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October 1, 2020 7:05 am
It was the apostle Paul who said most gladly therefore I will post about my weakness is why our may rest upon me may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with any found himself at home with the kind of things you when I run from weakness and insults and distresses and persecutions and difficulties for Christ sake.
For when I am we you make a strong Bible teaching a pastor and author Chuck Swindoll this week we are getting our complete attention to a passage in Ephesians. The apostle Paul paints an eloquent picture of Jesus in heaven, seated at the right hand of the father.
This powerful position has wonderful implications for the believer come to understand during this next half hour. Today's presentation is part of the series called becoming a people of grace and job title. Today's message what is Christ doing now and why we begin in Ephesians chapter 1, several observation there is a struggle going on in verse 12 we struggled not against blood and flesh.
This is not some distant theoretical struggle that seminaries study about that a few theologians talk about and write about. This is the struggle of your life and mine. This is hand-to-hand combat with an enemy that is not only insidious in nature. He is invisible. You don't know where it's coming from next first. Remember there's a struggle noticed, secondly, that the contest is human versus supernatural. We don't struggle against blood and flesh we mere mortals struggle against the supernatural forces that we cannot see against the strength that is beyond hours don't flirt with it and don't play with it is my warning here. Don't get around it, knowing that you're messing in the demonic realm don't go there. We say thirdly, there is a strategy going on. See the end of verse 11 stand firm against the schemes of the devil. He's been studying Christians like us down through the ages. He knows the tanks MR armor. He knows the weaknesses he knows the areas when we are quickly overwhelmed and overcome.
And he points attention to those the enemy also knows the church.
He knows how to get to the church.
He knows the way into the workings of a church and he knows how to disrupt a church. It is a method that is been perfected through the centuries. Hear me on this.
It is going on. It has been going on for centuries. It will continue to go on, but the good news. It is not above the power of Jesus Christ. That is the power we need if we are disconnected from the power then the enemy will get his way. The adversary will win the day. We are coming against the supernatural Mafia. The best way I know to describe it. The enemies Mafia is described as look at verse 12 rulers powers forces of darkness, and spiritual hosts of wickedness, but you have nothing to fear because greater is he who is in you than he who is in the world. If you are connected back Ephesians 1 when God gave Christ as head over the church when God decided not to keep Christ to himself, as we would've done what God seated him and exalted him.
God gave him a position of ultimate overall authority so that he would ultimately be the judge of the rest that lay before us in the future. Christ will be the king of kings and the Lord of lords.
That day is coming, he operates now in the invisible realm fighting on our behalf serving the cause of the father fulfilling the father's desire. His power pervades the enemy will bow when faced with the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ power is there. He's been given as head over all things to the church and that means we're in that group were among the all things and we are part of his body so he becomes for us the fullness who fills all in all and I plead with you, not to approach the day as though you were strong but approach it, knowing that you are weak and saying so quit acting to the contrary.
Now, does this mean we all shove our hands in our pockets and kicked our toes in the dirt and learn to say aw shucks all through the day. Is that what God's plan is of course not. I never saw Christ doing that is the most humble who ever lived in look at his life by the way, and he showed his strength and his humility in his dependence on the father and he model for us with this Christian life is about. He stayed connected connected.
That's the term disconnections lead to dysfunctions connections in the victory. God's power is not like some bodybuilding muscular try to imagine this right now. Okay some of you say could you have chosen little better illustration but right now that's the best against God is not some you know iron pumping impressive creature stumbling around heaven, saying it's not the way it works. God's power is quiet effect incredibly magnificently and visibly overwhelming the best prayers are prayers that are screened, they are prayers that are uttered in great need help, Lord. Right now I find myself weakening the Lord at this I find myself thinking human thoughts. I find myself wanting to retaliate and fight back.
I find myself depressed and discouraged over this. Lord, change me. Take control.
I connect to your power and I ask you to put that power to work in me so that I have eyes that are enlightened to see what you can see, and I not able to see in myself the greatest evidence of power is change we go to another subject they all tie in when is that power best displayed in us get it when we are weak when we are we when we were strong turned back to second Corinthians chapter 12. Please do that. I know you're settled into Ephesians 1 thinking will be there till Jesus comes back with, we won't second Corinthians 12 I really want you to turn to this ties in beautifully with the whole message now when you find verse seven which finger there then look up okay. Second Corinthians 12 seven Paul in a supernatural trance. Stay with me was caught up in the third heaven. You can believe it. In this trance. Some believe it was when he was stoned at Lysistrata, and while unconscious, he was in this trance out of the wind. It was no one can say for sure but at some part of Paul's life of ministry. He was caught up into the third heaven second Corinthians 12 tells us this and while it was there he received divine revelation from God that he calls, surpassing revelation right here verse seven because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations. For this reason, to keep me from exalting myself.
