SUPERMEN

Eph.1:16-18 – I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened,

You ever think how different things will be in the new heaven and the new earth? Its really hard to imagine because things will totally shift. Just zeroing in on one thing, our vision or the way things will appear, can give us an indication of how much things will change. I can think of three things right off the bat that will cause an unthinkable transformation in everything.

First, the whole of creation was effected by the fall of man and the fall of Satan and many of the angels. We have no way to know how different things will be when that curse is removed at the return of Christ. Secondly, the world is now lit and held together by the sun. In the new world there will be no sun because the Lord will be its light. Third, our bodies will be changed. Having immortal bodies like Jesus will change everything. Think about it, our new bodies will have new eyes. Here is how Dane Ortlund explains some of Jonathan Edwards thoughts on seeing in the new world.

“The thinking Edwards gives to the role of sight in the believer’s life is not limited solely to spiritual vision. In one miscellany that considers the glorified body of Christ, Edwards reflects on what believers’ physical eyes will be like in their glorified existence in the new earth. He surmises that believers in the new heavens and the new earth will be able to see across the entire universe since Christ, not the sun, will be lighting the whole universe, and the light emitted by Christ’s glorified body must be far faster than the speed of light in a solar system lit up by our sun.”

One of our problems in life is comparing our world and everything in it by our limited experience. If our bodies are to be like Christ’s resurrected body (and they are) we will be quite different from the way we are now. Could it be our fixation on superheroes is rooted in who we will be ? 1 Jn.3:2 – “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.”

ALL AUTHORITY IN HIS NAME

Eph.1:21 – far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.

CHRIST CONQUERED DEATH AS A MAN. ALL AUTHORITY ON EARTH WAS GIVEN TO HIM AS A MAN – MORE THAN THAT, ALL AUTHORITY WAS GIVEN HIM AS A REPRESENTATIVE OF MANKIND.

This has to be in that too good to be true category. Jesus not only forgave and cleansed us, He restored man to a place of authority. All of us were born in a state of servitude. We were bound by our sinful nature. Our sinful state kept us in bondage. The results of our fall was dealt with by the the cross. Because of the cross we now qualify to be His dwelling place. Now Christ is in us, working His beautiful plan in us. When we represent Him all things become possible. Here is how Erasmus describe this verse.

“Paul here explains what it means for Christ to be seated at the right hand of God in heaven. It means that he has become Lord of all things in heaven and on earth and that he has been made high above everything in heaven and on earth. There is no principality, no power, no strength, no dominion and no name that can be compared with him. All things are subject to him, and he has been raised up so high above all the creatures that he has been appointed the cause, author, giver and transmitter of our righteousness and made our wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption. Finally, our salvation is located in Christ alone.”

How does this effect my day to day life? Like Paul said, if Christ is for me who can be against me? No matter what I face, whether it is sickness, lack, temptation, or simply demonic attack, none of these enemies will stop me or the Lord’s plan in my life. Christ is seated at the Father’s right hand, He is ruling all things. I have to ask myself, am I following the Lord and His plan? If the answer is yes all I need to do is rest. It is impossible for the Lord’s plan to be thwarted. He has my past, my present, and my future. Why should I worry? He will finish what He started.

FLOODED WITH LIGHT

Eph.1:17,18 – that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened…

The touch of God brings an amazing change to our perception of the world. Our separation from God is marked by a blindness. We are blind to the glory of God. The great tragedy in this is that everything in creation exists for that one purpose, to display the glory of God. Spiritual blindness separates us from the very reason everything exists. If we can’t perceive the glory in our world, it is worse than being physically blind. If all we can see is the secondary purposes of all things, we are alienated from life. What am I talking about? The sun exists for more than creating light, warmth, and gravity for the earth. The rivers exist for more than a source of water or transportation. These things exist primarily as a window into the beauty and creativity of the Lord. When our eyes are opened we are sometimes overwhelmed by His nearness all about us. Here is a quote from Belden C. Lane describing Edwards becoming awakened to God’s glory in creation.

