Pastor, author, and Bible teacher, Alan Wright. See, you must understand, Christians, we are not saying to the world, we are better than you. In fact of the matter, if anybody's a Christian at all, we would go back with Paul and we would say Ephesians 2, 1. If you really want to know who I am, I'm not better than you.
I was dead in my trespasses. 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. These were the people that were descended from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And so that's the Jewish people. And this is the people that God had chosen unto himself to be a light unto the nations and to be a blessing to the whole world. This was the people through whom God had predestined that there would be an elect one. There would be one who would be born out of this people, a Jewish boy who would be born in Bethlehem.
It would become savior of the world. Now, the Jewish people, God's people, were given the law of God as a gift to give them instructions in the way of life. And so they were to cherish the law and they were given an old covenant through Moses that said if they would obey the laws, then they would be blessed.
But along with this covenant of works, there was also that if you do not obey, then you're under a curse. And so it was that this was the people of God known as the Jewish people. Now, the Gentiles are every other kind of person. And you might see that at different eras of history, the Gentiles are characterized by their love of other deities, their love of wisdom like the Greeks, or their thirst for power and prominence like the Romans, including the barbarians. All of this would be categorized as Gentile. So you had only two in the biblical worldview.
There are only two kinds of people. There are Jewish people and there are Gentile people. Now, what's important to understand is that they had such animosity towards one another.
It was rooted in this. The people of God who saw themselves as the ones who had the covenant and they had the outward sign of the covenant, circumcision, they saw themselves as God's people. And what sin does in the human heart is one of two things.
Either you tend to rebel against that law or you tend to try to keep that law so much that you feel so much better about yourself. But all along the way, God had known the people needed a savior. And everything that God had shown to the life of Israel was in many ways foreshadowing the savior that would come, the Lord Jesus. But what happens so often amongst the Jewish people, and you see this when Jesus is ministering, is you had some of the most religious people like the Pharisees that Jesus absolutely rebuked and said, you're just like blind guides. You're like whitewashed tombs.
You look good on the outside, but inside you're full of dead bones. And so this criticism, this rebuke that Jesus had was very striking towards the very people that were the Jewish people. Now, the Jewish people looked down upon the Gentile people and called them dogs and weren't even supposed to associate with them. The Gentiles looked at the Jewish people and they either ridiculed them for all their silly laws like hand washing rituals and all of that, or they persecuted them as the Jewish people have been so persecuted over throughout really their history. And so you had this development of hostility that was just so great.
I really enjoyed seeing what Pastor Mark Driscoll in all of his irreverent way and sometimes playful way puts it. He said, let's say that there were two boys out playing. Let's say one was a Jew and one was a Gentile and they weren't supposed to be playing together, but they're out playing and they saw one another. And let's say the Gentile boy asked the Jewish boy, oh, are there any Gentiles in the Bible? He probably at first feel very encouraged to hear the Jewish boy say, yeah, actually there are a lot of Gentiles in the Bible. Oh, good. The Gentile boy would say, so we made the book.
Yeah. The Jewish kid says, you guys are the Babylonians. You're the Chaldeans, right?
You're the Egyptians. You heard of Nebuchadnezzar? That's your guy. Do you like the story of David and Goliath? David was our guy.
Goliath was your guy. All the bad guys, those are your guys. All the enemies of God and his people, those are your guys. And if this were an old school Western, all your guys are wearing black hats and all my guys are wearing white hats. We're the good guys.
You're the bad guys. God loves us and God hates you. That's a pretty playful way of putting it, but that's kind of the kind of animosity that it developed between Jew and Gentile. And it's important to realize that this is completely for the Jewish people, for anybody that ever misunderstood what it meant to be the chosen people of God, that this is an absolute misunderstanding of everything God had ever intended, right? Because what God had done is he had chosen a people unto himself, not because he said, I love this people and I don't love the rest of the world, but he was demonstrating the way of redemption. What God was going to do is he was going to not just have a chosen people, he was going to have a chosen person. He was going to have his only begotten son who would come into the world. And this one elect one, his son, that in him would be life for anyone. So you must understand, Christians, we are not saying to the world, we are better than you. In fact of the matter, if anybody's a Christian at all, we would go back with Paul and we would say Ephesians 2, 1, if you really want to know who I am, I'm not better than you. I was dead in my trespasses.
I was lost in my sin. I'm not better than anybody. In fact, what we recognize because we become more honest, we start recognizing the depravity that's in the human soul.
So we're never saying we're better than you. Instead, we're just saying we were dead people and God made us alive. Can I tell you about the life of God? We were people who didn't know how loved we were and found out how loved we are. Can I tell you about the love of God? We were people who were starving and we found bread.
