GETTING ACQUAINTED WITH THE NEW YOU
Well, our class is called, “Growing Older Gracefully,” and there are all kinds of topics and verses in the Word of God to help us with this. We started this particular topic a few weeks ago because, unless we really see ourselves the way God sees us, and begin to really get ahold of what He has already given us and done for us, we will struggle with all kinds of things in our lives - and that prevents us from living GRACEFULLY. We talked for a few weeks about what GRACE really is and that is really important. But, we also have to truly understand what God has already done for us - otherwise, we live our lives just trying to figure out how to get our prayers answered and have any success in our lives, like the Bible tells us about. Our new life in Christ doesn’t begin when we finally get to Heaven - it begins in our lives NOW while we’re here in these bodies - BUT WE HAVE TO REALLY BELIEVE THAT WE ARE NEW CREATIONS - AND WE HAVE TO UNDERSTAND WHAT HE HAS ALREADY DONE FOR US - WHO WE REALLY ARE NOW.
Now - last week, we ended in verse 18 of Ephesians 1 - so we’re going back there today. So - I read it last week but I’m going to read it again today - 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.” So - just to remind us about this - this verse of Scripture is saying that Paul was praying for the Ephesians, that the eyes of THEIR understanding would be enlightened so they could really get a PICTURE on the inside of what God wanted them to see concerning His will, and to see it on the inside before it was visible on the outside in the physical world. He was asking for them to be enlightened to the point that they would get a handle on what it really means to be a child of God and live in His inheritance - bringing glory to the LORD GOD ALMIGHTY!
We talked about imagination and hope being closely related - about the ‘eyes of your understanding’ being you being able to see on the inside the end result before you see it in the physical world, which is imagination. I talked about Hebrews 11:1 - about faith giving substance to things hoped for. The Lord has a plan that works. He helps us ‘through the eyes of our understanding’, picture (or imagine) what that which we are praying and believing for looks like - and then our faith (trusting in His promises) gives substance to that which we were picturing (or imagining). Of course, it must be God’s will. You can’t expect that to work when you are desiring something that God doesn’t agree with.
Remember, the inheritance that is within us is His inheritance. All of these wonderful blessings came through His Holiness, not ours - and it remains in us because of His faithfulness, not ours.
Now - I’m going to read Ephesians 1:19-21 all together and then kind of go through them individually, because they’re all in one sentence and are deeply connected. (19) “and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power (20) which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, (21) far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.”
Paul was praying that believers would get a revelation of the power that we already have - the same power that raised Christ from the dead. Now, think personally about this for a moment. Every single person who has received Jesus as Savior and, therefore, been BORN AGAIN, has raising from the dead power inside. The problem is that few people believe that. It’s not in our flesh - or in our souls (where our mind, will, and emotions are) - IT’S IN OUR BORN AGAIN SPIRITS - AND WE HAVE TO BELIEVE THAT AND ACTUALLY BEGIN TO OPERATE IN THAT POWER BY ACCESSING THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT THAT IT TALKS ABOUT IN GALATIANS 5:22-23. It says this: “But the fruit of the Spirit is LOVE, JOY, PEACE, LONGSUFFERING, KINDNESS, GOODNESS, FAITHFULNESS, GENTLENESS, SELF-CONTROL. AGAINST SUCH THERE IS NO LAW.” By the way, when it says, “Against such there is no law,” it is meaning that there are no laws which speak against people who live in this way.
As a born again child of God, we have in our new spirits, all the power to live our life the way Jesus lived His life here on the earth. BUT WE HAVE TO BELIEVE IT. AND WE HAVE TO ACCESS IT. It’s not in OUR STRENGTH, OR OUR GOODNESS, OR ANYTHING ELSE IN OUR HUMAN INDIVUALITY - IT’S IN GOD’S POWER IN US - THE PART OF US WHICH IS A NEW CREATION.
Brothers and sisters, these verses are actually saying that we have the same power in us that raised Christ from the dead. Now all of us have read the Gospel stories about Jesus raising Lazarus and others from the dead but most of us have not really thought about us actually being involved in that kind of miracle. Well - I feel like the Lord wants me to share this story with you.