“As early as the spring of 1721, about the time of Edwards’s own conversion, he began to speak of “a new sense of things,” an “inward, sweet delight” that came to him from his walks in the woods of his father’s farm, his reading of the Song of Songs, and his contemplation of God. Later, in the Northampton revival of 1734, he continued to develop this general sense of the heart as well as the notion of a new spiritual sense that allows the believer to go beyond all shallow and intellectual apprehensions of God’s glory to a thoroughly sensual appreciation of its beauty. It is the difference, he could say, between rationally knowing that honey is sweet, and being able “vividly to taste its sweetness. A dozen years later, in his treatise on the Religious Affections, he went on to make this new aesthetic sense one of the chief indicators of an authentic religious experience.”

So maybe you find yourself stumbling through life unaware of His splendor all around you. If so, stop for a minute, Let Jesus take you by the hand. His gentle touch will open your eyes. In a moment of time you too will be flooded with His light.

THE ELIXIR OF GRACE

MERRY MONDAY BY PARRIS –

“In order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus”

Eph.1:7,8

I am always amazed at us human folk walking around the earth and never seeing or savoring Christ. With heads bent down we scuffle along drinking what this world dishes out. As a young child I loved to be outdoors but never “saw” the God who created it all. He was screaming but his voice fell to deaf ears. Thanks be unto God the day that I saw, I touched and felt his Love! But brother what pain and suffering I endured pre-Christ!

McClarens says, “God is Love, and therefore delights in imparting that which is His creatures’ life and blessedness. He, too, is capable of being touched and gladdened by the joy of expression. Creation is divine self-revelation, and we might say, with all reverence, that God acts as birds sing, and fountains leap, and stars shine.” God is like an artist that loves to show his works off to others and finds so much joy in doing so. We too become objects of his love- his artwork so to speak.

His work of Grace is at the top of the in God’s work of art. While the deer leap, fishes jump and the turkeys gobble, the “Grace of God continually communicates and operates unspent” (McClaren says) and “that self-communicating love pours out in no narrower stream to its last recipient than to its first. All ‘eat and are filled,’ and after they are satisfied, twelve baskets full of fragments are taken up. These riches are exceeding; they surpass all human conception, all parallel, all human needs; they are properly transcendent.”

When we are born-again we taste this elixir of grace the rest of our lives and into eternity he will keep pouring it out. We throughout, our lives learn to lean into this grace to trust its fullness and witness it daily in its exhaustible abundance.

McClaren ends with “God reveals because He loves, and His love is that which He reveals”. I pray you too will taste this precious grace!

SMACK YOUR LIPS

Eph.1:14 – Amp. – That [Spirit] is the guarantee of our inheritance [the firstfruits, the pledge and foretaste, the down payment on our heritage], in anticipation of its full redemption and our acquiring [complete] possession of it—to the praise of His glory.

Nothing like some good home cooking. Last week there was an impromptu Mary’s Song Banquet for ladies involved with Rodan and Fields. There was several thousand women from Rodan and Fields in New Orleans for a convention. Because of a friend of a friend being in leadership with that company, a request was made for a banquet with the Mary’s Song girls to “give back” in light of all the Lord has given us. It was an awesome night of testimonies and giving but that is not why I brought this all up. The meal was cooked by the Mary’s Song girls under the direction of Tyren George.The ladies at my table were raving over the “home cooking”. They also said it was the best meal they had eaten all week; pretty good with the amazing restaurants they all went to in the French Quarter. I guess you just can’t beat home cooked meals.

Now this brings me to the whole point of all of this, today’s verse says that the Holy Spirit is the foretaste of all the Lord has prepared for us. That first taste, or sampling of the food before a meal, tastes awfully good. It actually increases our anticipation for the coming feast. In Psalm 63 David was enjoying feasting on the Lord. He was enjoying the feast of God’s presence, enjoying what he was receiving, but smacking his lips in anticipation of more. Here is how it reads in the Message Bible.

Psa.63:3-5 The Message

In your generous love I am really living at last!

My lips brim praises like fountains. I bless you every time I take a breath;

My arms wave like banners of praise to you.

I eat my fill of prime rib and gravy;

I smack my lips. It’s time to shout praises!

