GETTING ACQUAINTED WITH THE NEW YOU
Last week we started talking about this subject - who you really are now - and we went through the first 11 verses in Ephesians 1. The Lord led me to go into this subject because so many Christians struggle with various things because they don’t have understanding about what it really means to be BORN AGAIN. It’s not just a ticket to heaven. Understanding what truly happened to you, when you accepted Jesus as your Savior, has a huge impact on your day-to-day life - and it certainly plays a big part in you living GRACEFULLY while you’re here on this earth. It is really important to get ahold of these truths BEFORE WE GET OLD!!!
So I’m going to begin with the verse that I ended with last week. I’m going to read Ephesians 1:11-12 - “In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, That we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.”
Now - we talked some toward the end of the class last week about this inheritance which we have already received. It has already been given to us - we are going to live with Him through eternity - as His heirs - His children - His family. The knowledge of that inheritance can have a huge impact on our lives - not just in the ‘sweet by-and-by’ but in the ‘graceful-here-and-now’. As much as we can release our faith, we can enjoy our inheritance now.
Now - verse 12 that I just read also! I just can’t help myself - I have to read Andrew Wommack’s comment on this verse. He says this - “God is working all things together so the end result will bring praise to His glory. Anytime we are in doubt about what the Lord is leading us to do, all we have to decide, is whether or not this will bring praise to His glory. If our motive is to bring praise to ourselves, we can scratch that off the list. If we are truly seeking to glorify God, then we’ve passed the first hurdle in discerning the Lord’s will.”
Now I’m going to read those two verses again. READ!
Walking through our day-to-day lives, we should keep in constant communication with Him, so that, as we encounter various things which we’re just not sure what to do - to be IN HIS WILL - we have to just ponder for a moment as to whether our decision will bring praise to His glory. God has a WILL concerning everything.
That is the reason that spending quality time with Him and quality time in His Word, is so very, very important in us living GRACEFUL LIVES. When His children seek Him, love Him, spend time talking to Him and reading His Word, walking in His will in our lives becomes on the outside just like who we are on the inside.
Now - Ephesians 1:13 - “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.”
Let’s kinda’ just take some thought on the details of this verse. The ‘word of truth’ is ‘the gospel of your salvation’ - The word ‘gospel’ actually means ‘good news’. And get this - NEWS is about something that has already taken place. God has done it all - He did it 2,000 years ago - The only thing human beings have to do is believe it and receive it. They can’t earn it! Personally, I believe that it is important to keep alive in your memory the moment you accepted Christ. As I’ve said before, I was only 13 years old - that was 73 years ago. But I can remember every detail - I knew that I knew that I knew that I had invited God into my life and that He had done everything that needed to be done for me to be in heaven with Him forever, when I leave my body. I believed in my heart and I said with my mouth that I wanted to receive what He had done for me.
Now - let’s talk about, “being sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise”. The word, ‘sealed’, means ‘to stamp (with a signet or private mark) for security or preservation’. What it boils down to, is that when we accepted Christ, the Holy Spirit sealed us so that our new spirits are protected and pure. Sin can’t get in to the new spirit. It cannot sin.
I remember being in the kitchen with my mom, helping her a bit, when she was canning food. We had a garden and grew vegetables and we had trees that produced fruit. So every year, when the vegetables and fruits were available in abundance, we would do what was needed for the various ones, and put them in jars, and then SEAL them with certain kinds of lids. My dad had built a little area down in our basement, specifically for all the canned goods. It had shelves and those canned goods were SEALED AND PROTECTED.
Brothers and sisters, the Holy Spirit has SEALED US SO THAT WE ARE PROTECTED. WHAT AN ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL TRIUNE GOD WE SERVE - FATHER, SON, AND HOLY SPIRIT!!!
