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April 30, 2024



Well - here we are again - in our class, which is called, “Living Life Gracefully.”  We’ve been in a series for a few weeks now called, “Seeing Yourself As God Sees You,” - and we are in Part 7.  We have been going through the book of Ephesians, because this book gives us a real picture of what the Christian life is to be like and what it is not to be like.  When we begin to see ourselves the way God sees us, the Christian life, with His way of thinking, loving, acting, forgiving, understanding, peace and all the other fruits of the spirit, just becomes a normal way of living for us - AND THAT HAS BEEN GOD’S PLAN ALL ALONG!


So - before we read some Scripture, I want to remind us of some things we talked about before in this series.  The moment we were born again, we received a brand new spirit.  The old spirit was dead and was replaced by a new spirit, with all the wonderful fruit in it to help us live our lives.  That new spirit was sealed by the Holy Spirit and nothing can take it out of your spirit (from you), and nothing can get in there and turn it all bad.  If you want to be reminded of all this, you can always go online to my website and read the notes for the messages.  The address for the website is on the Scripture page that you have.


Now, this is very important, and we’ve talked about it before but the Lord wants us to be reminded of it - WE HAVE ACCESS TO ALL THAT FRUIT IN OUR BORN AGAIN SPIRITS.  This is from Galatians 5:22-23 - “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.  Against such there is no law.”    That last sentence means, ‘There are no laws which speak against people who live in this way’.  


All of that fruit of the spirit is in our new born-again spirit - but it will not just ooze out into your being, without your approval or connection.  You have a free will and God will not violate your free will and just do everything wonderful for you without your co-operation.  We must ACCESS what is available to us by acknowledging it being there for us.  We thank the Lord for what He has done and tell Him that we want to receive into our life all that miraculous power that He has made available to us.


I tell you that, when I got ahold of this truth - and discovered what a remarkable and beautiful gift that the Lord has made available to His children, it changed life for me.  We can actually love like Jesus loved, and all the rest of those things.  BUT WE HAVE TO ACCESS IT!


Now I had to bring that up because THAT IS THE ONLY WAY WE CAN DO WHAT IT TELLS US TO DO IN THESE VERSES IN EPHESIANS 4 & 5.  So now - we’re going to Ephesians 4:25 - 32 -

 25 - “Therefore, putting away lying; Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.”


26 - “Be angry and do not sin: do not let the sun go down on your wrath,”


27 - “nor give place to the devil.”


28 - “Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.”


29 - “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.”


30 - “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”


31 - “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.”


32 - “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”


Now - brothers and sisters - we wouldn’t be able to live like that, if all those fruit of the spirit had not been put into our new spirits when we were born again. I want to make a comment on a few of these things before we move on so that there isn’t any misunderstanding about these verses.

First of all - Little tiny lies here and there are still lies!  Speaking the truth all the time is the way we are to live now!  There is an anger which is not sin!  Jesus got angry - Godly anger is part of holiness and unity - and is primarily toward the Enemy - the Evil One - Satan!  That means that it is not directed at people but the Devil!  He is out to destroy God’s kingdom and create disunity in the Body of Christ - therefore, we are to have anger at him and take our God-given authority over him.


Stealing from others means being a taker instead of a giver.  Stealing is just wrong in God’s eyes, even when we try to cover it up in different ways.


Now - the one about corrupt words coming out of the mouth is rather misunderstood.  It’s not just about cuss words or swearing or whatever you want to call it - it’s also about things said about other people.  Our words about others can be very destructive.  The words that come out of our mouths have the power to do good - but they also have the power to ruin someone’s life.  I believe that God wants us all to just be careful - it’s better to do a lot of praying for someone than do a lot of harm by talking and talking and talking about them in a negative way.


Now I believe that the verse about not grieving the Holy Spirit, which just follows the one about our words, is no accident - it’s there for a reason.  A huge amount of problems in the Body of Christ are caused by the poor choice of words which are flowing freely in Christianity.  We are to love one another but it  can’t be just putting on a good show on the outside at specific times and places.  It must be our way of life - and it grieves the Holy Spirit when it is pouring out of the mouths of Christians to one another and about one another.


