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Living In Heaven While Walking On Earth Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
July 24, 2023 1:00 am

Living In Heaven While Walking On Earth Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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July 24, 2023 1:00 am

The world is full of so much evil and pain. Is Jesus detached from it all or is He still ruling? In this message from Ephesians, Pastor Lutzer discusses Jesus’ throne, a place of blessing and power, signifying the resources that we have for earthly battles. We can live heavenly lives in earthly bodies.

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Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith.

There's a city in what is now Turkey known as a haven for idolatry. Christians there welcomed Paul's writings to the church at Ephesus. We need to hear the teaching Paul gave to those Ephesian believers, words that tell us how to live heavenly lives in earthly bodies. From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, tell us about the series that begins today, a series you're calling Between Heaven and Earth.

Dave, your intro said it perfectly. We are supposed to live in our earthly bodies. Of course, we have to do that, but we do it with a divine perspective. And as we will learn in the book of Ephesians, legally, we are already in heaven, seated with Jesus Christ.

I think that of all the books of the Bible, Ephesians lifts us to the heavenlies. It enables us to get our eyes off of all that is happening here on earth. We understand much better the sovereignty of God, the grace of God. And in that sense, we are given strength and we are given hope in the midst of our predicament. To all those who are listening, invite your friends to listen to this message and these messages, because they also will be blessed, will be encouraged. And I believe that in the process, when we are finished, we'll discover that our relationship with Jesus Christ has grown much closer because of our faith in him. So the series is Between Heaven and Earth.

Listen carefully. I want to invite you to come with me to one of the most important ancient cities that one could ever visit. It's a city that was a political, religious, and commercial center. It was a city with a very high wall, a city with a harbor, a city where the population was estimated back then in those days to be about a quarter of a million, 250,000, and a tenth of those, 25,000 or so, could be in the great theater that had been built, great amphitheater. The city that I'm talking about is Ephesus, which is in modern-day Turkey, and someday, within the will of God, I'd like to visit that city of Ephesus to see the ruins.

But I want you to take your Bibles and turn to Acts 19, because the Apostle Paul spent two years in Ephesus, and after those two years, God sent a revival to this city. It was a very religious city. It was a pagan city. They had a huge statue to the goddess Diana, as it is called in Latin. Artemis, I think, as it is in many of our translations, but the people worshiped the goddess Diana, and it was their intention to spread this religion around the world. They were evangelists for this goddess. And yet, in the midst of occultism, in the midst of a pagan society that was really bound by Satan and all of his hosts and all of his mischievous deceptions, God did a miracle, and people broke from that lifestyle. You know, so often people today think that God doesn't do those kinds of things, and so we have people who are in the occult. They are reading horoscopes. They are talking about Ouija boards.

They are practicing these things. They've even given themselves over to the devil. Some people have. And you say, can God deliver people like that?

Well, yes, he did back then, and he still does today. Look at the text in Acts 19. You'll notice it says in verse 17, this became known. I won't go into too much detail to tell you what the this is, except that Paul was casting out demons, and someone else thought that they could do it too. And they used the name of Jesus, but it says in verse 16, the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them and subdued both of them and overpowered them so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.

That'll teach you the name of Jesus and to use the name of Jesus without understanding its power and without being committed to Christ. You know, the spirits they said, Paul we know and Jesus we know, said the evil spirits, but in effect, who in the world are you? And I have to ask you the question as to whether or not you think your name is known among the hosts of hell. Do they know your name, or do they say, well, I don't know who that person is.

Clearly, he or she has not given us any problems. Well, but notice the text now. Verse 17, and this became known to all both Jews and Greeks who lived in Ephesus, and fear fell upon them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. The name of the Lord Jesus Christ was being magnified. Many also of those who had believed kept coming, confessing and disclosing their practices. That's very important for deliverance is to publicly disclose these kinds of attachments. And many of those who practice magic brought their books together and began burning them in the sight of all, and they counted up the price of them and found it 50,000 pieces of silver.

