Posted by: pastortomvabeach | March 6, 2014

Thought for the Week March 9, 2014

Pastor Doug has done a great job the last few weeks writing his thoughts for us to consider. I was especially stirred by his note a few weeks ago about how little we weep for lost people who are really on their way to hell. That was almost all I could think about in the prayer room when we did 24 Hours of Prayer. I miss so many opportunities to share Jesus with people and have been asking the Lord to show me in a real way what awaits the lost so that I can really hurt for and pray for them but, even more, so that I will always be ready to share about Jesus.

I was reading an article this morning in Enrichment magazine, which is published quarterly for credentialed ministers by the Assemblies of God. The article, written by our General Superintendent, Dr. George O. Wood, was about spiritual warfare and the armor of God. I would like to share just a few of his opening paragraphs and leave you to think about them.

“Ephesians 6:10-20 begins with the word finally. This word indicates that what follows is the culmination of Paul’s teaching so far, not just the last topic in his letter. To understand what he says about spiritual warfare, we need to keep in mind what he has said in the preceding chapters of his letter. Years ago, Watchman Nee noticed that we can articulate the message of Ephesians in three key words: sit, walk, and stand.

Sit describes our position in Christ: God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:6 NIV). Our being seated with Christ at God’s right hand is God’s action, arising out of His love, mercy, grace, and kindness (Ephesians 2:4-8). Just as when you sit on a chair, you place all your weight on it, so when God seats us with Christ, you place all the weight of your salvation on God’s grace.

Walk describes our life in the world: I…urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called (Ephesians 4:1 ESV). Christians are not throne potatoes. Grace does not promote passivity; it enables active obedience to God’s command: We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10 ESV).

“Finally, stand describes our attitude to the enemy: Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes (Ephesians 6:11 NIV). The Christian walk is not a walk in the park. Ephesians 6:10-13 makes it clear that the Christian walk is the long, hard slog of battle against evil. And in a battle, the goal is to stand your ground: to fall is defeat, but to stand is victory.

“Keeping this sit-walk-stand outline of Ephesians in mind, we see that spiritual warfare, far from being the extraordinary activity of a spiritual elite, is the ordinary life of every Christian whom God has saved by grace, sanctified in obedience, and sent to proclaim the gospel to a lost and dying world. To be a Christian, then, is to be at war.

“Fighting that war, however – let alone winning it – is far beyond the capacity of human beings. Victory belongs to a power greater than us. This is why Paul exhorts us: Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power (Ephesians 6:10 NIV). Only God can win this war. Victory belongs to Him – and to us – but only if we are in Him.”

The rest of the article discusses the greatness of God’s power and the forces of evil that are against us and Him, then how the spiritual armor described in Ephesians 6 fits us to stand against the power of the enemy. The most important thing I see here is the last statement, “only if we are in Him.” Everything we are and have is wrapped up in that statement “in Christ.”

I don’t know if you ever noticed but in Paul’s letter, he never once encourages the readers to do anything in the first three chapters. He dedicates all of that space to reminding us who we are “in Christ” so that we don’t get things backwards. If we can grasp and really believe all that God has given us by His grace in Jesus, the warfare part will be pretty easy because we’ll always attack from the perspective of Christ in me, which is so much more powerful that me.

I wonder if you’d take some time this week and just ready Ephesians 1-3. Take note of all that Paul says you are or have available to you simply because you are “in Christ”. Maybe begin to tell yourself some of those things so that they become a part of your identity no matter what kind of situation you face. For instance, “I am God’s workmanship and have been created in Christ Jesus to do good works.” (Ephesians 2:10). If that’s who I am, then good works is what I’m about. See if this doesn’t help you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called and stand against the devil’s schemes. Thank you, Dr. Wood, for your thoughts.

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