top of page
Living Life Gracefully Title.JPG

April 9, 2024

SEEING YOURSELF AS GOD SEES YOU - PART 4

 

Well - we are still talking about this subject - and we are still in the book of Ephesians.  There are some things that Paul delves into which really give us understanding about life - and, therefore, clears up some questionable areas - so we can see things from God’s point of view.  As I said before, the book of Ephesians really does help us see things the way God sees things and the way He sees us.

 

So - I’m going to start with Ephesians 2 - but, before I read it, let me say that, just because it’s a new chapter, that doesn’t mean that it’s a different topic.  The chapters and verses were arranged for our benefit of finding and reading.    That last verse of Ephesians 1:23 was talking about Christ being the head and we Christians being the body - everything being under our feet - in Christ.  

 

Now - Ephesians 2:1-3 - “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.”

 

These verses are just reminding us that, before we accepted Christ as our Savior and were born again, our spirits were dead and not connected to God.  Therefore, our lives were easily led by the evil one and we were considered, “children of wrath”.  Mostly, none of us realized it - because it was just who we were - it was all we knew.  I really believe that’s what caused ‘self-centeredness’ to be our way of thinking.

 

Now - listen to these verses - Ephesians 2:4-9 - “BUT GOD, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.  For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

 

I love the way this portion started - “BUT GOD” - the previous verses had been reminding us that we had been “children of wrath” - who had pretty much been controlled by the “prince of the power of the air” (which is Satan) - and how our lives were messes - THEN PAUL SAYS, “BUT GOD!”  Again, we are reminded of THE LOVE OF GOD!  God’s love for us is so powerful  that He wanted us to be in Heaven with Him forever.  We couldn’t earn it - we didn’t deserve it!!  Brothers and sisters - how can we not surrender to Him and trust Him every day for the rest of our lives here on earth?!!!!!!!

 

Personally, I believe that the deep awareness of God’s love for us is the motivating force which opens the door in us for us to SEE OURSELVES THE WAY GOD SEES US!  How can we not yield our lives over to Him when we actually get a revelation of the power of His love?!!!!!!!

 

Now - this next verse is so powerful that I have sat and read it over and over to myself - saying it outloud so that my own ears can hear it - and making it personal.  It’s Ephesians 2:10 - “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

 

Now - close your eyes for a moment.  Now - say this after me - I AM GOD’S WORKMANSHIP - CREATED IN CHRIST JESUS - FOR GOOD WORKS - WHICH GOD PREPARED BEFOREHAND - THAT I SHOULD WALK IN THEM!!!!!!!!!  You can open your eyes.  Think about that - God has a wonderful plan for every single one of us - and He prepared it a long time ago - and He wants us to walk in it.  It’s full of good works.  This isn’t just a fairy tale - it’s a reality - BUT WE HAVE TO BELIEVE IT AND RECEIVE IT - THE SAME WAY WE RECEIVED SALVATION - THAT’S THE WAY GOD WORKS - REMEMBER, HE WON’T JUST WHOOSH DOWN AND OVERRIDE YOUR FREE WILL!

 

Now in these next few verses. the Apostle Paul deals with a delicate subject - Christianity regarding the Jews and the Gentiles.  So - we’re just going to go verse by verse - I do not have Jewish heritage - but I don’t know if anyone in here does - so - here we go!!!!

 

Eph. 2:11 - “Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh - who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands” - This is just referring to the difference between the Jews and the Gentiles.  We’re not going to go in the details of it -  (Laughing) I believe Paul is just referring to the fact that the Jews were the people who had a covenant with God - the Gentiles did not.

 

Eph. 2:12 - “That at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.”  This makes it quite clear that the way God set things up back there in those first books of the Old Testament - giving rules (or laws - or commandments) and made  a covenant with the Jews - was His way of dealing with mankind who had become sinful and wandered away from God.

 

Eph. 2:13 - “But now in Christ Jesus, you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”  Now - think about this.  We are so used to our culture of our day that we often haven’t realized what a wonderful, loving, personal thing the Lord God of Heaven and Earth has done to have a plan for we Gentiles to come into His family!!!!!!!