Can I serve you some? We were nearly thirsting to death. We're not better than you. We are just so thirsty, but we came upon a spring of living water.
I can tell you where it is. Do you see the difference between that? We're not saying we are better. We are just simply saying that we like all of humanity were utterly dead and lost and God who is rich and mercy has blessed us and now we have discovered the love of God and we want everyone to know. But where you don't have that mentality, all manner of division arises. And so there is this huge animosity between the divide of the people of God, the Jewish people and the Gentiles. And you would think that here is where in the spirit of the age, what the world would say is you need a good mediator.
If you're going to get these people that are so alienated from one another, you need somebody that's going to help reconcile them. And so there are two versions of our story that get told. And I want to tell you first the version that is more palatable for the spirit of the age, the version that is more believable, right?
The less tall tale would go something like this. God saw that his precious people were confused. They were hurting one another. The Jewish people, the ones that he entrusted the law to and the promises to had not been able to keep the laws that he'd given them and they tended to become idolatrous and abandon his laws or they tended to become prideful and boasted how well they kept the laws compared to others.
In short, they felt themselves to be better. They call themselves the circumcision, the covenant people and all the rest were bad guys, the non-circumcised, the non-covenant people. And the uncircumcised hated the Jews because they were so boastful and so prideful and they thought themselves better than everyone else so they rebelled all the more.
And they sought to overpower the Jews and show them who was really in charge. What would God do to bring reconciliation? So this version says he would send a mediator, a peacemaker and the mediator would be born in a humble way and a baby as a baby in Bethlehem and born to a peasant girl amidst a scandal that she was betrothed and not yet married. And he would grow up to be one of the most loving people, most open-minded men, so gracious that he could get along with everyone. And when he began teaching publicly, everyone was amazed at how wise he was and they were amazed at his ideology, this new ideology of love. He was the perfect mediator because he didn't judge either side, Jew or Gentile, but he could bring them together with his new peaceful solutions. He advocated peaceful solutions, accepted all kinds of people and taught tolerance so that people could learn to get along. There were some who misunderstood him and like so many great advocates of peace, violent men killed him, but his life stands as a model for us today. Jesus's false trial and the abuse that he suffered is an inspiration to us because if he suffered for his teachings of peace and tolerance and love, then we ought to be able to make his teachings more real to ourselves and to others. If we would just hearken unto his teachings and follow his example, we could bring people of all faiths and ideologies together and co-exist with one another in a new dimension of love and harmony.
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? Now 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. It'll 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, 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, PastorAlan.org. Today's teaching now continues.
Here once again is Alan Wright. A really good man came who really loved like nobody's ever loved before, and who didn't judge people, and he was able to teach peace, and blessed are the peacemakers, and that through this so much good came into the world. And so we have a lot to learn from this man Jesus. And that's essentially the version that is palatable to the culture around us. It's just not our gospel. Our gospel is way more unbelievable than that.
Our gospel is just way more improbable than that. It's way more fantastic. It's far more supernatural. It is extraordinary. It's preposterous. It's just unbelievable.
It's earth-shaking. The story is far different. Let me give you the tall tale.
The tall tale version is this. God saw that His people, His own people, were unable to keep the law, and that because of this they were under a curse of sin and death, for it had been prescribed in the beginning that the wages of sin is death. And God, who is rich in mercy, willed that no one would perish, but He longed that everyone have everlasting life. And He saw that there was a great wall of hostility between the people that He had called to be a blessing unto the nations, but that instead there was hostility and hatred towards the nations. And God loved all people the same.
And He in His great infinite mercy and richness, the Creator who created the great dog star and who created every molecule, the God of infinite wisdom and glory, did the unthinkable. He came to the earth leaving behind the raiment of heavenly glory and becoming an ovum in a peasant girl's womb and being born as a helpless baby in Bethlehem. And there were shepherds that were watching their flocks nearby. And an angel of the Lord appeared unto them and said glory to God in the highest and peace on earth. And it was declared unto those shepherds, boy, that unto you this day in the city of David is born a Savior. He is Christ the Lord. That the expectation of the chosen people of God has now come to pass.
And this new king has been born. So great was this news that Magi later from a faraway place in the east came following a supernatural star that actually led them to the very place where Jesus was. And they being warned by the Lord not to go back to Herod went back by a different route because Herod wanted to kill the baby boy.
