Ephesians 3:7-13 ESV
Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him. So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory.
We who believe in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives are all made to be ministers of the gospel of God’s grace, i.e. the gospel of our salvation from sin. We are all to be like Jesus and to follow in his footsteps, to be his hands and feet, and to do the things that he did when he walked the face of this earth. And, we are all empowered by the Spirit of God in being bold in our witness for Jesus Christ and for his gospel, too.
[1 Pet. 2:9; 1 Pet. 2:21; Matt. 5:13-16; Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 1:8; Rom. 10:14-15; Jn. 4:31-38; Jn. 13:13-17; Jn. 14:12; 1 Jn. 2:6; Acts 4:27-31]
Thus, we should all be sharing God’s plan of salvation with a world that is lost in their sins, and with those who profess faith in Jesus Christ, too, for many who profess Christ do not truly know Christ. And, they do not know Christ because they have not submitted to him as Lord of their lives, and they have not been crucified with him in death to sin, nor have they been resurrected with him to newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Co. 6:20).
Since they have not died with him to sin, they have not been raised with him to eternal life in him. Thus, they are still lost in their sins, still in slavery to the passions of the flesh, and they are still bound to spend eternity without God in eternal punishment. So, they need to hear the truth, and we need to be the ones who will be bold in our witness for Christ who will tell them the truth of the gospel, even if it gets us hated and persecuted in return.
Ephesians 3:14-19 ESV
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
The reason many profess Christ but truly do not know him is because they are not being taught the fullness of God, but what they are hearing is a diluted half-truth gospel absent of all power of the Spirit of God to save human lives from sin. And, many are content with hearing this diluted gospel which tickles itching ears because it placates them in their sin and makes no demands on their lives to die with Christ to sin and to live to righteousness.
Yet, the power of the cross is that it delivers us out of our bondage to sin, to the glory and praise of God, and it empowers us to live godly and holy lives, pleasing to Jesus. This is God’s grace to us, which instructs us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions (fleshly lusts) and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return (Tit. 2:11-14).
Yet, many are satisfied with this cheap grace substitute for the true gospel of our salvation, and thus they are not experiencing the fullness of God, and they don’t truly comprehend all that Jesus did for us on that cross, and all that is ours through God-given faith in him, and all the power that is available to us to be able to be free from sin’s addictions (traps) and to truly walk in victory over darkness.
For, Jesus put sin to death on that cross, not just so we could escape the punishment for our sin and go to heaven when we die. He put our sin to death on that cross so that he might put the power of sin to death in our individual lives, so that sin and Satan will lose their grip on our lives, and we will no longer be under their control, no longer in slavery to sin.
Yet, many who profess the name of Jesus are convinced that sin still has power over them, and that they are incapable of ever being free from its mastery over their lives. But, that is a clever lie of Satan which is keeping many who profess Christ still living in addiction to sin, feeling as though they are destined to live in defeat on a regular basis.
I am not saying that being saved from our sins means we never sin again. But, what I am saying is that the power of the cross of Christ is that it delivers us out of our bondage (slavery, addiction) to sin, so that we can walk in freedom from sin’s control. And, this is all because Jesus Christ conquered sin for us in his death and in his resurrection, so that through God-given faith in him we can walk in victory, one day at a time.
Ephesians 3:20-21 ESV
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
We serve an amazing God! So many times we sell God short, and we don’t see him truly as the all-powerful, and all-knowing, and completely sovereign God that he is. I know that I am still learning to trust him fully with my life and with my circumstances and to believe that if he is in something, that he is fully capable of working out all the details, too. He doesn’t need us to help him out. But, he does want us to serve and to obey him.
We serve a miracle working God, too. He is able to do anything that is within his divine character, purposes and will to do. He is not limited like we are, only by the fact that he cannot lie and he cannot sin. But, he can move mountains and part the waters, and he has already defeated Satan and sin on our behalf. We just have to believe him, and we have to behave as though we believe him.
We need to stop trying to fight off Satan’s attacks and temptations like I used to try to fight off my dad’s abuse, with arms crossed over my face, hoping to not get hit, but knowing I was going to get hit anyway. We have to believe this battle has already been won for us on the cross. And, then we have to take up the armor of God we have been given and we need to pull out that sword of the Spirit and use it against our enemy when he tries to tempt us to sin against God.
And, we need to get rid of all hindrances to our walks of faith and all that is leading us into sin, too. For, many people remain living in cycles of defeat because they are playing with sin and they are giving the devil a foothold in their lives by the things they daily take into their minds, ears and eyes. So, we have to mean business with God if we want to truly walk in freedom.
So, don’t believe Satan’s lies which convince you that you are always going to regularly give in to sinful patterns of behavior. And, don’t believe his lies which tell you that you need to help God out in solving your problems. We do need to cooperate with God in doing what he tells us to do, but he is quite capable of working things out for good for those who love God and who have been called according to his purpose. For, our God is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think (or imagine).
So, surrender your all to him today, and follow his lead, and believe him.
Jesus, What a Friend for Sinners
Lyrics by J. Wilbur Chapman
Music by Rowland Prichard
Jesus! what a Friend for sinners!
Jesus! Lover of my soul;
Friends may fail me, foes assail me,
He, my Savior, makes me whole.
Jesus! what a Strength in weakness!
Let me hide myself in Him.
Tempted, tried, and sometimes failing,
He, my Strength, my victory wins.
Jesus! what a Help in sorrow!
While the billows o’er me roll,
Even when my heart is breaking,
He, my Comfort, helps my soul.
Jesus! what a Guide and Keeper!
While the tempest still is high,
Storms about me, night overtakes me,
He, my Pilot, hears my cry.
Jesus! I do now receive Him,
More than all in Him I find.
He hath granted me forgiveness,
I am His, and He is mine.
Hallelujah! what a Savior!
Hallelujah! what a Friend!
Saving, helping, keeping, loving,
He is with me to the end.
*Copyright status is public domain