Most of you know that I was in the pastoral ministry with my husband for many years. We pastored two little churches in the mountains of Colorado - then moved back to Kansas City, Mo., our hometown. We started our own church. We had begun to grow. The Lord had given me my assignment - I was to teach the Word in as simple way to understand as possible - not just doctrine - but down to the nitty gritty - like ‘how you do it’. I was teaching a women’s weekly Bible class and it was growing. Through a miracle (which was a man coming with his wife to the class and sitting in the back away from all the women - then after about 3 or 4 weeks, coming up to me and saying, “You need to be on Christian radio - if you’ll do it, I’ll pay for it.”) - I went on KCCV (Kansas City,’s Christian Voice) and lots of people started coming to our church. I was asked to speak at lots of different places. My husband and I, at times, did what we called, ‘team teaching’.
Then, we began to listen to a guy on the radio, named Andrew Wommack. (He wasn’t on TV yet - just radio.) We loved his method of teaching and we really began to get a lot of understanding from the Word of God. After listening to him for quite a long time, we got ahold of him and invited him to come to our church.
So - he came!!!! We had quite a big turnout - way more than usual. People were there that we had never met. Now our building, which we had purchased (another miracle story), which had been a school and we had turned it into a church, didn’t have bathrooms on the first floor where the church services were held. You had to go up some stairs. A man named John Taylor and his wife were there, and, while Andrew was teaching, John had to go up the stairs to the bathroom. While he was coming down the stairs, he was on the last step down - and he fell down on the floor! He wasn’t responding. We had some guys there who were ‘First Responders’ and they kept testing him and saying that he was dead. I remember standing there looking at him, and praying. Andrew was informed and began to speak to John Taylor’s body and telling it what it had to do. We were all in agreement with Andrew.
After awhile, all of a sudden, John opened his eyes and smiled at everybody and, of course, got up and hugged his wife. He truly was raised from the dead. Boy of boy - did we have a praise party!!!!! John Taylor traveled with Andrew for several months and gave his testimony at Andrew’s meetings. He said that he was before the Lord in heaven and the Lord told him, “You’re going to go back for now - Look down there - see all those people praying for you and speaking life into your body - I’m going to send you back for now and I’ll bring you back to Me later on.”
John truly had a testimony that helped people really believe. He has since gone to be with the Lord - this time forever. I have to say that the whole experience of John Taylor dying and then coming back to life, as Andrew and others of we believers prayed and used the authority that God has given us through the power that He has placed inside our born again spirits, gave me a whole new insight about what God has given us and what He desires for us to do!
Of course, I had read and heard about ‘raising from the dead power’, and I had read the stories in the Bible, but, like most Christians, I had never been around anything like that and just figured it was for super saints or unique people or situations. That was a life-changing experience for many of us that day.
I have kept in contact with Andrew Wommack for years and have been to some conferences of his down here in Orlando. I have gotten to talk with him for a little bit. I have most of his books
The Lord urged me to share that testimony with you because He wants all of us to realize that we all, every single one of us, are special to Him. He wants us to realize that He can use each one of us in all kinds of ways but we have to really believe that all of this power and blessing has been already placed inside of us in our spirits.
We’re all unique - so our lives are going to be unique also. A lot of His ability to use us is connected to us getting a handle on what actually happened to us at the new birth. I, myself, have SOAKED in these verses in Ephesians 1 - reading them, pondering on them - telling the Lord I want the eyes of my understanding enlightened so that I can see what He wants me to do and what He has already placed within me - telling Him that I want to see myself and other people the way He sees them. I have told Him that I really want to see life here from His point of view - not from a personal attitude that is all about me - what I like, what I want, and on and on.
Now - did you get that in verse 21, where it talked about Christ being seated in heavenly places, “far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named.” This is showing us that THE NAME OF JESUS IS ABOVE ALL OTHER POWER. This is showing us that those of us who are in Christ - have been given authority over all the wiles of the devil. We’re not to beg God to do something about the bad stuff brought on by the principalities, and power, and might, and dominion here on this earth - we are to use our power. BUT WE HAVE TO BELIEVE IT!!!!!!
Now - we’re going on to the next verses - Ephesians 1:22-23 - “And he put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, Which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” Now - close your eyes for a minute - and picture Jesus Christ sitting on His throne in heaven. You see His head - and then you see the rest of His body! These two verses are making it quite clear that we are to see ourselves (the church) as HIS BODY.
Paul was led by the the Lord to write these words to give us a picture as to how we are to see ourselves in this world. WE ARE THE BODY OF CHRIST! Jesus went back to heaven but He is the HEAD of the church - and we are the BODY. He is there - but He is connected to every person who is born again and, all it takes is for us to get ahold of this truth and begin to ACCESS WHAT HE HAS ALREADY GIVEN US BY COMMUNICATING WITH THE HEAD - JESUS CHRIST!