 

Now I want to remind us of a few things, which will help us understand how God was seeing things all those thousands of years ago - and it will help us understand what this is talking about.

 

From the time God made Adam and Eve, and they sinned and, therefore opened sin up for the human race, mankind was just doing all kinds of things which were not pleasing God.  You can read those first chapters of Genesis to see what was going on.  So - in Genesis 6:8 God could only find one man - named Noah - who “found grace in the eyes of the Lord”.  So I’m sure you know the story - He destroyed the people on the earth with a flood, except Noah and his family.  It says in Gen. 6:9, that “Noah walked with God”.  After that destruction of all the people on the earth, except Noah’s family, God established a covenant with Noah and his family in Genesis 9.  He established a rainbow in the clouds as a sign of the covenant between God and man, that there would never be another flood that destroys all the people of the earth.

 

About 100 years after the flood, the tower of Babel was built, it is believed that there were about 10,000 people on the earth at that time.  Everybody spoke one language.   I know you’re all familiar with God confusing their language - giving them different languages.  Think about something for a moment - DO YOU SEE HOW IMPORTANT LANGUAGE IS - THE WORDS WHICH ARE COMING OUT OF OUR MOUTHS ARE COMING FROM OUR HEARTS AND HAVE POWER!!!!!!!!!  There in Genesis 11, they became BABELING TO ONE ANOTHER - and they scattered all over the earth.

 

Genesis 12 is when Abram - later named Abraham - entered the picture.  Many people knew the story of God’s creation of mankind, but, by this time, not many were really worshiping the TRUE GOD - CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE.  But in the first verse of Genesis 12, it says that the Lord spoke to Abram.

 

From that time forward, there was some communication between God and Abram and all his family that followed - who became known as the JEWS.  God told Abram that He would make him a great nation.  From that time in history, the Jewish people were known as the ones who had a relationship with God and  God had even made a covenant with them.  

 

The rest of the people on the earth were called Gentiles and most of the Gentiles on the earth worshiped make-believe gods.  As I’ve looked it up, it is believed that there were approximately 2,000 years between the life of Abraham and the life of Jesus Christ here on the earth.

 

Now, I wanted to bring up the history so that we can all get ahold of how much God has had to deal with on this earth to bring knowledge and awareness to the human beings living on this earth.  I, personally, am so very grateful that the Lord led those first Christians to write the letters, which have become our knowledge about the history of man and God.

 

Brothers and sisters, 2,000 years ago, God knew that you and me and all the other Christians alive today would need to know and understand how much He loved us and what He did to have us in Heaven with Him - AND TO HAVE HIM LIVING IN US WHILE WE’RE HERE ON THIS EARTH.  HOW CAN WE NOT PRAISE AND ADORE HIM AND SURRENDER IT ALL TO HIM!!!!!

 

Now - listen to Ephesians 2:13-15 - “But now, in Christ Jesus, you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.  For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh, the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace.”

 

That is saying that there should not be any distinction between Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians - we have all become one new man.  I have known Jewish Christians in my life.  One of my dearest friends in Port St. Lucie, Anita, met a Jewish Christian man and they fell madly in love - got married (I went to their wedding) - and they are just made for one another.  I love them both dearly.  There is no barrier between Jewish and Gentile Christians.  These verses are making this quite clear.

 

I really believe that the Lord led our brother, Paul, to say these things to help bring Jews to Jesus and help bring Christians to Jews and help them receive the Lord Jesus.

 

Now - the next verses in Ephesians 2 and on into Chapter 3 are talking about the things we just talked about - Our brother, Paul, was talking about himself, being a Jew, united together with Gentiles, as Christians.  I would suggest you read that.

 

Then, we get to Ephesians 3:13-19 - “Therefore, I ask that you do not lose heart at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.  For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height - to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

 

My - My - My - My - what a powerful portion of Scripture!!!!!!  I think - to put it in a nutshell - that this is essentially saying that no matter what is going on in your life, God will always be there for you.  But the only way to really let this have an effect on our lives is to remember what He has done in previous years to make us realize how much He loves us.