But an angel spoke to Joseph and told him to take the child over to Egypt until the threat was gone because even though the baby was utterly vulnerable the baby was utterly protected because this baby was fully human and yet was fully God. This baby who had yet to do any ministry nonetheless was the son of God who grew in wisdom and stature and favor with God and with man. And when the time came, so our story goes, when the time came for his public ministry he was speaking in his own hometown of Nazareth, a little podunk town in Galilee. But his fame had begun to spread as a great teacher and a wonderful rabbi and so they were honored to have a visiting rabbi at synagogue that day. And so they handed him the scroll to read the pre-selected scripture and then to expound upon that scripture and so it was that Jesus of Nazareth unfurled that scroll and it happened that that day's selected reading was from Isaiah chapter 61. And he read the words of the prophet who had spoken eight centuries earlier. And the prophet Isaiah had spoken under the unction of the Holy Spirit seeing into things that were eight centuries ahead and had said the spirit of the Lord is anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor and to bind up the broken heart and to bring release to the captives and open the mind the eyes of the blind and to proclaim the year of jubilee the favor of the Lord is at hand. And he read this scripture from Isaiah 61 and he rolled the scroll back up and he handed it to the attendant he sat down and all the eyes of everyone in Nazareth was fixed upon this young rabbi and he looked at them and he said I imagine with a smile today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing he said I am the messiah that has been awaited and what is being announced through my ministry is something that will change the world and he went on to heal the sick and raise the dead and open up blind eyes literally and spiritually and yes he taught amazing things and spoke of peace and spoke of love and spoke of glorious truths of an eternity with God and there was only one thing that the Jews and the gentiles ever agreed upon the Jewish aristocracy and the religion and the and the and the Roman authorities ended up agreeing upon this one thing this man ought to be killed but this man wasn't killed instead Jesus said on several occasions no one takes my life from me I lay down my own life because it was by God's set for ordained purpose that Jesus would come and that Jesus would lay down his life by his own volition why because what Jesus had come to do he set his face resolutely toward Jerusalem and he did because the son of God who was perfect and sinless and righteous and deserved nothing but God's good pleasure and eternal reward and majesty instead he hung upon the cross he had been beaten and flogged to the point that he could barely walk and someone else had to carry his cross by the time they nailed him to that tree he was nearly dead they didn't need to break his legs as was customary because his crucifixion was swift he was ready and he was ready to surrender his spirit and he spoke it is finished and when he said it is finished when he died that day the earth shook the cosmos was changed there were some dead people in the graves that couldn't stand it so they just came on up and came alive because everything had changed because in his body he took within himself the sin of humanity the perfect unstained son of God became as if he was contaminated with the poison of every sin of life he drank of the cup of suffering and he drank it to the drinks and he not only took within himself the whole curse but he took upon himself the whole penalty of any wrath of God against sin for all time in the past and the present and in the future so when he said it is finished he meant it is finished no one needs to die anymore the law has served its purpose but now a new era has come and a new covenant has been established and when he was buried he was really dead and he was really buried but on the third day a glorious light came bursting forth full of the same power that came forth from the mouth of God in the beginning when he said let there be light and that resurrection power of God raised that Nazarene from the grave and he gave many convincing proofs that he was still alive so much so that the gospel writers speak of it as one of the most miraculous times he was ascended to the right hand of God the father which was better for us he said because if i go to the father then what it means is that i'll send my spirit to you the holy spirit will come and i will be with you until the end of the age and i'll never leave you and i'll never forsake you and so what has happened he said is that i have become sin so that you would become my righteousness and anybody therefore who is in Jesus Christ comes into an awareness of a perfect love that casts out all fear and when there's a perfect love that casts out all fear the human heart no longer has a need to place itself above other people in racism and prejudice and the wall of hostility comes down because something supernatural has happened everybody who is in Christ is now a part of a third new form of humanity a new kind of race the one who is in Christ is no longer Jew or Gentile no longer Jew or Greek no longer male or female no longer black or white no longer this or that but one in Christ and we have become like cells in the body of the head of Jesus Christ and he is alive within us and we like cells in a body are given a spiritual dna that connects us in a supernatural way that is eternal that is glorious is beyond our comprehension what has happened literally is that you church have not only been brought together with one another you've been brought together with God and have become the dwelling place of God so take it or leave it but that's our story and i'm sticking with it because that is the gospel all right today's teaching you're the dwelling place of God it's from the scripture and the overall series from Ephesians we've got more from Allen in the studio with additional insight for your life coming up just who do you think you are now 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 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 Ephesian 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 well Allen that's the mark of a wonderful sermon when you start off and you had dead silence and you make the same statement at the end and you get rousing applause it has clicked it's made sense now and what a wonderful conclusion we are the dwelling place God it is something that will make you just want to either sit in awe or shout glory or or let it just sink deeply into you our story Daniel is not one that should be you know toned down or made tame because it seems so outrageous it's one that should be announced in all of its glory and this is what God's saying to our listeners today every single one when you accept Christ you become his dwelling place wow today's good news message is a listener supported production of Allen Wright Ministries
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-07 08:46:15 / 2023-04-07 08:55:26 / 9