Now - think about this - your own head dictates and controls your own physical body! You think before you stand up, sit down, walk, talk, run, sing, laugh, pray, clap your hands, eat, cry, and on and on. In that very same way, Jesus Christ, the head of the church has given us all we need in our spirit - and all it takes is for us to surrender to Him. He will not make us do anything - we have free will - we yield ourselves to Him and receive His power, His love, His self-control, and on and on.
Now think about something. Just as a ship is not complete without its crew, Jesus Christ has chosen to be incomplete without His church (HIS BODY FILLED WITH HIMSELF)!!!!!!!
Brothers and Sisters - this is the way God wants us to see ourselves. We are His Church - His Body - and He has planned this whole way of doing things from the very beginning.
Now I’ve referred to those first century Christians many times - but we really need to remember how they lived their lives after they were born again. It’s important to read the book of Acts and center in on the stories of the way they lived their lives after the death and resurrection of Jesus. They determined they were going to let the world know about the SAVIOR. They were willing to keep on living like Jesus, teaching and preaching like Jesus, healing and helping like Jesus - even if it meant they were going to be put to death. Now we live in a different culture now - things are a bit different than they were then. But- brothers and sisters - the devil - Satan and all his helpers - are still extremely active in this world to try to destroy any and every thing that has to do with THE LORD GOD ALMIGHTY. IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT THAT WE UNDERSTAND AND TRULY BELIEVE THIS PORTION OF SCRIPTURE IF WE WANT TO WALK IN A VICTORIOUS LIFE. Some of those first century Christians were singing praises to the Lord while they were being murdered in all kinds of awful ways, because they were Christians.
God didn’t love them more than He loves us. We just have to get ahold of these truths like they did. We have to see ourselves as HIS BODY here on the earth - therefore, we see ourselves (as a body) doing what the Head (Jesus) tells us to do - in other words, we are to bring His will into the earth. BUT WE HAVE TO BE IN COMMUNICATION WITH THE HEAD TO KNOW WHAT TO DO, WHEN TO DO IT, HOW TO DO IT - AND TO WALK THROUGH ANYTHING WITH THE PEACE OF GOD FILLING OUR BEING.
Now, think about our brother, Paul, who wrote this. He spent all those years as a No. 1 Pharisee of the Pharisees. He spent his life, previously, trying to do away with Christians. He hurt them, had them killed, put in prison, and anything else possible to get rid of them. He was ‘anti-Christ’ to the max. He felt very important and saw himself as a very important religious leader in the world of that day. THEN HE HAD AN ENCOUNTER WITH JESUS! I’m sure that some of the Christians had a hard time, at first, seeing him as a Christian. Perhaps some of them were watching him closely to see if he really was changed. Don’t you know that he had to see himself differently. He was pretty used to his life and way of doing and seeing things. He was used to being respected as a Pharisee of the Pharisees.
HE IS THE ONE WHO WROTE THESE WORDS WE HAVE BEEN STUDYING. DON’T YOU KNOW THAT HE HAD TO SEE HIMSELF DIFFERENTLY!!!!
PAUL HAD TO BECOME ACQUAINTED WITH THE NEW PAUL - JUST LIKE WE HAVE TO BECOME ACQUAINTED WITH THE NEW CREATION THAT WE ARE.
The way we do that is by taking in the words written in the New Testament by some of the first NEW CREATIONS.
Now, I want to talk about that - TAKING IN THE WORD! We are all unique - we all come from different backgrounds, with different habit patterns, different family traditions, different ways of thinking. Some of us have always been readers - some of us have not. I have always been a reader. I really don’t understand all the details of why some are and some aren’t. But I do remember things from my youth. One of the things I have always loved to do is read. From those first years of school, learning to read, I loved, loved, loved it.
As I have said before, my Daddy took me to the library, every two weeks, and I would go in and take back the books that I had read, and got more books. When my baby sister, Linda, was born, and then my baby brother, Stewart, my Daddy built another bedroom in our house, above the kitchen and breakfast room. He built it for me and my sister to share - and my brother had the one we had been in.
