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What Is Christ Doing Now . . . and Why?, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
September 29, 2020 7:05 am

What Is Christ Doing Now . . . and Why?, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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September 29, 2020 7:05 am

Becoming a People of Grace: An Exposition of Ephesians

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While the Christian life begins with spiritual conversion, it mustn't end there. Walking with God is a journey that starts with salvation and continues for the remainder of our lives. In that respect, the gospel isn't a one-time event. It's something Christians live out every single day. Today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll teaches from Ephesians 1. In this passage, Paul explains that pursuing spiritual maturity requires connecting with Jesus on His terms.

Failing to do so will limit our access to His power. Chuck titled today's message, What is Christ Doing Now and Why? May I read for you just a few verses toward the end of the first chapter of Ephesians. Our Bibles are automatically opening there, aren't they?

That's great. Let me read Ephesians 1, beginning at verse 18 to the end of the chapter. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might, which He brought about in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the One to come. How grateful we are for the Word of God.

Heaven and earth will pass away, but His Word will never pass away. Lord, our desire is to lift our voices to You, not to one another, and to please You with our praises. This is our opportunity for the weak to gather with one another and to be saying the same thing in unison with one heart. We pray that the eyes of our heart may be enlightened, that we might know the things of God that will give us discernment and insight into this world about us and into the truth you have for us. We come with different kinds of hearts today, some full of praise and joy on the crest of the wave of delight. Some come in valleys of discouragement and disappointment, licking their wounds from recent defeats and failures they've experienced.

Some come with grief and heartache. But praise is still fitting as we recognize you, the author of every good and perfect gift and the one who sustains us even when we cannot see our way through a tunnel of tears. Encourage us, our Father, regardless of where we have been.

Encourage us about where we are going. And may we see again the surpassing power that is ours through Jesus Christ. And because of all of this, our Father, we give now gratefully, passionately, and hilariously because you have done the same for us throughout our lives and for the Church throughout the centuries. We pause to reflect on this time of gratitude with our gifts and in our worship, in Jesus' name we pray.

Everybody said, Amen. Disconnections lead to disqualification, lead to dysfunction. It's true in the human realm. People who are raised in situations that are less than healthy begin to live what we have come to call dysfunctional lives. Because they were disconnected with a home full of love and security and purpose and meaning, they found themselves caught in the traps of insecurity and inner struggles and confusion.

Some of you would have to say, that's me. I feel dysfunctional because I have been disconnected to a wholesome and healthy situation around me. Strange as it may sound, this is true also among the car industry and shiny cars that roll off the assembly line. It's important that those lines be connected in those cars or they won't run. Electrical lines or the lights won't burn. Gas lines or the engine won't run. Brake lines or the car won't stop. You've got to have connections if you're going to have function and purpose. It's true in the construction business. Who hasn't moved into a new home only to find out that something wasn't connected right? You turn on the disposal and the lights go on.

Or you flush the toilet and I won't go into that one, that's another one. I mean, you've got to have the lines connected. I came across a remarkable true story that speaks about the importance of connecting. Just before World War II in the town of Itasca, Texas, a school fire took the lives of 263 children. There was hardly a family in that town that was not touched by this terrible tragedy. During the war, the little town of Itasca remained about the same.

They had no school facilities. But when the war ended, the town, like many others around it, began to expand. And, in fact, they built a new school which featured what was called the finest sprinkler system in the world today. Civic pride ran high. Honor students were selected to guide the citizens and visitors on the tours of the new school facility to show them the finest, most advanced sprinkler system technology could supply and money could buy. Never again would Itasca be visited by such a terrible tragedy. With the post-war boom, the town continued to grow. And in the brief seven years, it was necessary to enlarge that school.

And in adding the new wing, it was discovered that the sprinkler system had never been connected. What an incredible story. And these simple little illustrations I've given you are but parables of an even greater tragedy. And that's the tragedy of the dysfunctional Christian. Most Christians are. I say that with a sigh because most Christians have never been informed on the importance of being connected.

There is a presence and there is a plan and there is a power available to every child of God. But if we're not careful, we'll live our lives as though we had never met Christ and didn't need His power. Part of the problem is we're just too connected already. We've got a fairly good IQ. We've got a, well, a rather strong emotional system.

We can handle it, thank you. And then we run up against a situation that absolutely blows us out of the water and we throw our hands up wondering why in the world did we ever believe in this Jesus in the first place? Never having learned how to be and stay connected to power. I'm not referring to a nice, helpful, quieting, restful power that helps you go to sleep at night. I'm talking about a surpassing power that is so phenomenal there aren't English words that can describe it. Paul called it several things when he prayed for it among the Ephesians. If you look at Ephesians chapter 1, you'll catch him on his knees where he gives God thanks for their loyalty to Christ and their love for one another and verse 18, he adds to his prayer that the eyes of our or their hearts would be opened.