The next verse makes it clear that we just have to let go of the negative speaking - bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, evil speaking and all malice.  We are all aware of the fact that when terrible things are said or done toward us, it hurts deep down inside us - BUT WE ARE TO LIVE OUR LIVES AS JESUS DID and He has given us the power in our new spirits to do that.  Remember Jesus on that cross, saying, “Father, forgive them - they know not what they do.”  Also - I want to say that the word, “malice,” means “the desire to harm others or to see others suffer.”  Brothers and sisters, the only way we can live this way - LIKE JESUS LIVED - is to spend time with the Lord and talk to Him about reaching into our SPIRIT, and accessing the power that has been given to us.  We can’t live that way just from our soul.  We need His power and it is available to us!!!!!!!


When we do that, it’s easier to do what the next verse says - to be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving to one another.  ALL OF THAT ABILITY HAS ALREADY BEEN PROVIDED FOR US IN OUR NEW BORN AGAIN SPIRITS - BUT THE MAJORITY OF CHRISTIANITY DOESN’T ACCESS IT AND TAKE ADVANTAGE OF WHAT HE HAS ALREADY PROVIDED FOR US.


Think about this - God Almighty has forgiven you and me for every bad thing in our lives - and He is not bringing it up to us to make us feel bad - He has obliterated it from our lives - AND WE HAVE HIS POWER IN OUR NEW SPIRITS TO ACT IN THE SAME WAY TOWARD ANYONE WHO HAS DONE ANY AND EVERY THING THAT HAS HURT US, HINDERED US, MESSED UP OUR LIVES IN ANY WAY!  I like to say, “I want Your Way Yahweh!”  “Yahweh” is one of the Hebrew names of God and I just love it.  I say it often - “Your way, Yahweh!”


Now the next verse is Ephesians 5:1 and this is really a humdinger!  “Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.”  Now, a lot of Christians have thought and said, “You can’t do just like God does - He’s just wanting you to try.”  THAT’S NOT TRUE!  God does not lie.  He has provided the way for you and me to live our lives like Jesus lived His.  Now it’s true, all of us have made mistakes and not done it perfectly - but He really has had a plan, all along, for us to live our lives in purity - loving God and loving mankind enough to try to save them from going to hell - and trying to keep Christians from destroying  their lives while they’re here on earth.


The Apostle Paul is a great example for us.  He was doing his best to destroy Christianity - UNTIL THE DAY HE BELIEVED AND GOT BORN AGAIN!    Then, before he began to preach or teach, he went to the desert - (from what we can glean from the Bible, he was there for about 3 years)  Most of the Bible teachers that I have learned from believe that he spent a huge amount of that time in the desert praying in tongues, or in the spirit.  The Lord was “opening the eyes of his understanding,” giving him, wisdom, knowledge, and enlightenment!  Thus, this man, who had been against Christianity was the one God used to write these wonderful letters in the New Testament.  He is a wonderful example of someone who was truly A SINNER WHO GOT BORN AGAIN AND BECAME A JESUS FOLLOWER - THUS LIVING LIKE JESUS LIVED - BEING AN IMITATOR OF GOD!


Paul is a perfect example for us, as someone WHO PUT ON THE NEW MAN AND WALKED THROUGH HIS LIFE THAT WAY - and so can we!!


The next verse begins to tell us that.  Ephesians 5:2 - “And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.”  Brothers and sisters, we can’t just take the attitude that lots of Christians have taken of - “Oh, it’s not possible for all of us to do that - that’s just for the super saints.”  It’s right there in black and white in our Bibles.  This is the way we are to live our lives!!  


Now I want you to think about something.  When Jesus died on that cross, for you and me, taking all the sin of the whole world into the being of a sinless human being, who came to this earth for this one purpose, it produced a sweet smell to the Father.  If anything could ever produce a “sweet-smelling aroma” to God - it would be that!!!!!  What a picture!  Now - close your eyes for a minute - and imagine what it looked like to see Jesus on that cross - beaten, cut, nails pounded into His body, blood pouring out, in agonizing pain - and all because He loved mankind enough to go through that, so that we could believe in what He did, and accept Him, and then be in Heaven with Him for eternity.  AGAPE LOVE - THE GOD KIND OF LOVE - MOTIVATING ALL THAT SUFFERING - PRODUCED A SWEET-SMELLING AROMA TO THE FATHER!!!!!  


