Pastor, author, and Bible teacher, Alan Wright. In the Roman culture, after a general would win a great military victory, it was often that that general would come in and be seated at the king's right hand for the celebration.
The seat next to the right hand of the king was the position for the victorious conqueror. That's Pastor Alan Wright. Welcome to another message of good news that will help you see your life in a whole new light. I'm Daniel Britt, excited for you to hear the teaching today in the series called Ephesians as presented at Reynolda Church in North Carolina. If you're not able to stay with us throughout the entire program today, I want to make sure you know how to get our special resource right now. It can be yours for your donation this month to Alan Wright Ministries. So as you listen to today's message, go deeper as we send you today's special offer. Contact us at PastorAlan.org.
That's PastorAlan.org or call 877-544-4860. More on this later in the program. But now let's get started with today's teaching. Here is Alan Wright. You ready for some good news? You physically here on the earth but figuratively and mystically and legally and in reality you are seated with Christ in the heavenlies.
That's pretty incredible. Ephesians chapter 2 verses 1 through 10. Ephesians chapter 2 verses 1 through 10. And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience, among whom we all once lived and the passions of our flesh carrying out the desires of the body and the mind and were by nature children of wrath like the rest of mankind. But God, but God being rich in mercy because of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead in our trespasses made us alive together with Christ. By grace you have been saved and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith and this is not your own doing.
It is the gift of God, not a result of work so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. So last week in this same text we looked at this phrase that you have been made alive together with Christ.
And I mentioned that Paul uses three verbs that all have the same Greek prefix that is transliterated into English S-Y-N or S-Y-M like sympathy or synonym or synergy because that prefix S-Y-N prefix it means together with and it has the sense of a very intimate association or a very close connection. And so what Paul does is he uses these words here that all began with that S-Y-N prefix and he says together with Christ you've been made alive and then he says and together with Christ you have been raised and then he says together with Christ you have been seated in the heavenlies together with Christ together with Christ together with Christ. What has happened to Christ because you are eternally by grace through faith mystically made one with Christ that you have shared with Christ all that has taken place with Christ. This is a profound mystery that is of enormous consequence for us if we come to really believe this. And today what I want to do is just focus in on this idea that we have been seated with Christ in the heavenlies.
And it is something that thrills the soul but also if you really begin to grasp this and wrap your mind around this and let it come into your heart it will change the whole way you look on your life as a Christian. Years ago in the first church I served there was a little boy, a cute little guy, his name was Brandon and Brandon one day came to his mother and said, Mom said, Why is Jesus so tired? And she said, Brandon, I don't think Jesus is tired.
Why do you ask the question? And he said, You know, we are always singing that song. He is exhausted. The king is exhausted on high. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus is seated on high but it's not because he is exhausted, it's because he is exalted. That what has happened is that Jesus has died for our sins, been raised up by the mighty power of God and that he has ascended. And in his ascended position the Bible describes him as being seated next to the right hand of God the Father. And in this exalted status we are told by Paul that we as Christians are positioned with Christ. So let's talk about being seated. You know, no matter what you're doing everybody wants to have a good seat for it, right? And so we spent our fourth of July up in Montreat in the Presbyterian mecca of the little conference center and village of Montreat.
We've done this last couple of years. There's a parade on the fourth of July and fireworks that night. Thousands of people come out for the parade.
I'm not exaggerating thousands of people. There was a traffic jam of people. You couldn't find a parking place to get somewhere for the parade. And the night before people started actually setting up their chairs along the sidewalk to get a good seat for the parade.
So much so my wife told me that we needed to set up chairs on the sidewalk to make sure we had a good seat. Now y'all I need to let you know the Montreat parade is highlighted by such amazing things as a fire truck. That was a bright red fire truck.
That was a highlight. There was a group of Montreat College professors that rode in the back of a pickup truck and played the banjo and guitar and that was fantastic. Otherwise it was mainly, you know, some kids from the camp that week just walking along singing about peanut butter and jelly. I think a couple of people were just a men just walking their dogs that might have happened to get caught up in the parade.
And this was the nature of the parade. And we're out there setting up chairs the night before which just proves my point. Doesn't matter what you're doing, everybody wants to make sure they get a good seat. Now years ago we had tickets, basketball tickets, Wake Forest season tickets and I'm a Carolina guy but I'm a Wake Forest fan too. And so I thought it was great especially when Bennett was little to be able to take him to some of the weight games. And we got in on the cheapest tickets we could get. And they were probably the worst seats in the Joel Coliseum.
And I had to just chuckle when Bennett was very little in one of the early games that we were there. And we were in the upper deck behind the backboard and little Bennett sat down and he didn't know any better and he said, Dan look this is so cool. He said, look at my seat. I'm exactly in the middle of the backboard. And slowly but surely I had to let him know that these aren't actually good seats.
You want to be in the middle but not this middle. And so what we do oftentimes is if it wasn't crowded we would move down to better seats. You ever done that before? You know where you got cheap seats but then you moved down because there's you know some people hadn't come for their seats. So you wait about five or ten minutes into the game. Then you go and you move down to some better seats.