Now don't let the word picture throw you. The eyes of one's heart. Those are not words you would use in the true physical sense but in the spiritual sense. Paul is writing about a spiritual heart with spiritual eyes. He's dealing with the spiritual realm. The heart is not a part of the anatomy that pumps the blood in Paul's mind. The heart is the nerve center of our being. It is our mind and our emotions and our volition all wrapped up in one area and he prays that that part of us will be spiritually alive and alert. We will have 20-20 spiritual vision so that we can not only take what comes against us but we can see the invisible and realize the unfathomable. It is a power that is so surpassing the apostle stacks synonyms together to describe this power.

See the end of verse 18 that we might know our calling and our inheritance and 19 what is the surpassing greatness of his power. There's the first word. It's the word dunamis. We get our word dynamite or dynamic or dynamo from it.

It's raw dynamic that they might know the dynamic that is available through Jesus Christ. That's power. These are in accordance with the working. See that word working. This is the word energia. We get our word energy from it. It is the inner energy the motivation to handle the day as we face it. We might have the dynamic the inner energy called here the working of his strength. This is a word for force just sheer force of his might. This has in mind the whole idea of conquering the ability to conquer whatever it is that becomes an obstacle.

You put all of those terms together I think Paul is saying this. May they have the kind of dynamic energizing forceful motivation that results in their conquering whatever difficulty they encounter seen and unseen familiar and unfamiliar overwhelming and common whatever it might be may they know such power. Wonderful news. Think of it as coming directly from the third heaven blasting through the heavenly spaces the stellar spaces our atmosphere this planet into our hearts bringing us the kind of power that is known only to the living God who made us as we are.

That'll put fire in your bones if nothing else will. You will have the kind of power God himself has originated and models. You say well I'd like to have some examples of that sort of power before I think I can tap into it.

Good. There are four of them. Verses 20 through 23 provide them for us. The first example of God demonstrating this power was at the resurrection. Look at verse 20 which he brought about in Christ when he raised him from the dead. Christians today have become so familiar with the resurrection it is easy to play down the power that it took to break the jaws of death. Remember when Christ was taken from the cross his body was limp.

Five wounds had yielded blood and there was no blood left. He died leaving the scars in his hands his feet and his side as visible reminders that death was his. He was wrapped in a mummy like fashion placed in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.

The tomb was sealed as he was left to be forgotten by the Romans and the Jewish officials alike. What a surprise they had a few hours later with the stone rolled away the tomb was empty. Let me remind you that the stone was not rolled away to let Jesus out. It was rolled away to let us in. He didn't need the stone rolled away to be resurrected.

When there is a resurrection the whole molecular structure of the anatomy is changed so that you can move through space and matter without any obstacle or problem. I think he was raised before the stone was rolled away. The stone was rolled away so the witnesses could get in and have their jaw dropped down to their chest and wonder where in the world he is and to hear the angel say he is not here he is risen. That kind of power that broke the jaws of death that moved Christ from death back to life and gave him that whole sense of an eternal existence on this earth in bodily form that kind of power is available to you.

If that isn't enough look at the next statement. It was the kind of power when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenlies. We have Ephesians to thank for the doctrine of session. Few other truths in the scriptures are set forth in a more limited fashion than the seating of Christ at the Father's right hand. Ephesians speaks of it not here only but elsewhere as well. When Christ was on this earth after his resurrection 40 days passed in which he ministered not only to his immediate 12 but to at times 500 at once and others who came to know him. He then came to the place of appointment and was lifted up into the clouds and was returned in his ascension.

Where did he go? Ephesians tells us the Father welcomed him into heaven and seated him at his own right hand. Did you know that? Did you know that he sat down at the place of authority?

Now I love this part of the story. If it had been you and me we would have put our arms around our son and said that's enough fight for the rest of your existence. Don't worry about another thing. Don't concern yourself about anything more on earth. You're a veteran. They killed you. I brought you back to life.

I now have you by my side. Don't get involved with those people anymore. But of course that's the way we would handle it. That's not the way the Father handled it. Observe what he did when he sat him at his right hand. He gave him a place far above. Notice the words far above.

We'll come back to them. All rule and authority and power and dominion and every name that is named not only in this age but also in the one to come. He put all things in subjection under his feet. That's the third evidence of the surpassing power of God.

Not only when he sat him at his right hand but he said to the son in effect all the things that you have been a part of on the earth you are now an authority over. All things. All things in heaven and earth and under the earth. All things visible and invisible. All things present and all things future.

Observe all things. I have it circled in my Bible. Verse 22. He put all things in subjection under his feet. That means Jesus Christ bows to no one. All things bow to him.

And if that isn't enough, look at the last one. He gave him as head over all things to the church which is his body the fullness of him who fills all in all. That's the fourth evidence of surpassing power. He raised him from the dead. He seated him at his right hand. He gave him authority over all things and then he placed him as head over all things in the church. The all things that he has authority over become the all things in the church over which he is head and they become for you in Christ in submission as well.

What a tremendous thought because I am in Christ I can know the kind of authority over these things that Jesus Christ himself demonstrated. The father gave him the power. He took the power and now gives it to those who are in him if we will only connect. Connect. Connect.