There was given me a thorn in the flesh. The foreign the word foreign. It refers to something that is sharp like a steak like you drive a stake in the ground sharp knife sharp piercing pain. We don't know what it was. I think it was some form of migraine.
It was a painful eye problem.
Some awful mail you some believe it was related to his malaria don't think that fits the idea of penetrating pain like this. That's a fever disease that this is a penetrating painful foreign like or foreign like affliction use that word. There was given to me a thorn in the flesh wide to keep me from being proud. I mean, he's been in the third heaven, he has heard from God as Moses had heard from God. He has received the revelation concerning the church grace God's plan for the Gentiles, God's plan for the future. Christ's plan for his return. All the revelations that were given to him came from that third heaven encounter and he said because of the greatness of the revelation was given a thorn in the flesh cannot please observe something he calls it in an appositional phrase here, a messenger of Satan to torment me when you go through and affliction. The enemy knows we are weakened and he takes this as an opportunity to afflict further.
You and I who have known fever and illness. Some of you much more than I but you know how weak you can be in a bit on a bed of affliction and you can't get yourself healthy and the physicians medications aren't working in the therapy isn't getting the results and in that downstate, the enemy comes in and attacks. He calls it here. It's like a messenger of Satan to torment me to keep me God's plan was to keep him from exalting himself. The Satan's desire was to defeat him, and to finish his ministry.
All this is in the road you go take your life. Get off this earth. After all, you get to go to heaven just just finishing all Satan's major message ultimate message. By the way is take your life.
He's in the he's a murderer from the beginning and so suicide is invariably in some way, directly or indirectly related to his message to another subject. So Paul said concerning this verse eight implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. Don't let anybody tell you the praying once is enough. Paul prayed three times. He prayed three times that it might leave me now watch what he said. He said the H is capitalized so it's God, God said, and returned to me, my grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected. In weakness, isn't that great my grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.
Now pause there because the quotation ends and God stops talking and Paul responds, but I don't want you to go to his response quickly what you're reading it stop right there. Okay, I already don't want to go there yet.
Wait a minute I get there I will give your principal to write in the margin of your Bible. It's it's got some tough words in it but it it it you'll come back to it. Here's the principle, the greater our acknowledged weakness, the greater our acknowledged weakness, the more evident Christ's enabling strength. That's the principle, the greater our acknowledged weakness, the more evident Christ's enabling strength.
You got it. I don't want to hurry on. I want you to get that principle is it that a lot of us hangs on that principle, I acknowledge. Lord, I have a thorn in my flesh I cannot get past the migraine I cannot get past the pain of it.
I cannot sustain this ministry at this level of involvement and energy required. I can't keep going. I need you help me with. Give me grace to endure it. Give me relief from it. I am weak. You are strong, show me your grace and I will walk in your strength connected connected connected with the Lord, and he said I cannot do this without your help and connected. He says this now we can read most gladly therefore I will rather boast about my weakness says when the last time you saw that Wall Street Journal. I will boast in my weakness is why so that the power may rest upon me may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with and he found himself at home with this list the kind of things you when I run from weakness and insults and distresses and persecutions and difficulties for Christ's sake. For when I am weak. You make me strong. That's the principle, the greater our acknowledged weakness, the more Christ's enabling strength. That's why people who don't hide their weaknesses, but tell vulnerable either story are so blessed God, who can't identify with weakness who in the entire group can identify with unending stream nor the soul, but every person listening to me right now is known and now knows weaknesses.
You got to stay connected. Stop relying on yourself and acting like your strong Ray Steadman tells the true story of a young man who came to him and tearful, emotional agony, he spoke to Ray about the feelings of temptation that were so strong as he struggled with the deep-seated feelings of lust. He feared he would never be able to overcome those temptations to sin race that I sat down with them and we had an honest talk, you know, I said, quoting Ray Steadman God's power is made perfect in weakness. Your problem is that your trying to feel strong you want to feel powerful. But God says no resurrection powers, the kind that works best when you feel weak, so if you feel weak. Thank God for new counsel you feel weak. First of all say thank you Lord for the reminder that I am not strong in this the next time you find yourself threatened with those attacks of lust won to Christ in your helplessness say Lord I cannot handle this by myself. I cannot control myself if you don't help me, I'm sunk okay so the young man dubiously try couple weeks later Ray ran into him. He screamed.
He told me it really works. I kept reading that passage in Ephesians and I was struck by the two words, far above member as it would come back to them, far above it says that Christ is seated at God's right hand in the heavenly realms far above rule and authority and power and dominion. Those two words, far above opened my eyes, I thought, hey, if God is at work in me.
If he has that kind of power that nobody else's power can even get close to me. No demonic force.
No lustful birds can be greater than the power of Jesus Christ.
When I saw that fact. I was able simply to rest in my Lord. It's been working in God has set me free to questions.