Though there are some who think that it means 50,000 denarii. But verse 20, the word of the Lord was growing mightily and prevailing. That would be a revival. You remember a few years ago on our college campuses, on our Christian college campuses, where God graciously began to move among the student body and people began to get right with God in at least several colleges that I heard about. They had garbage bags in the chapel and students came and brought their pornography and brought their CDs of demonic, occultic rock music, and they filled garbage bags with this kind of trash and occultism. And when you have that, the reason that they did this is because number one, it helps you to break with your past, and number two, it is an affirmation of the fact that if on Monday morning you want to go back to that past, you can't because the paraphernalia and whatever it might be that you have been using has been trashed and it has been burned. Now, the revival fires that God sent created this kind of a fire as they burned the books.

You can't do that today in the city of Chicago without getting into some trouble, so the use of garbage bags would be very handy at this point. But notice that that's what God did among them. Now, about eight or nine years later, the apostle Paul is in prison. He's been imprisoned and he's sitting in a prison in Rome in kind of a dungeon. Many years ago, my wife and I were in the Mamertime Prison, which is believed to be the spot where Paul spent those days in Rome, and it is not a nice prison. It's not a nice prison.

No television sets, no opportunity for advancement, no library where you could do some study during the period of time that you were serving your sentence. And there he is in Rome and he decides to write a letter to this church in Ephesus that he had founded, that he had established, where all kinds of wonderful things took place, miracles took place, and people were delivered from their occultic practices and their addictions. And so he wrote him a letter. And the letter is the book of Ephesians, and you can take your Bibles now and turn to Ephesians. This is actually the first in a series of messages on the book of Ephesians, surely one of the most beautiful books in all of the Bible.

He begins in chapter 1, verse 1, Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus, by the will of God to the saints who are at Ephesus. And they are saints. They were saints even if they didn't perform at least two miracles, they were saints.

They were saints because they were in Christ, accepted in the beloved one, and that's what made them saints. Now what I'd like to do in the next few moments is to point out that this epistle, this letter, which is always talking about the heavenly places, or as the NIV translates it, a heavenly realms. This epistle, which takes us to heaven, and we breathe the rarified air of heaven, and we have to take our oxygen masks along because things get, there isn't much oxygen up there. When Paul begins to talk about what it is like to be in these heavenly realms, and what he does, he uses that phrase five times in this letter. And what I'd like to do rather than expounding simply one verse is in this introductory message, simply look at the five times that Paul uses the expression in the heavenlies so that we understand that there are heavenly resources for earthly battles. There are.

Earthly battles are everywhere. As a group of elders, we prayed this morning for a woman who is told that she has cancer. Some of you during this past week may have lost your job.

Maybe this coming week, some of you women who are listening, I hope it won't be true, but it could be, you might find that your husband is cheating on you. And then the question is, how do we handle all of life with its disappointments and its heartaches and its triumphs and its joys? How do we manage as citizens of heaven while living with all of those trials on earth? That's what the book of Ephesians is about.

And so what I'd like you to do is to take your pen, if you're in the habit of underlining your Bible, and simply we're just going to go through the text and underline the five times that he uses that expression in the heavenlies, which will signify the resources that we have. That expression, by the way, means, first of all, that our citizenship is in heaven. It means also that that's the place where Jesus is, his physical body. When he ascended from the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem and he went up, and you know, there's always some question, there's always some skeptic who says, well, up in the city of Jerusalem means down in Australia, so which direction did he go?

I'm not sure if I can work all of that out except to say that whatever the trajectory was, Christ went, his body went, where the localization of heaven really is. And that's what the heavenlies is all about. It's the place where we are already legally, as we shall see.

You are already registered as being there. And it's also the place to which we will someday go. That's the place where we are headed. Now, with that background, let me simply say that the reason that we are able to throw our sins into the fire, the reason that we can let go of our addictions and the things that the sin that does so easily beset us, whether it be occultism or moral impurity or whatever it is, is because God says, I have made a provision for earthly living once you understand the heavenly realms.