But you're always a little bit worried aren't you? Because you know you're sitting there and it has happened many times to me. I've gotten those better seats. I'm down there looking like I belong in those seats and then somebody comes in you know about 12 minutes into the game says, excuse me these are probably our seats here. You know and you're sitting there going oh yeah well we were on the floor but it was a little too low so we wanted to come up and sit here. And then you have to move.
I've had times where I've had to move three times in one game for people. So you know you're in the seat but you know you don't belong in that seat and that's kind of an uneasy feeling. So you want to have a good seat but you'd like to have a good seat that actually belongs to you. One of the greatest seats I ever had but I was most uneasy about was during my middle school years my best buddy. He was a ball boy at the Greensboro Coliseum for the ACC tournament. And so he sat under there wearing these white pants and this blue coliseum shirt and he would ball boy and mop up the floor and stuff there in the ACC tournament. And I was like that sounds like a dream. And I said man I wish I could do that.
Well his dad I think was on the board or something at the coliseum and his dad was kind of a nut like this. He said listen. He said Al I said why don't you just put on some white pants and a blue shirt and come with us you know. And you can just walk in. We come in the back entrance.
They won't know any difference. Just walk on in there like you're a ball boy. And so I did. And I went in there and sat under the basket and my highlight was I was throwing a ball out to Phil Ford during practice. And as I was throwing it out another Carolina player was coming in for a layup and I knocked the ball out of his hand as he came up. And I about ran out of the coliseum right then but Phil Ford came up and said good shot man.
So that was my claim to. But the whole time I'm sitting there like you know some some big wig is sitting up there looking down going who's that kid down there you know. And because I was in a perfect seat but I didn't really belong there. And what I think Paul wants us to see is where you're seated so that you can understand what this seat in Christ means. But he really wants to understand is you're authorized to be there. It's really your seat.
That's Alan Wright. And we'll have more teaching in a moment from today's important series. Just who do you think you are? And really think about it. How do you see yourself? If you see yourself as worthless, then you might as well do nothing worthwhile. But if you see yourself as treasured, then you'll invest yourself with joy.
If you see yourself as a sinner cursed by your failures, then you'll be anxious and exhausted. But if you see yourself as a saint blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ, then you'll be confident and free how you see yourself determines how you live in an 11 message series. Pastor Alan Wright takes you on a thrilling journey through the letter to the Ephesians that will flood your soul with good news and empower you to discover who you are in Christ. When you make your donation to Alan Wright Ministries today will not only send you the digital downloads of the entire transformational Ephesian series, but will also send you a printable copy of Pastor Alan's booklet highlighting the most important scriptures about your identity in Christ. Make your gift today and discover a whole new way of seeing your life.
Isn't it time to finally find out who you really are? Call us at 877-544-4860. That's 877-544-4860 or come to our website, PastorAlan.org. Today's teaching now continues.
Here once again is Alan Wright. You have been qualified for your inheritance in the saints and it can't be taken away. Why was Jesus seated? Why is this important as an image? And when we say Jesus is seated at the right hand of God the Father, we don't mean by this that you're supposed to envision just this literal seat and that Jesus just sits there and doesn't do anything. It's not a picture of a stagnant second person of the Trinity, but it is saying something important symbolically about Jesus. And the writer of Hebrews in chapter 1 verse 3 says of Jesus, he's the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature.
And he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. Later, the writer of Hebrews in chapter 10 says of Christ that when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet, for by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. And when Jesus is pictured in the scriptures as standing up, it grabs your attention because it's unusual.
There are a couple of instances that come to mind, notably when Stephen, the first Christian that's martyred, killed, stoned for his faith. As he is being so cruelly stoned to death, he has a vision and the heaven is open to him and he sees Jesus and he sees Jesus standing. So it's a sense in which Jesus in his advocacy for Stephen and his welcome of Stephen, he's standing up for Stephen. Also, we see in the book of Revelation, figuratively, Jesus is moving about amongst the lampstands.
He's moving about amongst his churches, his people, and in one instance says, I stand at the door and I knock. But generally, the picture in the New Testament of Jesus Christ is that he is seated. And I think there are at least four significant pieces of this symbol for us of seeing that Jesus is seated that makes it very important. And the first is simple, that in the Roman culture, after a general would win a great military victory, it was often that that general would come in and be seated at the king's right hand for the celebration. And so the seat next to the right hand of the king was the position for the victorious conqueror. And I think everybody who had been in the Roman Empire would understand as soon as you mentioned being seated at the right hand of majesty that you're talking about the position of victory. And sometimes what would happen is that they would, in making a spectacle of the enemy and showing that they had completely conquered the enemy, one of the forms of subjection that they would render to the enemy would have enemy leader or leaders come in to the presence of the general and of the king and literally would be prostrated, would be crouched down, and they would literally use their backs as a footstool. So you just sit back, you've won the victory, and now your feet are resting on the enemy's back, so to speak.