Have you been experiencing some changes as a result of God's power at work. Praise God, sleeping better, even though tomorrow looks worse than today. Finding yourself encouraged.
Even though there's nothing on the horizon to bring encouragement that means God's at work. That means God is at work in you. It's okay if it's not working out our way were not in charge anyway.
Are we are there some changes taking place is to searching question. Have you been trying to be strong. XMI hear somebody say that on the put my arm around him and say don't don't try to be admit you're not strength is from him when we are weak he is strong, stay connected, Charles Haddon Spurgeon was preaching on second Corinthians 12 verse nine as he closed his message. These are his words and their my closing words, dear brothers and sisters go home and never asked the Lord to make you strong in yourselves, never ask him to make you anybody or anything but be content to be nothing and nobody next asked that his power may have room in you and all those who come near you may see what God can do by nothings and nobodies live with this desire to glorify God. Sometimes Spurgeon adds when God honors us in his service, a great I stands in the Lord's way. Give this morning tremble when you see poor weak preacher may be useful in converting so that all the papers and magazines began to blaze his name abroad and silly Christians for there are plenty of them so relieved to know that 100 years ago that was also true. It's not just a sign of our age, silly Christians, for there are plenty of them began to talk him up as if he were a demigod and say such great things about him and described him as wise and eloquent and great.
Thus, they do all they can to ruin the good brother.
If a man is sensible he will say get the behind me Satan, for thou saver is not the things that be of God and of God moves him great grace and end of God gives him great grace. He will retire more and more into the background and lie lower and lower before his God. But if you want to get a man to feel himself to be great and good either. A fall will happen or else the power of God will withdraw from him the best of men are flesh and blood, and they have no power except as God lends them power and he will make them know and feel this therefore neither exalt others nor exalt yourselves, but beseech the Lord to make and keep you weakness itself that in you his power may be displayed. God granted may be so, for Christ's sake.
A man may be bound together. I understand today that I speak only to weak people. The difficulty is getting some of you to believe that if you're disconnected you're still reading all the self-help books on how to make good impressions and be strong rely on the flesh and develop your image. Cultivate all the things that make for a good president. Stupid plan. Forget the image with you.
Please stop looking for your clippings. Stop expecting praise and adulation nobodies and nothings those of the powerful people whom God empowers settle this the fight today. Sit back until the Lord where your week admit it even to close friends say it go there because when we're weak he is so strong that even a thorn in the flesh won't dislodge us from our appointed responsibilities. If you've never met the Lord. I speak to you as a weak man, do you think your strong you just about to meet your match is gonna crush you in bringing you to himself, if he has to save some time and energy right now by submitting just saying nothing in my hands I bring, simply to the cross I cling come now, please our father.
We acknowledge that if it were not for your grace, we wouldn't be here. Who knows where would be in our lips wouldn't be filled with your praises would be fighting for our rights would be looking out for ourselves would be serving our own purposes. We lack peace, joy and purpose definition direction. Thank you for finding us when we were not looking for you and for calling us to yourself. When we weren't on some mad pursuit for holiness found us in our sin. He took us as we were in your now in the process of cleaning up our lives were grateful for your grace. We give you our things Jesus during everyone's are studying the book of Ephesians is called becoming the people of grace. You're listening to Insight for living and to learn more about this ministry.
Visit us firstname.lastname@example.org and here it Insight for living. We believe that some of your best learning happens when you have the privilege of sitting in a quiet spot along with your Bible and reliable study tools along these lines will be pleased to learn that Chuck Swindoll has written a comprehensive commentary on Paul's letter to the Ephesians factor comes with his commentary on Galatians as well.
It's called swindles living inside commentary on Galatians and Ephesians. You can purchase a hardbound copy Insight for living's website by going to Insight.org/store or call us if you're listening in the United States dial 1-800-772-8888 this daily program is made possible through the voluntary donations of friends and our monthly companions together were bringing hope to people around the globe who, like Paul, are in a prison of sorts, but relying on God's grace to set them free, and our goal is to touch lives with God's grace in every country of the world through vision 195, in light of the global pandemic and the uprising of social unrest.
Chuck feels a renewed sense of urgency to spread the message of God's grace not only here at home, but beyond our own borders as well with boldness you're calling on you to join us. Together we can implement the great commission of Jesus by making disciples through the radio website. The mobile app, CDs, books, DVDs, the podcasts live streaming and more. Whatever amount he prompts you to invest in vision 195 will truly make a difference to give a contribution today. Call us listening in the United States dial 1-800-772-8880 or to give a one time donation online, go to Insight or and if you're listening in the US phone number once more is 1-800-772-8888 think for your generous support. Swindoll presents an encouraging message called you were dead. But God that's next time on Insight for living. The preceding message. What is Christ doing now and one 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.
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