Now, let's look at the five times. Number one, it is the place of blessing. It's the place of blessing.

There it is in chapter one, verse three. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, in the heavenly realms in Christ. It's the place of blessing. Notice quickly that it is a completed, that is to say our blessings are complete. We have been blessed with every, every, that's the word that I want, every spiritual blessing in heavenly places. You say, well, what blessings do those include? Well, I hope that you will be here as we go through the book of Ephesians and expound them.

That's what this letter is all about. You have blessings like the adoption, the fact that we belong to God as children. You have the gift of the Holy Spirit that has been given unto us.

You have a sense of power and dignity because you are seated with Christ in the heavenlies as we shall see. Also, we have a new mind. God gives us a new mind. It's one of those spiritual blessings that Paul is going to talk about. Not only do we have everyone already, and that's the next point I want to emphasize is that indeed we do have it all ready.

He has blessed us with spiritual blessings in the heavenly realms. Now does that mean that we don't have to fight for them? Does that mean that life is a piece of cake? No, some of you are experiencing life is very difficult.

There is oftentimes a reversal of opportunities and expectations. You know how hard it can get and we need to fight for the blessings that are ours. You remember God said to Joshua, he said, I have given you every bit of this land, every place where the sole of your footsteps, I have given it to you. And God even gave him the borders of the land.

No battles, many battles, some of which he even lost. Because we're up against Satan, every single inch of our spiritual blessings are contested. Day after day, relentlessly, he pursues us and our own flesh and our desires.

They war against what God wants to do in us and through us. But God says, if you can believe it and you can apply it and you can accept it, you can receive those blessings even now. They have been given to you in Christ. Here at the Moody Church, we have a young woman who is responsible for the switchboard along with many other responsibilities. Her name is Darlene and everyone who knows her, you're aware that when you ask Darlene, how are you doing? Every time she answers, I'm blessed. I'm blessed.

That's her right answer. She's blessed. She's blessed. And I might say that because of her, we also are blessed. How are you doing today? You're blessed.

Chapter and verse, Ephesians chapter 1, verse 3, you have been blessed with every spiritual blessing. It's yours. Remember that little boy who looked into the eyes of a policeman near the Washington Monument and said, sir, could I buy the Washington Monument? And the policeman said, well, how much do you have? And the kid pulled out his money and counted 37 cents.

The policeman said, well, there are two things, young man, that you should know. Number one, you can't buy the Washington Monument for 37 cents. And the second thing that you should know is if you are an American citizen, you already own it. You already own it. My dear friend, there are blessings that we cannot buy. You can't buy what we're talking about here. You just can't. As they say in some parts of our country, you can't. You just can't.

You can't buy it. But if you're a Christian, it is already yours. Now, I was going to say something at the beginning of this message that I didn't say, and now it's coming to mind. So it's going to be said here. If you are listening to this and you are not a believer in Christ, if you have never savingly believed in him, this message is going to make no sense to you whatever. You will leave here today saying, what on earth was he talking about? And the reason you're going to say that is because what I'm talking about is not on earth.

That's one of the problems. You're going to say this just left me cold because the only realm in which I live is this world, and here he's talking about living in the heavenly realms, and you have no idea what that's about. Even those of us who are Christians, we struggle to know what that's about. But if you don't know Christ, it makes no sense at all. Number one, it's the place of blessing.

Number two, it's the place of power. Second usage, chapter one, verses 19 and 20. This is speaking about Christ. And what is the surpassing greatness of his power toward us who believe?

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. There is the expression right there in the heavenly realms. Verse 21, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion and every name that is named not only in this world but also in the world to come and has said all things in subjection under his feet. Wow, I love it.