The good meal at our banquet for our out of town guests last week was really only the foretaste. The real meal was when Parris, Ali Spitsbergen (the lady with Rodan and Fields), and the girls from Mary’s Song began to share what the Lord had done in their lives. The testimony of Jesus was our taste of the coming heavenly banquet. So I think I’m going to join David and smack my lips, if this first taste is this good it’s hard to imagine what the whole meal will be like.

THE POWER OF THE RESURRECTION

Eph. 1:18,19 – having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might.will-oey-253882.jpg

We are resurrected together with Christ. This is not just a theological truth but a reality that effects every part of our life. We are not only crucified with Christ, we are raised from the dead with Christ. That resurrection power is working in us since the first day we accepted Christ. He started the work, the work continues everyday, and He will bring the work to completion. This is what Paul had in mind when he said that “it is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me”. That is the resurrection life that we live in today. Here are some thoughts from Albert Barnes on today’s verse.

“The “power” referred to here, as exercised towards believers, does not refer to one thing merely. It is the whole series of the acts of power towards Christians which results from the work of the Redeemer. There was power exerted in their conversion. There would be power exerted in keeping them. There would be power in raising them up from the dead, and exalting them with Christ to heaven. The religion which they professed was a religion of power. In all the forms and stages of it, the power of God was manifested towards them, and would be until they reached their final inheritance.”

This power effects our testimony, we are no longer living lives overcome by sinful habits. This resurrection power effects our health, the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead lives in us and makes our mortal bodies healthy. This resurrection power effects our ministry to hurting people, it is the power of the resurrection, the power of the Spirit, that lives in us and testifies of Jesus through the power of signs and wonders. Our world is desperately in need of the resurrection power of the Lord Jesus. For far too long our generation has been offered powerless substitutes. So Lord, open our eyes that we can see this great power that is living in us because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

CHOSEN FOR HIS GLORY

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Eph. 1:5,6 – He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.

God Has a plan, He has always had a plan. Redemption is not His response to man’s rebellion, the plan for redemption has been in place before He even created man. Jesus is referred to as the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world. So what about this plan? What does the Lord really have up His sleeve? You can see it in today’s verse. It is a short, simple phrase that is easy to pass over if you are not paying attention. It is the phrase “to the praise of the glory of His grace”. That’s it? Absolutely. The whole purpose behind creation is to reveal His glory. From the beauty of our world, to the complex creativity seen in the human body, to the vast expanse of the universe; it all proclaims the glory of God. Redemption and election, being chosen by the Lord magnifies one of His attributes. Election magnifies the glory of His grace. Here is how Albert Barnes describes this.

“God chooses men to be holy, not sinful; to be happy, not miserable; to be pure, not impure; to be saved, not to be lost. For these things he should be praised. He should be praised that he has not left the whole race to wander away and die. Had he chosen but one to eternal life, that one should praise him, and all the holy universe should join in the praise. Should he now see it to be consistent to choose but one of the fallen spirits, and to make him pure, and to readmit him to heaven, that one spirit would have occasion for eternal thanks, and all heaven might join in his praises. How much more is praise due to him, when the number chosen is not one or a few, but when millions which no man can number, shall be found to be chosen to life.”

So your purpose is bigger than you think. It’s not about accomplishments or titles, its not about performance or influence. It is about your story, rather it is about the testimony of Jesus in your life. We were once miserable people, following our own purposes and living just for ourselves until all of that changed. We became His story the moment our eyes were opened. Now we have discovered our eternal purpose; to glorify God simply by enjoying His grace in our lives.

GOD’S FINAL PLAN

Eph. 1:7-9 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ.

The plan of redemption is quite amazing. It is more than just forgiveness and a ticket to eternal life, way more. Redemption is God’s ultimate plan to display His glory. Think about it, the universe is declaring the glory of God. In all of that splendor, even the undiscovered splendor of the universe, it cannot begin to compare to the beauty of redemption. Losers, liars, cheats, and various forms of immoral people are all God’s choices to display the glory of His grace. It is likely the first witness of Christ after the resurrection wasn’t a Bible scholar but a delivered prostitute and demonized person. The transformation from a fallen, cursed creature to a beautiful daughter of God says it all. That was His plan, that’s why He came. In our fallen world today grace is crying out. Grace is calling whosoever will to come to the fountain and drink of His glorious grace. Here is how Jonathan Edwards sees this plan of God.

