Welcome to Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, Pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. In Christ, we have direct and free access to God, the Holy Infinite Sovereign of the universe. We can confidently approach Him to obtain all we need, without judgment or fear.
We come not on our own merit, but because of what Jesus has done. Let's listen in on this message titled Boldness and Access as Pastor Rich unpacks Ephesians 3, 8-13. We're tuning in to the second part of this sermon, first preached on July 30th, 2017.
We're tuning in to the second part of this sermon, first preached on July 30th, 2017. Very true statement, isn't it? Paul would say that.
In fact, he did. But that's not where the statement ends. It says this, in the end, people will judge you anyway, so don't live your life to impress others, live your life impressing yourself. And I'm like, wow. Now, can you imagine Jesus saying that?
Live your life to impress yourself. Christians, is this not syncretism? It is biblical faith with the secular materialistic religion of self-esteem. We're very syncretistic. We can be so syncretistic.
So it's not just the tribes in Papua New Guinea that do that, but we can do the same thing too. So who has this confidence here? It's confidence in a trustworthy object. That object of our confidence is Jesus Christ our Lord, our complete trust in His redemptive work. And what does it afford us?
Look what he says in verse 12. We have boldness and access. Boldness and access. To whom?
To what? You need to think about this, boldness and access to God. And who is God? The holy, perfect, infinite, sovereign of the universe.
He is the greatest and most important reality, one before whom, if you were to get a glimpse of Him, you would fall down overcome with awe. And with the confidence that we have in Christ, we have boldness and access to this one, our Creator and our Redeemer. And that boldness, the word boldness means confidence speech. So it means you feel confident to just approach and start talking to. Isn't that a wonderful idea?
It's a wonderful thought. But the access there, it says we have boldness and access. That means, access means we can approach and interact with Him to obtain all that I need without fear, without dread, without judgment. He wants me to approach Him and He's given me the basis upon which I can do that and that basis is the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. And so when I recognize that I have that boldness and access to Him with that confidence in Christ, that is my position. That is the believer's state before God. I have been declared as one who is accepted before God.
Like a tree planted by the waters, it's life refreshment and productivity because I'm drawing from Him because I have access to Him. That's the difference between man's religion and the religion of grace. Man's religion says that you need to live to appease whatever your notion of God is. And all man-made religions are that even if they don't believe in a personal God or a God being which is a person or they some places believe in many gods. But the whole idea is that people live to appease that higher understanding to try to live up to that.
And if I don't live right, then whatever the forces there are that be are going to put me under their thumb. Christians, are you living that way? Do you think of God that way?
Is He to you a person that if you step out of the line, He's going to put you under His thumb until you straighten out? You don't know God if that's what He is to you. And you need to know not the God of your imagination, you need to know the God who has disclosed Himself to you in the scriptures. Because not only is it your position, but it is your delight that this be your practice as well.
To have boldness and access to the infinite sovereign of the universe. Practice. When I was thinking this, I'm thinking, you know, I thought of the phrase, you can lead a horse to water, but you can't what? You can't make a drink. And God calls Himself the fountain of living waters. And He says, be astounded that My people have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters and hewn for themselves broken jugs that can't hold water. We need to practice the presence of God because we have that boldness and access. Practice the presence of God at work, at home, at pleasure, in adversity.
Think His thoughts, develop His character, do good things that He does. All this is ministry. But see, it's an outflow. It's not tacking things onto your life.
It's not a checklist of duties that you should be accomplishing because you're a Christian. No, it's the outflow of your communion with Him because you have boldness and access. You see, this is the fountainhead of ministry.
That's where it comes from. Because this becomes true. Your boldness and access to the Father is what you were designed for. That's why the psalmist, David, said this in Psalm 1611, You make known to me the path of life. In Your presence is fullness of joy.
At Your right hand are pleasures evermore. Do you know God this way? If you don't know God this way, then you need to get to know Him.
You need to get to know Him. And I invite you to that this morning. You have boldness and access to Him in this way. That's the fountainhead of ministry. In Christ, you are set apart to serve God. And this is the fountainhead of your ministry.
Live in the outflow. So what is the attitude of ministry? We glean this from the Apostle Paul and what his attitude is.
Look with me at verse 8. To me who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ. This grace that was given to me, and that's what it is. Grace is an attitude of ministry, meaning it was given to me.
I received it. It was entrusted to me. God has given me tools for the task.
And so it is a stewardship. Use it well. Use it faithfully.
Use it skillfully. That's the attitude of grace. Because God has given you something to accomplish His purpose in the church. And every believer has grace granted to them by God as a tool for the purpose and the mission of the church.
And Paul understood that. And that's why he said this grace was given to me that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ. What is the second attitude of ministry?
It's humility. Look what he says right there at the beginning of verse 8. To me, as the new King James says, who am less than the least of all the saints.
Now that's quite an emphasis, isn't it? I am less than the least of all the saints. In another portion of the scripture he says I am the least of the apostles. But here he says I am less than the least of all the saints.
Why did he say this? Because before he used to be what? He was a murderer. In his religious zeal he was taking people's lives because he was worshipping the God of who he thought God was. He was not worshipping the God revealed in scripture. He was worshipping the God of his imagination. He was worshipping the God of his religion. He was worshipping the God of his religious system. But here he was, a zealous man, he was the poster boy of spirituality. He had more than a PhD in his education. So he was very educated, he was very wealthy, and he was a good man. He did all the stuff a good Jew is supposed to do. And yet what does he say about that? I considered all that what?
Rubbish that I may gain from it. And all these people, all these lives that he had taken in his religious zeal because he thought he was serving God, but it was not the God of revealed scripture, it was the God of his imagination. And that's why he calls himself less than the least of all the saints. What makes it clear in this attitude of ministry here, the first one is grace, the second one is humility, there was no sense of worthiness in Paul, there was no sense of worthiness. Yeah, God, you need me. He didn't come into the doors of an assembly of the church and he says, here I am, I'm God's gift to the church, what do you want me to do for you?
There was no sense of worthiness in him. And you see his humility, we know all that Paul went through, his humility informed his expectations and his demands. And so it should be for you and me. In our ministry, our context of the church, our humility ought to be what informs our expectations and our demands. You know, people can be demanding.
Did you know that? Paul didn't look to people for his affirmation, he looked to Christ for his affirmation. In other words, he wasn't living to impress himself. He was living for the audience of one and that became very, very clear. So that is the attitude of ministry that we find from the Apostle Paul. So what then is the message of ministry? The fountainhead of ministry, the attitude of ministry, and now the message of ministry.
Look for me at verse nine. And to make all see what is the fellowship, that's the word oikonomia, okay, that's the word stewardship or dispensation, all right, of the mystery which is from the beginning of the ages to be hidden, that has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ. Okay, the message of ministry begins with the Creator. We are communicating communication from the Creator, the purpose and plan of the Creator. That is, the message of our ministry is to glorify God, to point to him, the one who made us and the one who made us for himself. He is the point to our existence and the point to our existence is not a creed, it's not an idea, it's not a code. The point to our existence is a person and that person is not me, that person is God. You've been listening to Delight and Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. Visit our church website to see upcoming events or to listen to more messages at www.gbcwinston.com. To discover how to live by grace, tune in on weekdays at 10 a.m.
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