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April 16, 2024

SEEING YOURSELF AS GOD SEES YOU - PART 5

 

The Lord has had me teaching on this subject for several weeks now (this is the 5th) - because if we can’t see ourselves the way God sees us, we won’t be walking in the victory that He wants us to walk in.  We won’t understand how all this works and we won’t have an impact on the world around us the way God wants us to.  It is really a huge hindrance in today’s Christianity.  In today’s world, Christians just seem to be in a mindset that it’s just all about going to Heaven when you die.  Of course, it is true that, if you are born again, you are going to Heaven - BUT - He wants to use every single one of us while we’re here on this earth - in all kinds of unique ways.  But - if we don’t have a clear picture in our daily lives of how God sees us (and what He has done for us), and are not living in daily communication with Him - we won’t be usable.

 

So - o - o - we’re going to take off with the last verses we dealt with last week, and add some others to it.  So - Ephesians 3:14 - 21 - “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.  Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever.  Amen.”

 

Now - this is an extremely powerful portion of Scripture - and we only talked about a few of these verses last week.  But - the Lord wants us to really get a handle on what this is saying.  When it talked about, “the whole family in heaven and earth,” it is referring to all those who have been true believers who are already in heaven and all of us who are still here on earth (as well as those who aren’t born yet but who will be born - and then born again, while there is still an earth to live on).  Can you imagine how large our complete family is going to be?  

 

This portion also says that Paul was praying  that God would grant the believers, living on the earth, to be “strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man.”  I believe Paul was led to pray this prayer for the Ephesians (and it’s also for us today) because so many Christians fall short of  what God wants them to do - because they’re trying to live for God instead of letting God live through them.  This portion talks about we Christians being filled with the ‘fullness of God’.

 

Now - verses 18 and 19  talk about us being 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.”  This is saying that God’s love is is not one-dimensional.  There is width, length, depth, and height to it and it can only be comprehended through the revelation knowledge of the Holy Spirit.  Having only a superficial knowledge of God’s love is like looking at a one-dimensional picture of a real object.  In other words, we can’t truly understand everything with just our feelings, and our mental knowledge, as well as other bits of information that we have.  WE NEED THE REVELATION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT - SHOWING US WHAT WILL GIVE US UNDERSTANDING AND THE ABILITY TO HANDLE THINGS.  SO KNOWING GOD’S LOVE LIKE WE KNOW THE LOVE FOR OUR CHIILDREN IS NOT ENOUGH TO PRODUCE THE MIRACULOUS THINGS THAT GOD WANTS TO DO FOR US AND IN US.  WE NEED REVELATION FROM  HIM - THE KIND THAT PASSES UNDERSTANDING!!!!!!!  THE HIGHT - THE WIDTH - THE DEPTH - AND THE LENGTH!!

 

Now - this is what it really boils down to.  All of that power in us, which this verse is mentioning, is in our NEW SPIRITS, which we received when we were born again.  But, we have to access it.  Instead - many Christians are trying to just do it the way they do everything else in life - FROM THE SOUL!  This comes down to renewing our mind (which is in our soul) through the truths of the Word of God - to the point that we begin to think like God thinks.  Then, we begin to act like God acts.

 

Now - just to keep us in remembrance - we have a spirit, a soul, and a body.  Our old spirit is gone and our new spirit is sealed from all bad.  Our soul is where our mind, will, and emotions are - and we are all familiar with our bodies.  As we renew our minds (learning to think like God thinks) our spirit and soul are more deeply connected to each other.  When the Bible refers to our ‘heart’ it is usually referring to where our spirit and soul meet.  Before we had a new spirit, our soul pretty much ran our life  But now that we have been born again, and we spend time in the Word of God, and talk daily to the Lord, the more our spirit gives life, love, forgiveness, strength, kindness, self-control - and on and on and on - our hearts are different than they used to be.

 

Now - back in that portion of Scripture, it talks about ‘Christ dwelling in our hearts through faith’ - and this is what I have learned.  Christ is in our new born again spirit - but the more that we take the truth of the Word of God into our being, and spend time talking to the Lord personally, the more access Christ has into our hearts (where the soul and the spirit meet).  THAT TAKES PLACE BY FAITH - BECAUSE YOU ARE EXERCISING YOUR FAITH THE MORE AND MORE AND MORE THAT YOU BELIEVE HIM AND HIS PROMISES - AND THE MORE YOU ARE BEING ROOTED AND GROUNDED IN LOVE!!!!!!!