Now - I believe we need to get a grasp on something here. A huge portion of Christians just do not want to know anything much about the Holy Spirit. When I was a young married woman with two children and a husband who had just graduated from Bible School, and was pastoring the second church in Colorado, the Charismatic Movement was going on all over America. This was in the 70’s. People were meeting in homes and in the basements of churches everywhere. The only thing I knew about the Holy Spirit was that it had something to do with ‘speaking in tongues’ and I thought it was weird and had gone out when the apostles all died. So - believe me - I didn’t want to know anything about the Holy Spirit. There are Christians everywhere who only associate the Holy Spirit with weirdness and they don’t want to listen to anyone even mention Him. THEY ARE WRONG! I WAS WRONG!
The Holy Spirit is the third part of the Trinity. He plays a very important part in your life - and many Christians don’t know it. I USED TO BE ONE OF THEM! THE HOLY SPIRIT IS PART OF THE GOD-HEAD! He is the One who sealed us to keep our spirits pure the moment we were born again. We must not ignore part of the Trinity!
Now - listen to the next verse - it’s still on this subject - Ephesians 1:14 - “Who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession to the praise of His glory.” This is still talking about the Holy Spirit, who has sealed us. Now think of it this way. When you have purchased something but it has to be delivered to your home, you still own it, even though it has not arrived in your home yet. That’s the way this is. Your inheritance is to be with the Lord God Almighty for eternity and IT’S ALREADY BEEN PAID FOR (BY THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB OF GOD). AND THE HOLY SPIRIT HAS SEALED YOUR NEW SPIRIT TO PROTECT IT FROM SIN. SIN ABSOLUTELY CANNOT GET INTO YOUR NEW BORN AGAIN SPIRIT BECAUSE YOU HAVE BEEN PROTECTED BY THE SEAL OF THE HOLY SPIRIT TO THE PRAISE OF THE GLORY OF GOD.
WOWIE - WOW - WOW!!! We must not disregard the power and love of the THIRD PERSON OF THE GODHEAD! He’s protected us so that nothing can keep us from going to heaven!
Now - did you get that from verse 14 - “the Holy Spirit is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession to the praise of His glory”. He has sealed us to protect us so that NOTHING CAN TAKE OUR INHERITANCE FROM US!!!!!
So - let’s move on now to Ephesians 1:15-16 - “Therefore, I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, Do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers.” Now - this is an extremely informative portion of Scripture, including the verses that are coming up. I have, myself, taken this portion of Scripture very personally through the years and have prayed it for myself, as well as for many others. As I have studied, through the years, I have discovered that the Ephesian Church was probably the largest church in the world at that time. It was in, what is now called, Turkey.
Paul wanted to let them know that he had heard that they were certainly a people of FAITH and that they were definitely having an impact on the then-known world. They were Christians who were experiencing the ‘love of God’ for the brethren. I have even thought about the fact that when I’m in heaven, I will get to meet those Ephesian brothers and sisters.
Paul let them know how much they were appreciated and that he had been praying for them, giving thanks for them - and making mention of them often in his prayers. Paul was definitely a man of prayer. We should learn from that. When he first got saved (his encounter with the Lord on the road to Damascus), he spent three years in the desert. As I have studied the Word on this, I have come to realize that Paul was used by God, not only to have a huge impact on the people of his day, but also on the rest of the world, by writing a huge portion of the New Testament - THE BIBLE! I have heard it said that, “Paul went to Desert University.” Laughing! I personally believe he received all his insight from praying in the spirit, and listening to the Lord for 3 years before he ever began to preach to others. That’s one of the reasons that you hear me all the time saying that we need to set aside time to spend in the Word and praying. That is where we get our understanding and illumination. I’ll go into that more with some of the verses coming up.
I just want to add here that we ought to begin our prayer with praise and thanksgiving and we ought to end our prayer with praise and thanksgiving. We live in a self-centered culture and it is easy to fall into that to the point that our prayer lives become all about letting God know what we want and need. It is important to always have in our thinking, how grateful we are to be included in the family of God forever - not because we earned it but because of HIS MAGNIFICENT GRACE.
Now we come to some verses which have become what I use in my prayers all the time - praying for myself and for all the ones that I pray for.