And so it is a position of victory. And what has happened through the cross and the resurrection of Jesus is a cosmic victory. And this is absolutely essential to understand your position in Christ, is that what Jesus did was in taking upon himself all the sin of the world and taking into his own being the full penalty, the full wrath of God against such sin, that there was a twist of events that the enemy, all the powers of darkness, could not have foreseen.
That in actually slaying Jesus on the cross, that the victory was being accomplished because the victory was won through ultimate love and ultimate sacrifice. And so in his death, Jesus pays the entire penalty, and in so doing, he removes the curse of the law. And what he does in this, the Bible says, is that he has, in a sense, removed the ammunition from the enemy. So look at it this way, that because Satan's name means accuser, that the whole power of evil rests upon accusing people of breaking God's law and therefore justly deserving curse and condemnation. But as soon as the curse is broken because the law has been fulfilled, then this gospel is dismantling and disarming powers and principalities in dark places. And this is what the Bible says Jesus did.
And thus he made a public spectacle of them. Now, it was not just in his cross, but in his resurrection, because had he only died for our sins and taken a penalty, we would still be under the specter of death. But because the great mighty working of God's power raised Jesus from the dead, he has accomplished a victory over death so that Paul says, death, O death, where is your victory?
Where is your sting? Because now Jesus has conquered by both removing the curse of the law and the fear of death. And so the victory is absolute.
It has been complete. And so Jesus is seated as the victorious conqueror at the right hand of majesty. That's why he's seated.
But he's also seated. The second reason he's visioned as seated is that the seat is a position of honor. The whole notion of honor is sadly being lost in much of our culture and much of Western culture.
But in Eastern and Mid-Eastern cultures, they live by a sense of honor. When we were at the amazing Bible dedication in Papua New Guinea a few weeks ago, and we are on this little island that is so simple. They have no electricity, no running water, no roads, no means by which they would be able to really show much honor to the international guests like ourselves. It's hot, 95 degrees, and we're going to have a three-hour worship service outside, and the Bible dedication is just going to be. And so they were so thoughtful, the locals were, that what they had done is they had prepared a place out on the beach, a big open area. They cleared it out so that hundreds of people could sit. And they had built up a little shaded area using palm branches and sticks and things. And what they did was they came and they invited us, the internationals, to come and to be seated there. And not only that, but a very rare, rare thing, somebody had gotten hold of some plastic tarps. So there were two plastic tarps that they put down towards the front area. And not only were we, you come in and you sit down in the shade, but you come and you sit on the tarp.
And then all of the locals, they began to come in behind us in the shade, and then many others, probably about 1,000 out of the 3,000 people that live on the island were there, and they began to fan out on the beaches. But we were there. Why was this going on? And why did we need to accept this? Because this was in their hearts to honor us as we'd come internationally.
And so this was a seat of honor. Now, there was not anything much they could offer us. There was no air conditioning. There are no sky boxes. There are no refreshments.
There is no fan blowing. There is nothing much that they could do, except it was a tarp and it was in some shade, on the tarp on the ground in some shade. But on that day, and maybe in the whole history of that little island, there'd never been a greater place of honor than right there. You see? Allen Wright. The word picture, I mean, I'm just creating an image in my mind now of this. It's part of our teaching in Ephesians, and today specifically, you're seated with Christ.
Stick with us. Allen is back in a moment with additional insight on this for your life, and a final word. Just who do you think you are?
How you see yourself determines how you live. In an 11 message series, Pastor Alan Wright takes you on a thrilling journey through the letter to the Ephesians. It'll flood your soul with good news and empower you to discover who you are in Christ. When you make your donation to Allen Wright Ministries today, we'll not only send you the digital downloads of the entire transformational Ephesians series, but we'll also send you a printable copy of Pastor Alan's booklet, highlighting the most important scriptures about your identity in Christ. Make your gift today and discover a whole new way of seeing your life.
Isn't it time to finally find out who you really are? Call us at 877-544-4860. That's 877-544-4860. Or come to our website, pastorallen.org. So Allen, this is not about necessarily, it's not about going on a power trip. That's what one could take and skew this into, right? To be seated with Christ, it's a statement that beggars our belief because, wow, I mean, Christ is exalted at the right hand of God. But it is an amazing thing that Paul is saying that there is a way in which, as we were just learning, that the honor that's been bestowed upon Christ is shared with us because we're reckoned to be His righteousness. But as we're going to learn tomorrow, it's also a position of rest. It means we're no longer in a struggle.
If you're seated, you're not struggling. And there is a positional authority that comes in the believer's life. So we're going to learn some more about what it really means to be seated with Christ. But we are there, figuratively and spiritually. We are there with Jesus Himself. And what it means for us, Daniel, is extraordinary. That like being seated at a great banquet table with our host, God has made us to be co-heirs with Christ. And it's something that shatters the imagination, but surely it is what the gospel teaches. Today's good news message is a listener-supported production of Allen Wright Ministries.
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