our understanding of who we are and who we were. When we are able to admit that we were once lost, and that we are still working towards the mark of Christ, then we would not approach them with unrealistic expectations. While God does heal and deliver many on the spot, removing the taste from things and breaking the strongholds had, any of us know what it is like to fight, and to loose battles along the way towards the mark of perfection. We know the shame of falling, the vulnerability of being week in areas, and the power of being made strong, forgiven and restored from our moments of stumble. Having this personal experience, we must be more patient with others in both their faith walk, and their life outside of Christ. We must keep reaching, preaching and teaching, knowing that the planting and watering, and the nurturing and loving, will through the Holy Spirit convict and convert.
Leading us into the latter; Hope! Knowing that we were once in the same situation, should give us hope. Not just hope, but unfailing hope! We should persist in our efforts to pray for and believe for because God has worked and is working in our lives. He continues to build us up in the Word and guide us through His Spirit, helping us defeat the flesh and live by the Spirit! This leaves us filled with hope. No matter what the current situation, we know that through Christ, all things are possible. We are living witnesses of the truth as it has manifested in our lives.
Thus Paul continues,
Ephesians 2:4-9 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
We truly are the product of grace and mercy! It was freely given, and should be freely applied towards even those who offend you. It is not due to our efforts, but because of God’s choice to make provision for us to have our sins taken care of via the sacrifice of the perfect lamb. Furthermore, he states, that Jesus raised us to express his love to those coming. Our life is to bare witness, and our former lives are to bare witness. Our present shows the power of His presence in our life, and our past shows the power of his love in our darkened state.
We must remember, that all we have is not due to our actions or a result of being deserving. His favor is upon us because we are His children, and He chooses to lavish us at times, and provides to us even in circumstances when we fail just to show His love for us. None of us should be able to walk or talk as though we are God’s gift to the world. We are merely testimonies as to His Grace and this is how he expects us to relate to the world.
Thus, is is not a question as to whether the poor, widows or orphans are deserving of our love or resources. When we began to questions ones worthiness of being assisted with our resources, we are acting out of character from the example that was set from the beginning of time! We often speak as though the person is deserving of their predicament because of the choices they made, somehow convincing ourselves that their plight is the results of sowing and reaping, and that we are not to aide them because we are interfering with God’s chastisement. They are no more deserving than we are! Truthfully, we have obtained not just salvation through grace and mercy, but our possessions too.