 

Now - think about the fact that, after having created the earth, and all the creatures on the earth, and then human beings - the human beings began to turn away from Him.  They did all kinds of bad things and began to build little things they called, “gods,” and worshiped them.  He brought a flood to destroy all the human beings except for Noah and his family.  Then - He had to separate the human beings from one another by giving them all different languages - so they couldn’t communicate with one another.  He was looking for people who would follow him but they were very few.

 

He never stopped LOVING HUMANITY - but sometimes LOVE has to take drastic measures to get people to understand!!!  BUT HE FOUND A MAN WHO WOULD DO WHAT HE TOLD HIM TO DO - ABRAHAM!!!!  Therefore, God used him to create a group of people who would follow after Him and do things the way He said - THE JEWS!!!  But - He actually had trouble with them also - but He stayed with it by making a covenant with them. Then He gave them rules to follow.  HIS LOVE NEVER STOPPED!  

 

Then, after a long time, He had HIS OWN SON COME TO EARTH, BORN AS A BABY TO PEOPLE WHO WOULD FOLLOW HIS INSTRUCTIONS - AND, THEN, AS AN ADULT MAN WITH NO SIN, DIE ON A CROSS AND TAKE THE SIN OF THE ENTIRE WORLD INTO HIS BEING - FOR US!!!!

 

HOW CAN WE NOT WORSHIP HIM, THANK HIM, FOLLOW HIM, AND LOVE, LOVE, LOVE HIM!!!!!!!

 

I believe that is the reason that the Apostle Paul was led to talk about this stuff in the book of Ephesians - because THE LORD  wants us all to get ahold of the REAL LOVE THAT GOD HAS FOR EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US.

 

When we really get ahold of this, how can we not yield the right-of-way to Him for our lives, while we are still here on earth????!!!!  Doesn’t that give us a real view of the way God sees us!!!!!!  And it should have a huge impact on the way we see ourselves!  It should motivate us to trust Him, no matter what things look like around us!

 

Now, I’m going to tell you another story - about never giving up - and trusting the Lord!  

 

While my husband was still in Bible School, we were living in the mountains of Colorado.  The Lord led us to a place that was looking for someone to live there and see to a place that people brought groups of children to for small periods of time.  We lived there rent free and took care of the place.  While we were there, my husband was asked to pastor a little, tiny church in Black Hawk, Colorado.  So he did.  Then, he graduated from Bible School, and there was another church in another location - Indian Hills, Colorado, that needed a pastor.  They asked my husband to come there and preach - he did - and they asked him to be their pastor.  SO - we moved there - they had a parsonage, next door to the church - so we had another wonderful place to live!

 

After a few years there, we both began to have a desire to move back to the Kansas City area to be around family - so our kids could be around their grandparents.  So - we did.

 

We found a house to live in, and , after several weeks there, we decided to start a church.  We had a huge basement, which was big enough to have lots and lots of chairs in it.  So - we did - and people started coming and getting others to come also.  Within weeks, it was filled with people with no room for others.  So - we moved the gathering to a community center, and more people started coming.  By the way, our kids were in their teen years by this time.

 

After quite a while, we began to do some looking around tor a place that we could buy to move our church to.  We looked and looked and looked - we just weren’t sure how we were going to pay for this, at this point - so there were definitely limitations for us.

One day, as we were driving around in a small town called, “North Kansas City,” we saw a building that had a ‘For Sale’ sign on it.  It had been a public school.  We took down the information and, when we got home, my husband made contact with the owner.  He permitted us to look at the building.  On the ground floor, it was a BIG auditorium - then on the 2nd and 3rd floors were the individual rooms for classes.  As we strolled around, we could see how we could turn this into a church.  We were doing a lot of praying.

 

My husband made contact with the owner and, as they began to talk on the phone, when the owner found out that we wanted to turn it into a church - HE TOLD MY HUSBAND THAT HE DIDN’T WANT ANYTHING THAT HE OWNED TO BE A CHURCH AND THAT HE WOULD NOT SELL IT TO BE THAT!!!!  HE DIDN’T WANT TO TALK ANYMORE!