 

Brothers and sisters - when this just becomes a way of life for us, we begin to experience the love of Christ in our day-to-day living - AND YOU KNOW WHAT HAPPENS?????  We become so in love with the Lord, that we cannot even explain it to people - BECAUSE IT PASSES KNOWLEDGE.  In other words, you become so close to the Lord that you can’t even exactly, yourself, find words to understand it yourself.  That verse (19) goes on to say that you are filled with all the fullness of God!!!!!!!!  Man - how can you explain that?

 

Well - this is the way to explain it!  You can take in knowledge through your soul.  When you were a little kid in school, you took in knowledge about math, English, spelling, history, etc. through your mind, which is in your soul.  As you grew, you took in knowledge about males and females, about all kinds of things in life, about different places in the world, about good stuff and bad stuff.  But, as a born again child of God, who communicates with Him and spends time in His Word, you have the ability to be filled with lots and lots of things about life, about God, about individual situations that isn’t coming from your soul but from your spirit.  That’s what it is talking about when it says, “all the fullness of God.”

 

Now - in verse 20, it talks about the Lord being “able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.”  What a powerful statement.  Lots of Christians just read that and go on, thinking that it just doesn’t apply to them.  THAT’S NOT TRUE!

 

I’ve got another story to share with you.  I’ve shared this one before but it was a long time ago and some of you weren’t here yet.  So - I’m going to share it again it again.

 

We were in the pastoral ministry in that church in North Kansas City, which I talked about last week.  It was doing well and we were growing.  The little tiny Women’s Bible Study that I had started was going well and had grown and grown.  We met once a week and women were coming from other places, and that was leading them and their families to come to our Sunday services also.  I was actually standing  up at the pulpit teaching!  What a huge change that was for me!

 

After several months (maybe even a year and a-half ‘or so), a husband of one of the women started coming with her to our class - but he sat in the back by himself.  I thought that was very weird that he was coming to a women’s Bible Study and I wasn’t sure how to handle it.  So I did nothing.  He came the next week, and then the next week.  After the class, on that third week, this man came up to me, and introduced himself and then said these words to me, “You need to be on Christian radio!!!  If you’ll do it, I’ll pay for it!!! “ I almost fainted!.  I looked at him like this……..!  Then I shook my head up and down and said, “Yes!”

 

Here was this person who had been terrified to be up in front of people being offered a beautiful thing like this!!!!!

 

I was  kinda’ in a fog, as we closed everything down and got ready to go home.  When I got home, I was still kinda’ in that thinking of, “Did this really happen?”  THEN - I was kinda’ afraid of my husband getting home (he had been in his office at the church but I hadn’t told him about this yet).  I was afraid that he was going to get his feelings hurt because they hadn’t asked him. I prayed and prayed until he got home.  

 

I told him that I had something to share with him- and I could kinda’ tell, by the look on his face, that he was worried that something bad had happened.  So-o-o-o-o I told him exactly what had occurred.  When I finished - (I WILL NEVER FORGET THAT MOMENT) - he stood directly in front of me and put his hands on both my shoulders - and looked me directly in the eyes and said exactly these words, “HONEY, IF HE ASKED YOU, HE ASKED ME - BECAUSE WE ARE ONE!”  We hugged and hugged and he really made me feel at peace about this.

 

In the next few days, we made contact with KCCV, Kansas City’s Christian Voice.  We worked out the plan for my radio teaching.  The name of the show was called, “Girl Talk!”  I had a teaching session - Monday through Friday each week.

 

We had a walk-in closet in our bedroom and he made a little recording studio in one part of it for me to record the teachings on cassettes.  Never in my wildest imagination did I ever think of myself on a daily radio program!  People were listening  in all kinds of areas there in the Midwest - and I began to get invitations to speak in many different places and, of course, more people began to come to our church.

 

By the way, a couple of men from our church were policemen, and they began to plan their ‘break’ time at the time of my radio teaching.  They got their coffee, and pulled into a nearby park and parked there and listened.  They told me they loved the teaching.

 

Now - remember what it said in verse 20 - “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.”  THAT WAS GOD’S POWER WORKING IN ME - NOT MY FLESHLY POWER - AND HE WAS DOING EXCEEDINGLY ABUNDANTLY ABOVE ALL THAT I COULD ASK OR THINK!!!!  Just a few years before, I couldn’t even stand in front of people and talk.  I can’t take credit for people learning stuff from that radio program, and from those conferences I went to and spoke - THAT WAS GOD’S POWER!  We just have to learn to follow Him, surrender to Him, spend time in His Word, and talking to Him - getting to really know Him and what He’s like - AND HOW HE SEES US AND LOVES US, AND WANTS TO USE US.  