It’s Ephesians 1:17-23! We will not make it through all of them today. We’ll still be in them next week. So - I’m just going to take one at a time - even though they are all related to one another - Brothers and sisters, these verses, becoming a part of your day-to-day lives will help you in LIVING GRACEFULLY to the Nth degree!!!!!!!
Now, remember, in verse l6, Paul told them he was praying for them - now he’s going to tell them what he was praying for. So - Ephesians 1:17 - “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,”
Now, first I want to clear up one thing that might be confusing. When Paul used the words, “spirit of wisdom and revelation”, he was not referring to the Holy Spirit or to our born-again spirits. He was using it like we use the phrase, ‘team-spirit’, or ‘school-spirit’. It is a phrase which means, “mental disposition’. We already have ‘wisdom’ and ‘prudence’ in our born again spirits. We have to draw these things out of our born again spirits by accessing them by faith - and get them into our minds (which is in our souls). He was praying for what is already true in our spirits to become our mental disposition. He was praying, in other words, for wisdom and revelation, which is already in our spirits, to be released into the physical being.
Oh - what an amazing portion of Scripture to get ahold of - to meditate on - to ponder on - and to agree with the Apostle Paul who wrote this, inspired by the Lord. I have taken this portion of Scripture personally and prayed for quite a period of time in the spirit, and the Lord has revealed things to me that I couldn’t understand or really see before. I have actually prayed this prayer that Paul prayed over the Ephesians for myself. If Paul prayed it for them, then I could pray it for me. By the way, Paul wasn’t praying that God would give them more and more things - he was praying that they would get a revelation of what they already had. WE ALL NEED THAT!!!!!
Now - Ephesians 1:18 - “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.” I have prayed this prayer so many times in my life - for me, and for everyone else that I pray for. You may have heard me pray it. Brothers and sisters, we have been given, in our born again spirits, all we will ever need, while we are here on earth, to live a faith-filled and GRACEFUL LIFE!!! BUT WE HAVE TO ACCESS IT. I have learned that I have to understand this truth and all the other truths that God has given me. God will not whoosh down and immediately change everything to where I want it to be. We have been given a free will! We have to choose to understand - we have to choose to access what He’s given us - we have to choose to receive revelation knowledge about God and about how this all works. WHAT A TREMENDOUS REVELATION THIS HAS BEEN IN MY LIFE. I’m not saying that I’ve done it all perfectly - but I am saying that, when I got ahold of this truth, my whole life changed. PRAYER FOR ME IS NOT BEGGING GOD TO DO THINGS - IT’S RECEIVING FROM HIM WHAT HE’S ALREADY GIVEN ME.
By the way, the Greek word which was translated, “understanding” in this verse means, “deep thought.” (That’s from Strong’s Concordance.) NOW GET THIS - THAT SAME GREEK WORD WAS ALSO TRANSLATED, “IMAGINATION,” IN LUKE 1:51!!! From my study, I have learned that imagination and hope are deeply connected. Did you notice that it said, “the eyes of your understanding”! Paul was praying that our understanding (or imagination) would see the hope of his calling.
Now - to make this as easy to understand as possible - if we’re just begging and begging with God to do stuff for us, we are not really using all that God has made available to us - and we’re not going to see good results. Those of us who, are just “wishing” that God will do this or that for us, are not going to get the answers we want. WE HAVE TO BELIEVE THE WORD - AND OUR HEAVENLY FATHER’S PROMISES - TO THE DEGREE THAT WE CAN IMAGINE THEM AND WHAT THEY LOOK LIKE. THEY’RE ALREADY IN THE SPIRITUAL REALM (OR HEAVENLY PLACES) AND, AS WE IMAGINE THEM (OR HOPE FOR THEM), OUR FAITH BRINGS THEM INTO THE PHYSICAL REALM.