I love it. This is talking about Jesus now. And when Paul says he is above all rule and authority, far above all rule and authority, it's not that Paul was interested in the distance. That doesn't mean that he wants us to understand that it's many miles or many light years. That's really not the point. When he talks about far above all rule and authority, he wants us to not understand distance but dominion. That's the point. It's that Christ's power is far above all other options.

It is not a matter of miles. It is a matter of his might. And there he sits enthroned, God, but not detached from the world. By the way, you'll notice it says that he is seated, Old Testament priests as Pastor Schwartz would be very happy to tell us.

They weren't allowed to sit down as long as they were on duty. Why? God says I want you to symbolically recognize that your work is never done. Never done. You offer this sacrifice and lo and behold, you know, here comes this man again bringing another sheep because he sinned again.

It's endless. But Jesus when he had completed redemption, when he made a price for his people and God received it, he sat down because he said my work is now done. But listen to this carefully. That does not mean that he is detached from us. He can appear to a man on a battlefield. Jesus Christ appeared to the Apostle Paul and said before he was Paul, he was Saul, persecuting the church.

Why dost thou persecute me? Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ is available and of course through his spirit, through his spirit he pervades the whole universe and that's why where two or three are gathered together in his name, he is there in the midst of them. But I want you to notice that it is indeed a place of awesome power. The Scripture says in the Old Testament, heaven is my throne, earth is my footstool and yet he is near onto all those who call upon him. Does that mean that Jesus is not ruling today? He is so far away, he is so distant from us, he is so detached.

No, no. Jesus rules today. You say well why so much evil?

Why so much pain? Why doesn't he do something? It does not look as if he's doing a very good job running his world. During this era, during this era he has delegated the responsibility of running the world to human beings. He's allowing the devil to have a great deal to do but there is not one thing happening that the Son in heaven does not allow. He allows it and he is just as much king when he is waiting, the Bible says he is waiting for the enemies to become his footstool. He is as much a king when he is waiting as he is when he is winning. He is going to come in triumph, he is going to set things straight but he is in heaven today far above every single demonic force, far above every evil power.

He is there today triumphant, completely triumphant. Well this is Pastor Luther, this is a message we need to listen to carefully today. In the midst of all of our chaos, in the midst of shouting, in the midst of all of the evil that is taking place, we always have to be reminded that Jesus Christ is king. Just last night I was watching a television program and Joni Eareckson Tada was being interviewed and she said something that I would like to repeat. She said, God sometimes allows things that he hates to bring about things that he loves.

Well there is a lot of theology in that statement but the book of Ephesians reminds us both of the sovereignty of Jesus Christ and at the same time is a reminder that even as we live this life we must look above and not on the things of this earth. I am holding in my hands a letter from someone who has written to us that says, I am so glad that your message is reaching me here via the internet all the way in Jamaica. Thanks to people just like you, running to win goes around the world.

Now in addition to being on the internet, we are in 20 different countries in four different languages and we are continuing to expand. Would you help us? Would you consider becoming an endurance partner? That is someone who stands with us regularly with their prayers and their gifts.

Of course the amount that you give is entirely your decision but you need info so I hope that you have a pen or pencil handy because you can go to rtwoffer.com. I am sure you realize that rtwoffer is all one word, rtwoffer.com and when you are there click on the endurance partner button or if you prefer you can call us at 1-888-218-9337. I like to think of endurance partners as members of the Running to Win family. Would you join us in our worldwide effort to get the gospel to millions? Go to rtwoffer.com, click on the endurance partner button or right now you can call us at 1-888-218-9337.

Thanks in advance for helping us. You can write to us at Running to Win 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard Chicago, Illinois 60614. Running to Win is all about helping you find God's roadmap for your race of life. Erwin Lutzer has brought part one of Living in Heaven While on Earth, the first message in a series from Ephesians on Between Heaven and Earth. Next time, more teaching from this, the jumping off point for a journey through a wonderful New Testament book. This is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-24 02:32:29 / 2023-07-24 02:41:25 / 9

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