 

See - I can’t look back on that and think, “Man oh man - look what I did!”  NO - NO - NO - IT’S ‘LOOK WHAT GOD DID!”  Now - this is very important - Lots of Christians say the right thing on the outside when they’re talking to other people - BUT ON THE INSIDE, THEY’RE THINKING, MAN OH MAN I’M SO PROUD OF ME - LOOK WHAT I DID - WOW - WOW - WOW - PEOPLE ARE REALLY SEEING ME DIFFERENT THAN THEY USED TO - I’M DOING A GOOD JOB!

 

When we look at it from that viewpoint on the inside, we won’t continue to see those miraculous things because we’re allowing pride to take over in us.

 

That’s where that verse 21 comes in - “To Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever.  Amen.”  I personally believe that our prayer life should daily begin and end with thanksgiving, praise, adoration, worship  - coming from true awareness deep within us that He is the One who deserves praise for all that He has done for us, even before we were ever born on this earth.

 

Now - let’s move on to Ephesians 4:1-3 - “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”  Did you notice that Paul didn’t say that he was a prisoner of the Roman government?  He had such an intimate relationship with the Lord that he knew that God was seeing to him, no matter what - and, if the Romans ended up killing him, that just meant that he got to go be with Jesus.  Oh - that the Body of Christ would truly get ahold of this way of thinking!!!!  I believe that Paul was being led by the Lord to show the rest of the Christians in the world (including you and me) that THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN OUR LIVES SHOULD BE OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE LORD - NO MATTER WHAT!  ALSO - THAT OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH ALL OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN CHRIST SHOULD BE WITH LOVE AND HUMILITY.

 

To tell you the truth - I don’t believe that most Christians have a clue how their lives have an impact on our brothers and sisters in Christ.    When we are around our brothers and sisters, and we’re just walking the walk that has become just the way our lives are now - loving, forgiving, helping, comforting, and on and on and on, when we don’t even realize it, but our brothers and sisters are learning and growing as they are around us.  We’re just listening to the Lord and doing what He tells us to do, and, sometimes we don’t even realize it, but God is using us to encourage others how He wants them to live.  The ‘unity of the spirit’ in the Body of Christ is very important to the Lord - and it should be to us also.

 

Now - Ephesians 4:4-6 - “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one  God and Father of all who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”

 

Now this can be confusing to lots of people - so I want to make it more clear to understand.  This is what I have learned.  There is just ONE BODY OF CHRIST - AND EVERY BORN AGAIN BELIEVER IS PART OF THAT BODY.  I know that there are many denominations - many belief systems, etc., but the truth is that ONLY BORN AGAIN PEOPLE ARE IN THE BODY OF CHRIST.  That is why it is so important, for those of us who are born again, to have an impact on others - no matter what denomination they are in.  When we were born again, there is only ONE SPIRIT giving us life and hope.

 

There is only one LORD!  Now, it has been difficult for a lot of people to grasp the phrase, “One God - In Three Persons,” - or The Trinity!  How can three all be ONE?  Well, the way I have dealt with it is that the Bible says it over and over  again - the FATHER, THE SON, AND THE HOLY SPIRIT - therefore, even though my mind doesn’t clearly understand how one can be three, I BELIEVE IT WITH ALL MY HEART - AND THROUGH BELIEVING IT, I HAVE COME TO HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH THIS ‘THREE IN ONE GOD’ AND SOMETIMES I EVEN TALK TO THEM INDIVIDUALLY.

 

Now - we have one faith!  Lots of time you hear people say things like, “What faith are you?’ - then you hear people reply, with words like, “I’m of the Baptist faith,” or “I’m of the Catholic faith,” or I’m of the Presbyterian faith,” - and on and on and on.  Those are different denominations - but there is only one FAITH - AND THAT IS THE FAITH THAT JESUS CHRIST TOOK OUR SIN IN HIS OWN BODY AND DIED FOR US - AND, THEREFORE, BECAUSE I BELIEVE THAT, I HAVE BEEN BORN AGAIN AND AM IN THE BODY OF CHRIST.

 

Now - the next one is also confusing - there is ONE BAPTISM!  There are several baptisms mentioned in the New Testament - The Baptism of John the Baptist - the Baptism after we are born again - the Baptism of the Holy Spirit - BUT - I really believe (as do the theologians that I have learned from) that this is talking about the BAPTISM  - THAT HAPPENS IMMEDIATELY AFTER WE ACCEPT CHRIST AS OUR SAVIOR, AND ARE BORN AGAIN - WHEN THE HOLY SPIRIT TAKES EACH ONE OF US -  THE MOMENT WE ARE BORN AGAIN AND PLACES US IN THE BODY OF CHRIST!  There is only ONE PERSON (THE HOLY SPIRIT) WHO DOES THIS - AND THERE IS ONLY ONE PLACE HE BAPTIZES US INTO - THE BODY OF CHRIST.  That’s what the Apostle Paul is referring to in this verse.