I really believe that - I don’t think it’s just a figurative statement - this is the WORD OF GOD!  There are times in the Old Testament that the offerings that were made for sin were referred to as “a sweet smell to the Lord”.  So - down to the nitty gritty, a life lived in union with Christ, operating in Agape Love produces a sweet-smelling fragrance to the Lord. Okay - you can open your eyes.


God wants us to truly be a follower of Jesus!  That means that we live our lives, acting like Jesus did,  LOVING LIKE JESUS DID, FORGIVING LIKE JESUS DID - AND ON AND ON AND ON!  It’s not for just a few Christians - it’s for us all.  WE ARE THE BODY OF CHRIST!!!


Now the rest of the verses in Ephesians 5 are talking about some things that we should avoid and also what our attitudes toward marriage  and the relationships between husbands and wives should be - and I suggest that you read them in your Bible.  I want to move ahead to Ephesians 6 which continues to help us SEE OURSELVES AS GOD SEES US.  However, the first few verses are still talking about families and the relationship between parents and children.


I have to say that I was one of the fortunate ones.  My parents were wonderful parents.  They never argued with one another and they were always kind and loving to me, my sister, and my brother.  They loved one another and treated one another with loving respect.  We laughed a lot in our family - and we teased one another - it was never taken badly - we all just laughed with each other.  We all knew that Mom and Dad loved us and would do anything for us.  That really taught us to be that same way to them.  I was very close to both of them.


Through the years, I have known so many people who had very bad memories of bad stuff with their parents.  Many times, those memories hinder people in various areas of their lives.  Parent - Child relationships which have been difficult have to be left in the past - and forgiveness (with God’s love and power) can keep it from hindering your life.


We’re going to slip ahead to Ephesians 6:5-9.


5 - “Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ;”  This is talking about slaves being obedient to their masters.  However, I believe that it is just referring to anyone who kinda’ rules over you, in your job, etc.    If slaves, who have no control over their own lives at all can be kindly obedient to their masters, so can we to our bosses, or anyone who is over us.  It has to come from the heart - it cannot be just putting on a good show on the outside but being cranky, grouchy, judgemental, and self-centered on the inside.


6 - “not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.”  Did you get that?  BONDSERVANTS OF CHRIST!!!!!  Remember that verse that we read before where Paul said that he was a prisoner of Christ - not a prisoner of the Roman empire!! Now - I believe that this is giving us a picture as how we are to view ourselves, when we are in situations where it seems like we can’t make our own choices.  We are to see ourselves in such a close relationship with the Lord, that we can trust Him to see to us, NO MATTER WHAT!!!  In all reality, it is closely related to SEEING OURSELVES AS GOD SEES US.  You think God didn’t see Paul as His beloved son, when he was in that Roman prison and didn’t seem to have any control over his life?  Paul could see himself as God’s son and that God would never let him down or leave him or forsake him.  THAT WAS SEEING YOURSELF AS GOD SEES YOU.  He wasn’t complaining about being a prisoner.  He wasn’t talking bad about the Roman government, or the individual people - and that should be a really good picture for us to follow when things are not going beautifully and wonderful as we want them to.  He doesn’t want us talking bad about people who have hurt us or who have done us wrong.  WE SHOULD NOT SEE IT AS OUR RESPONSIBILITY TO LET THE WORLD KNOW HOW BAD THEY ARE!!!!!


7 - “with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men,”  What this boils down to is that we are to serve those who rule over us (like bosses, or any others that we serve) as though we are just serving THE LORD, not just human beings who are not perfect people and make mistakes in all kinds of ways.The only way we can do that is to, by faith, reach into that NEW SPIRIT and access that FRUIT THAT HAS BEEN PLACED IN THERE.  Brother Paul did!!!!!