 

My husband and I did a lot of praying - both together and separately.  We both had this feeling that this was what God wanted us to do.  We had some people who had become faithful in attending our services and there were a few of them that we asked to pray about this also.

 

The next week, my husband called the man back, and told him that we were still interested in buying it and that we would like to see how we could work it out.  The man, very rudely, spoke to my husband and told him, “NO.”  

 

For several weeks after that, my husband continued to call him every week.  The man was the same every time!  He wanted nothing to do with church people.  One thing which is very important here is that my husband did not talk harsh or rude to him.  He just talked friendly and kind to him - EVERY SINGLE TIME, AFTER TIME, AFTER TIME, AFTER TIME.  He had talked with the Lord quite a bit about this and the Lord had told him to pray for this man - so he was - and so was I.

 

It had been a couple months or even closer to three months, (and my husband continued to call him each week), one day, when he called, the man’s voice was different.  It was a little softer and he wasn’t yelling at him.  Then, he told my husband that he was changing his mind.  He said that he had never met anyone who was a ‘God-follower’ or Christian who had been so nice and had kept on being nice, even though he had not been nice back to him.  He told my husband that he was beginning to change his mind about a lot of things.  

 

Then he said that he had decided to sell the building to us if we still wanted it.  He went on to say that he would sell it to us, without us having to get a loan to buy it.  He would allow us to pay him monthly payments, without much interest, until it was paid off.  He told my husband that, if someone could be as nice to him as my husband had been, when he, himself, had been so mean back to him - that man deserved to have that building in the easiest way possible, so he could teach other people to be so nice to people who weren’t nice to them!!!!

Within a week, we were, along with many of the people, who had been coming to our services in the community center, at our our new church building.  The men were making changes, building a preaching-place, a recording place in the back, working on things all over the building.  Women were cleaning, and fixing, and decorating, and on and on and on.  The bathrooms were being made as nice as possible.

 

Some made a sign to go on the front of the building - LIVING FAITH CHRISTIAN CENTER.  There was already a good-sized parking lot.  Within two weeks, we were ready to have our first service there!

 

None of that would have happened if we had given up because the man was difficult.  From that time, he was never rude or unkind again and we had a good relationship with him.  He didn’t want to be personal with us - but we could tell that God was dealing with this man.  

 

Brothers and sisters, when God has given you a plan, because you spend time with Him, and  He reveals things to you, you just have to learn to trust Him.  You can’t just throw up your hands and say, “Well, it must not have been God,” or “I must have missed it,” or “Why does it work for others and not for me?”

 

Like I’ve said many times before, GOD’S LOVE IS THE STRONGEST FORCE IN THE UNIVERSE.  He has shown His love for mankind in many ways - one very important one is the one when He brought the Jews and Gentiles together through Jesus Christ.  

 

I’m sure that that portion of Scripture that we have been in -  Ephesians 3 - was very difficult for people to get ahold of back there in Paul’s day - because people were so used to the Jewish people being the only ones who God communicated with.

 

BUT GOD WANTED TO LET THE WHOLE WORLD KNOW THAT HE LOVES EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US AND WANTS US TO BE IN HIS FAMILY.

 

It’s unfortunate that so many Christians have been taught so much just about doctrine but they haven’t been taught how to really get ahold of the truth in the Word of God - and really, really, really trust Him - and not just give up when it looks like God’s not answering.  If all the Christians on the earth in today’s world would get ahold of how much He really loves us all and that His promises really are all, “Yes and Amen,” we would be seeing a huge difference in our world.

 

Let’s share it with others - so God can do what He has planned from the beginning - BECAUSE OF HIS GREAT LOVE FOR MANKIND!!!!!!!!!

 

LET’S SEE OURSELVES LIKE GOD SEES US!!!!!!      

Scriptures for this lesson

Ephesians 2:1-3

Ephesians 2:4-9

Ephesians 2:10-12

Genesis 6:8-9

Genesis 6:11-12

Ephesians 2:13-15

Ephesians 3:13-19

Email Gloria

email-icon-pink-19.jpg

Gloria's Facebook

facebook icon.jpg
bottom of page