“The sum of the blessings Christ sought, by what he did and suffered in the work of redemption, was the Holy Spirit. So is the affair of our redemption constituted; the Father provides and gives the Redeemer, and the price of redemption is offered to him, and he grants the benefit purchased; the Son is the Redeemer that gives the price, and also is the price offered; and the Holy Spirit is the grand blessing, obtained by the price offered, and bestowed on the redeemed. The Holy Spirit, in his indwelling, his influences and fruits, is the sum of all grace, holiness, comfort and joy, or in one word, of all the spiritual good Christ purchased for men in this world: and is also the sum of all perfection, glory and eternal joy, that he purchased for them in another world.”
Wow! God receives glory and I receive the greatest of all gifts. I receive the Holy Spirit Himself. He is the purchased prize of the death of Christ and the treasure beyond compare. God is glorified through redemption and I reap all the blessing.

ETERNAL PLAN

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Eph. 1:4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,

Have you ever thought about eternity. Anyone who is honest with themselves cannot not believe in God when they ponder the universe and where it came from. Some say it started from a Big Bang. Well, where did the Big Bang come from? Science teaches us that matter can’t just appear, it has to come from somewhere. God has given us the answers in the Bible, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”. The Bible also says that by faith we “UNDERSTAND that the worlds were framed by the Word of God”.

I can remember wondering about these questions as a small child, “Where did God come from?” My mom told me He has always been. That is the answer, everything that is came from our God, the fountain of all creation. Here are some thoughts from Tozer on the importance of understanding the eternal nature of God.

“Christian brethren, why are we not more faithful and serious in proclaiming God’s great eternal concerns?

How is this world all around us ever to learn that God is all in all unless we are faithful in our witness?

In a time when everything in the world seems to be vanity, God is depending on us to proclaim that He is the great Reality, and that only He can give meaning to all other realities.

How are the great unsatisfied throngs ever to discover and know that we are made by God and for Him?

The answer to the question, “Where did I come from?” can never be better answered than by the Christian mother who says, “God made you!” The great store of knowledge throughout today’s world cannot improve on this simple answer.”
Today’s verse says that I am part of God’s eternal plan. Before anything existed; before stars or galaxies, black holes or solar systems, before dinosaurs or amoebas, I was chosen by God. He has known me and loved me before creation, that is the shocking truth in today’s verse. So the Lord has a plan for you, your life is not an accident. Even if you have come through miserable circumstances and even messed your life up horribly, God has a plan of redemption. His plan is to display His glory through the incredible grace He has poured out on you.

RESURRECTION POWER

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Eph. 1:19-21 – and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.

Several years ago there was an outpouring amongst the young adults in our church that spilled over into the entire congregation. There was a song by Kelanie Glockler that was a huge part of that time of renewal called “Resurrection Power”. The words to that short song went like this:
“Hallelujah, I am free

Sin and death have no hold on me

We’ve got resurrection power Flowing on the inside!’
It was a short little song that we must have sung hundreds of times. It seemed to carry Resurrection power in the song itself. This resurrection power that flows from the Lord is the very essence of our Christian faith. Christianity is not a dogma that we follow but supernatural life that has invaded our hearts. Today’s verse describes that power, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead has made us alive. We were dead in our sins but we have come alive by resurrection power to live new lives. Here are some thoughts from Bishop Ellicott on today’s passage.

“Paul adds that this power of God is not latent; it actually works according to, that is up to the full measure of the might of the strength of God- of that strength which is part of His nature. The whole phrase forms a glorious climax, in which the Apostle accumulates words ever stronger and stronger to approach to the description of the omnipotence of the Spirit. It is a force of exceeding greatness, it is an ever energetic force; its only measure is the immeasurable might of the divine nature.”
It was the unlimited power of God that raised Jesus from the dead. It was death that resulted from man’s sin that held us in its power. Only a greater power, the power of God seen in the Resurrection of the man Jesus of Nazareth, could hope to free us from sin and death. That is exactly what happened, when the Spirit of the Lord enters your heart, Resurrection power overcomes the power of death.