 

Now we’re going to Ephesians 4:7-10 - “But to each one of us grace was given, according to the measure of Christ’s gift.  Therefore He says: ‘When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men.’  (Now this, ‘He ascended’ - what does it mean but that He also descended into the lower parts of the earth.)  He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)

 

Now - the most simple way to understand this is this.  After Jesus was resurrected from the dead, He spent time in different places with His followers.  Then - before He ascended into heaven, He descended into what the Bible calls Sheol - which is known as a place in the center of the earth.  Hell is below the earth.  But the place called Sheol is where the Old Testament saints were - and they were waiting for the resurrection of the Savior to be able to go to heaven.  They had not been born again like we have.  So - Jesus went to Sheol and set those captives free and took them to heaven.

 

Now those verses also talk about grace being given to every single believer.  Many times, ‘grace’ is talked about as ‘graces’.  I believe it is referring to the gifts that are given to each individual believer - because, as it goes on in these verses (which we haven’t gotten to yet), it also talks about the gifts.

 

Now I’ve said this before, many times, but I really am awed about the way God had everything planned out for all of us throughout the world - for thousands of years, and then had people write what He wanted them to write so that we could know how He thinks.  You see - when we get ahold of how He thinks - and also about the power of His Great Love - it changes our lives while we are here on this earth.  That’s when we begin to SEE OURSELVES THE WAY GOD SEES US.

 

Brothers and sisters, living on this earth, 24 hours a day, year after year, can be filled with all kinds of things to deal with - people - problems - trouble - and on and on and on.  Now – think about this – before God even created the world and all the things and, of course, human beings, He already had a plan worked out regarding every individual thing which would bring problems, pain, sorrow, hurt, and on and on and on  He had a plan for human beings to take authority over Satan.  He had a plan for the Old Testament believers to be protected after their physical deaths, in a place called Sheol, until He had carried away all their sin, even though they had not been born again when they died.

 

He had a plan for born again human beings to go through the stuff that the world brings on them and then, come out the other side – ‘smelling like a rose’!  THEN – after Jesus died on the cross, and took all the sin of the world (for all who would accept what He had done).  In other words, He knows in advance (because He knows all things) that problems are going to come – EVEN AMONG CHRISTIANS, - and He has a way to bring us through them – and, even when there are huge problems, our confidence and trust in Him can bring us  through them WITH THE PEACE THAT PASSES UNDERSTANDING.  

 

We have to be so in love with the Lord, and in communication with Him to the degree that, no matter what is happening, He will show us what to do and He will see us through it.  In other words, WE HAVE TO SEE OURSELVES THE WAY THE LORD SEES US.  

 

THINK ABOUT THE APOSTLE PAUL, IMPRISONED BY THE ROMANS – YET HE SAID HE WAS THE PRISONER OF CHRIST.  HOW COULD HE SAY THAT?  BECAUSE HE SAW HIMSELF THE WAY THE LORD SAW HIM.  HE KNEW THAT THE LORD WAS GOING TO USE HIM IN THIS SITUATION THAT WOULD HAVE AN EFFECT ON THE WHOLE WORLD.  THUS – WE HAVE ALL THOSE BOOKS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT WRITTEN BY HIM – REVELATION KNOWLEDGE FROM THE LORD FOR YOU AND ME 2,000 YEARS LATER.

 

Brothers and sisters – when we truly begin to see ourselves as the Lord sees us, no matter what kind of tribulation, problem, mess, trouble, hurt, disappointment, and anything else comes – we can spend very important time with the Lord and TOTALLY TRUST HIM, and He will work things out.  I’m not going to go into any details here  but I am going to say that, over this last week, I have spent hours and hours in my bedroom, in my comfy chair, WITH THE LORD.  I HAVE PRAYED WITH MY UNDERSTANDING AND I HAVE PRAYED IN THE SPIRIT (OR IN TONGUES) – GOD HAS HEARD ME AND ANSWERED MY PRAYERS IN SEVERAL DIFFERENT WAYS – AND I KNOW THAT MORE ANSWERS ARE COMING!  HE NEVER FAILS.

 

HE TRULY WANTS US TO SEE OURSELVES LIKE HE SEES US!   

 

Scriptures for this lesson

Ephesians 3:14-21

Ephesians 4:1-3

Ephesians 4:4-6

Ephesians 4:7-10

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