That's the secret. When we come to Christ the Holy Spirit is given to us. When the Holy Spirit becomes a resident inside our being he is ready and willing and available to serve the purpose and glory of Christ. When we turn to him in weakness and need and sorrow and struggle and say to God I cannot handle this.

Please may the Holy Spirit guide me through this. He brings a power that you and I know nothing of in our own flesh. The tragedy is I say again we are so blame capable. We are so victims of habit.

We have learned ways to take situations and make the best of them cleverly handling them working our way through them maneuvering our will so that it gets done in the midst of our struggle rather than saying Lord I'm over my head. I'm not able to handle this. I am I am out of my league and this is for you since this is falls in the category of all things over which you are far above the power. I give it all to you. I trust you. I rest your case.

Leave it with you. Now it's the third one that interests me and I want to focus on because that is in the realm where many of us encounter difficulty far above all rule and authority and power and dominion and every name that is named not only in this age but also in the one to come he has put all things in subjection under his feet. Don't race too quickly past those words. I think at the heart of them is the whole idea of the demonic forces. I believe not only in a very real devil and I and I understand him to be absolutely supernatural. I do not believe he is a little red skinned imp that carries a pitchfork and has a long forked tail and horns and sits on my shoulder whispering nasty things in my ear. That's a medieval caricature that the devil would love to have me believe. He hates it when people know the truth about him he'd rather you believe the lie.

That's one of them. He would much prefer that he never be mentioned. That's the other side of the devil's style. He doesn't want you to be informed of the things I'm going to inform you of. Turn to chapter six when we talk about being above all dominions and rulers and authorities and powers. I want to show you something here. I want you to be thinking. I really don't want you to let your mind wander.

This is thinking time. Look at verse ten. Ten through twelve of chapter six. We'll come back to this in our study of Ephesians but I want to jump ahead and show you something here. Finally be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.

There it is again. If you're disconnected you become dysfunctional. You'll become defeated. If you're connected in the strength of his might you can be strong in the Lord.

Now why? Verse eleven. So that you can put on the full armor of God and be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For he explains our struggle is not against flesh and blood. The Greek says blood and flesh. Our struggle is not against blood and flesh. It's not a woman with woman, man with woman, man with man, woman with man. It's not a human struggle.

It is against, notice the definite articles. There are four of them identifying the ranks of the demonic forces, the rulers, the powers, the world forces of darkness, the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Well we're just getting started in a three day presentation that answers the important question, what is Christ doing now and why? You're listening to Insight for Living featuring the Bible teaching of pastor and author Chuck Swindoll. To learn more about this ministry visit us online at insightworld.org. At the outset of this study in Ephesians I'm pleased to remind you that Chuck has written a helpful commentary on Paul's letter. In fact this particular volume contains his insight on Galatians as well. It's called Swindoll's Living Insights Commentary on Galatians and Ephesians.

You can purchase a hardbound copy at Insight for Living's website by going to insight.org slash store or call us if you're listening in the United States dial 1-800-772-8888. And let me add this important reminder, Chuck's teaching on your station is made possible through your voluntary donations. Please don't underestimate the power of your gift no matter its size. Your contribution truly makes a difference as we help others around the world become a people of grace. In fact during the pandemic combined with this season of social unrest, many have told us that Chuck's teaching has become their trusted source of biblical encouragement. While many churches have been required to limit their indoor services, Insight for Living has continued without interruption. And in fact the pandemic has fueled our fire to pursue Vision 195 with renewed passion to reach all 195 countries of the world with God's grace.

We couldn't do this without monthly companions and all those who give one-time contributions. So as you measure the impact of Insight for Living on your life and as God prompts you to share this Bible teaching with others around the world, we invite you to join us in this worthy mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ. To give a donation today, call us. If you're listening in the United States, dial 1-800-772-8888 or give online by going to insight.org slash donate. Thanks for supporting Insight for Living with your generous gifts. It's almost impossible to escape the pervasive news these days.

It's everywhere and most of us are craving a break from the TV and a reprise from the images of rage, disease and civil unrest. In this volatile season, Insight for Living Ministries has continued to serve as a safe harbor where good news is celebrated. Many tell us that the Bible teaching from Chuck Swindoll provides a refreshing getaway from the chaos and confusion of our times. Well these daily visits with Chuck are made possible in part by monthly companions and we're inviting you to join this influential team of monthly supporters. Sign up today by calling us. If you're listening in the United States, dial 1-800-772-8888. In this hostile, meat-first world, people are craving just one gentle whiff of God's goodness and grace.

And when we respond today, our simple act of generosity will be transformed into that irresistible sweet aroma of grace for someone we may never meet this side of eternity. Become a regular monthly supporter by calling us. If you're listening in the United States, dial 1-800-772-8888 or go online to Insight.org slash monthly companion. Tomorrow Chuck Swindoll continues his message called, What is Christ Doing Now and Why? right here on Insight for Living. The preceding message, What is Christ Doing Now and Why?, was copyrighted in 2000, 2001 and 2009. And the sound recording was copyrighted in 2009 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-26 05:51:54 / 2024-02-26 06:00:32 / 9

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