8 - “knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free.”  Boy oh boy - what a wonderful promise!!!!!  We have to take promises like this for real - we have to believe them and receive them.  GOD DOES NOT LIE!  Now - the Lord has led me to use the Apostle Paul as an example - I’m still doing that.  Think about this - he was a prisoner of the Roman Empire for a long time.  THAT WAS NOT A FUN LIFE!!!!  But look what God did.  People from the Philippian church sent him lots of money and the Romans let him get his own house to live in, even though he was still a prisoner!!!!  That’s a wonderful example of how much God loves each one of us individually and sees to each one of us.  Then ----- Paul wrote all those letters under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit - and we’re still learning from them today.


9 - “And you, masters, do the same things to them, giving up threatening, knowing that your own Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.”  Now this verse is specifically directed to the ones, both then (2,000 years ago) and now (in 2024) who are in authority over others IN ANY WAY.  Just because you have been placed in authority, it doesn’t give you right to treat people poorly.  God wants the masters, as well as the slaves or servants, or employees, or helpers, to be treated with respect and kindness.  Just because someone has been put into a position of authority over others does not mean that it’s okay to be pushy, controlling, and to see yourself as ‘important and worth being looked up to’.  He wants you to see those you have authority over as individuals who have their own lives, families, needs, problems, and emotional things to deal with.  


NOW - I know that these things we’ve been talking about here in the first part of Ephesians 6 are some difficult things to deal with.  The central thing that the Lord wants us to see is that, no matter what season we are in, in our human lives here on this earth - we have to continually SEE OURSELVES LIKE GOD SEES US.  It’s not just a fairy tale - or only for ‘super saints’ - it’s for every single truly born again Christian!  We are all children of the KING OF THE UNIVERSE!  BUT WE HAVE TO SEE OURSELVES THAT WAY.  WHEN WE ACCEPTED, INDIVIDUALLY, WHAT JESUS DID FOR US ON THAT CROSS, BY BELIEVING IN OUR HEARTS AND SAYING WITH OUR MOUTHS THAT WE BELIEVED - WE TRULY BECAME NEW CREATIONS.  WE WERE GIVEN A NEW SPIRIT WITH THE POWER TO LIVE LIFE HERE ON EARTH THE WAY JESUS DID.  WE WERE GIVEN THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT TO LIVE THE WAY HE WANTS US TO.


When we really, really, really get ahold of who we are now, IN CHRIST, and the way He sees us, it is a life-changing experience.


He sees you and me, AS PEOPLE WHO ARE MEMBERS OF HIS KINGDOM.   You know what?  The biggest problem we have is seeing ourselves that way!!!!!  Brothers and sisters, He wants us to truly, from our new spirits, LOVE THE PEOPLE AROUND US - THE GOOD AND THE BAD!  HE WANTS US TO SHOW THE WORLD WHAT JESUS SHOWED THE WORLD WHEN HE WAS HERE ON THE EARTH.  


Now - I want you to think for a minute about how all those people went out to those areas where Jesus was preaching.  Yes, some went to see the miracles - yes, some went because they heard that He fed people miraculously - yes, some went just to see what THIS GUY was all about!  But you know what - He wants us to be living lives that draw people to us so they can know more about God Almighty.  Remember, the word, ‘Christian’, means, “Little Christs’.  


Our Father God sees us as the followers of Christ - or the Body of Christ - AND WE NEED DESPERATELY TO SEE OURSELVES THE WAY HE SEES US.  It’s only IN CHRIST that we can love the unlovely, forgive the unforgivable, and, of course, be used to heal, help, and teach.  


Remember, when we were in those verses about the 5-fold ministry - when the Word  was teaching us that the ministry is showing us how we are to reach out to the rest of the world.  They are teaching us - so that we can go do what God wants us all to do.  I have said it before but I’m saying it again - I believe that a huge percentage of Christians just think that being born again is just about going to heaven.  Well, it is true - that’s where we are going - but there is a life He wants us to live on this earth that reaches out and has an impact on the DEAD world around us and also on the Christians who have not been taught the truth about what they are to do, and have been given the power to do, while they are alive here on this earth.


They don’t see themselves as God sees them!  




Scriptures for this lesson

Galatians 5:22-23

Ephesians 4:25-32

Ephesians 5:1

Ephesians 5:2

Ephesians 6:5-9

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