Man oh man - did I love that!!! One of the reasons I loved it so much was this. Since I had had a crossed eye since I was 18 months old, and didn’t have much vision out of that eye, my parents had been afraid that I would overdue and wear out my good eye. When they saw me reading for a long time, they would ask me to rest my eye. BUT NOW - I was upstairs in my bedroom and nobody could see me reading unless they came upstairs. Oh how I loved our new bedroom. Nobody was keeping an eye on me reading. I felt free to enjoy the thing I loved to do - READ!!!!!!
I was very careful about the books that I brought home from the library. I read a lot of the books written by the then-well-known authors. I felt like I got to know them well.
I was born again when I was 13 and I really did begin to read the Bible more then than ever before. I struggled with the wording in the King James Bible - but, in those days, that was pretty much the only translation that was used much - especially in our Baptist church. I loved the stories from the Gospels - Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John because they told me about Jesus.
Now I know that not everybody is a reader like that but I really am grateful that I got so used to reading in my early years because it’s still that way with me. I still love to read Christian books, especially when the authors give their own stories about how they learned about God in their lives. Of course, most of you already know this, but it led to me writing and publishing 6 Christian books - Journey in Grace, Choosing for a Change, Coming Out of the Cocoon, From Darkness to Light, Living in the Light, and Teachings to Help You.
I’m saying all this to encourage every single one of us to make it a daily habit pattern to be in His Word. It’s okay to read translations that are a little easier to understand. Pastor Gary has been teaching a lot from The Passion Translation. I have a bunch of different translations, including that one. Sometimes I look verses up in several different translations to really get a handle on the meaning. It is extremely important to read the Bible every day. Yes, it’s important to get knowledge about everything - but, truly, I believe the most important thing is to really GET ACQUAINTED WITH THE WAY OUR WONDERFUL FATHER GOD THINKS, ACTS, LOVES AND ON AND ON.
Think of it this way! When you have a friend, the way you really get to know that person, is by spending time visiting with that person. That way, you get to understand them, why they do things a certain way, why they like specific kinds of things and dislike others, and what they are really like - down deep on the inside. That is the way it is with FATHER GOD, JESUS CHRIST HIS SON, AND THE HOLY SPIRIT - THE TRIUNE DEITY! For 73 years, I have been getting to know Him better and better by reading His Word. It reveals to me what this wonderful God Almighty is really like and what He has done for us. I have learned that we just continue to learn and learn and learn. It’s not just about getting information about the world (although we do get that) but it’s mostly getting an understanding about WHO HE REALLY IS, WHAT HE HAS TRULY DONE FOR US, HOW POWERFUL HIS LOVE IS FOR US - AND ON AND ON AND ON! By the way, as I’ve said many times before, I believe that HIS LOVE IS THE STRONGEST FORCE IN THE UNIVERSE!!!!
Spending time talking with Him is important also, but the Lord seemed to impress upon me to encourage us all to make it a habit pattern in our lives to read the Word every day. It is one of the powerful ways to GET ACQUAINTED WITH THE NEW YOU. And, as you do, you will find yourself living a more graceful life than ever before.
There are many reasons why we need to live a graceful life - but I just have to say that, the world we are living in today is getting further and further away from any and every thing to do with God. I’m very careful with what news I watch on TV - mostly Fox news. And it just breaks my heart to see and hear about many people all over our country who are AGAINST ISRAEL. This war that is going on there with Hamas just breaks my heart. I have been to Israel twice and I have such wonderful memories of all the places we visited - Jerusalem (at the Western Wall, THE EMPTY TOMB, and up and down the streets), the Mount of Olives, the Sea of Galilee, the Dead Sea, and on and on. On top of that, I remember how kind and loving the Jewish people were to us, everywhere we went. They knew we were Christians - but I have to say, deep within me, I knew it was about more than them just making money off us - it was about the fact that both them and we all worship the same God - the Only God - Yahweh Adonai!!!!!
It appears to me that we, THE BODY OF CHRIST, need to be in communication with our FATHER GOD AND HAVE UNDERSTANDING ABOUT HIM THROUGH HIS WORD, more than ever before, so that He can use us in these days. Just because we’re getting older, doesn’t mean that we are unusable - NO - WE’VE GOT MORE DAILY TIME AVAILABLE TO US THAN ALL THE YOUNGER CHRISTIANS HAVE. WE NEED TO BE READY.
SO - LET’S GET REALLY, REALLY, REALLY ACQUAINTED WITH THIS NEW PERSON THAT WE ARE NOW - THE NEW CREATION. IT WILL REALLY HELP US GROW OLDER GRACEFULLY.
Scriptures for this lesson