Now - listen to Hebrews 11:1 - (I love this verse) “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Now - remember - ‘hope’ and ‘imagination’ are closely linked together. Hope is not just wishing. Hope is seeing it deep inside yourself, before it is in the physical world (because it already exists in the spiritual world). Now - I’m going to share with you something the Lord spoke to me many years ago. I was praying about all this to really get an understanding about it. The Lord said this to me, “Gloria - if you can’t imagine it, it’s really not hope - and faith doesn’t have anything to give substance to.” That really did changed my prayer life. It already exists in the spiritual world (or heavenly places), but I am a human being here on this earth - and I have been given authority. Therefore I must SEE IT (through my imagination - or real hope) and then my faith gives substance (in the physical world) and it is brought into the physical world.
Take healing for example - I have learned that I have to imagine myself healed and then my faith has something to give substance to. I think that’s one of the most difficult areas for us. Sometimes the pain is screaming against our imagination. I think that’s one of the reasons that we so often need help in prayer in this realm. I have also learned that I have to ponder on what I would look like, feel like, think like, and on and on, if the healing had already changed my problem in my body. IT HAS TO BECOME MORE REAL TO ME THAN THE PROBLEM IS. IT’S THEN THAT MY FAITH HAS SOMETHING TO GIVE SUBSTANCE TO. I haven’t always done it all perfectly - we’re all a work in progress.
Now brothers and sisters - getting ahold of the truth in this one verse - Ephesians 1:18 - is a life changer. It is very, very important to living a GRACEFUL LIFE WHILE WE’RE HERE ON EARTH. Now - listen to this - God wants to use each and every one of us to show all the unbelievers around us (as well as believers who haven’t been taught) how this whole thing of a relationship with God and getting prayers answered works. So, although He dearly desires that each one of us get ahold of these truths and have the kind of success in our prayer lives that we want, He also desires to draw others to Himself through our lives being lived before the world.
He’s not wanting us to just put on a good show He wants us to show the rest of the world what a relationship with the CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE really looks like.
Can you imagine how many lives have been changed in people who have been reading (for 2,000 years) the story of a man named Saul, who hated Christians and did everything he could to eliminate Christianity - and, then, one day he had a miraculous encounter with the Lord - THE RISEN SAVIOR, JESUS - and that day was immediately changed!!!!! He became a new creation that day. After meeting with some Christians for a bit, he went to the desert for three years and God revealed a huge, huge amount of revelation, enlightenment, understanding, and wisdom to Him. HE BEGAN TO CHANGE PEOPLE’S LIVES BY JUST LIVING THE WAY GOD WANTED HIM TO LIVE.
YOU TALK ABOUT LIVING GRACEFULLY!!!!!!!!!!
Now, we’re not all going to be preachers, or traveling all over the world, or prophets, and on and on - BUT, WE ALL ARE VERY IMPORTANT TO THE LORD OUR SAVIOR - AND HE DESIRES TO SHOW US THINGS, OPEN THE EYES OF OUR UNDERSTANDING, REVEAL HIDDEN THINGS TO US - AND TO SHOW TO THE WORLD AROUND US WHAT IT MEANS TO HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH THE LORD.’’
As I’ve said before, He desires to use us, even as we grow older. We don’t have to be lonely, bored, sick, grouchy, frustrated, feeling sorry for ourselves, or all the rest of the things that a lot of older people go through. As we get ahold of truths like these from Ephesians 1, it can have a HUGE impact on the rest of our lives.
Brothers and sisters - getting ahold of these truths is extremely important to us GETTING ACQUAINTED WITH THE NEW YOU. We have to really see ourselves as NEW CREATIONS, with all these wonderful blessings that God has already provided for us - AND THEN LEARN HOW TO ACCESS THEM. We can’t access them until we really believe that they are already in our new spirits.
If the Apostle Paul was praying the way he was for the Ephesians, like we have been reading from the WORD OF GOD - and he was - we can see ourselves the same way. They were not more precious to the Lord than we are. But - it all works by faith. We have to become so ONE WITH THE LORD that we see ourselves like Paul saw those Ephesians. When we REALLY BECOME ACQUAINTED WITH (OR UNDERSTAND) WHO WE REALLY ARE IN CHRIST - EVERYTHING CHANGES.
Well - next week, we’re going to pick up where we left off here in Ephesians 1.
Let’s all have a GRACEFUL WEEK!!!!!
Scriptures for this lesson