SENT TO BECOME SPIRITUAL SPENDTHRIFTS
At times we never seem to enough of one and too much of the other
Our management of our resources can be an immense blessing or a nightmarish curse
Question: Have you ever heard of a spendthrift? Do you even know what a spendthrift is?
Definition: Someone who uses money with excessive freedom, lavish, unrestrained
For most of us with our limited resources, excessive spending poses a problem… but wouldn’t it be fun?
Well I have some good news for you: you too can be a spendthrift!
It happens when you tap into and begin utilizing the unlimited resources that are at your disposal through Jesus!
This is an extension of John 7:38, He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water
Just imagine with me for a moment… you are given unlimited power-limitless resources-all to be used without fear: when you become completely abandoned to Jesus
You may ask: “Pastor, how do I do this?” The answer to the question and the acquisition of the key is found in Ephesians 4:1-6, I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, 2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, 3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
I love listening to Ephesians message. It’s a powerful voice. In Chapters 1-3 Paul describes our position as believers for us in order to help us grasp our identity.
Beginning in Chapter 4, Paul transitions in his focus, as he starts to describe our responsibilities and our practices as members of the sainthood
Scripture is telling us what it really means to be the called, the appointed and the cherished people of God
The absolute of the beauty of this revelation is the way he accomplishes his task in my opinion, as he expounds upon every day, common aspects of living life with its myriad of experiences (Ephesians 4:1)
This is the point: Paul the Apostle of Faith, lived his life in the most abject, miserable and difficult circumstances we could imagine
Paul exhorts us to walk. What does he mean by walk? He is addressing our manner of life/lifestyle as believers
He is telling us to be Christ-like or “Christly”
To be a spiritual spendthrift means we are taking a walk in the abundant life and we are become Christly as a resultant effect. Become a seeker of Jesus presence instead of becoming a chaser of miracles and power. The miraculous and His power are only found in His presence.
Look at the POSTURE WE ARE WALKING FROM
I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called… I therefore urge… Therefore… a transition or change is happening
Paul is changing his focus… he is no longer waxing eloquent or extrapolating theologically
Now he’s getting down to the nitty-gritty, rubber road position of the faith
Paul is reading our mail and telling us our address, our street, number, Town, State, and Zip Code
What is this position/address? We live in the goodness and grace of our LORD
Let me take a moment to say that Paul describes this best in another Book: Romans\The first eleven chapters talk about grace; the final five address grace enacted (Romans 12:1)
Before we are encouraged to walk, Paul tells us the position we are rising to walk in
Watchman Nee once said that it is “from the sitting position of receiving, we rise and take our first steps”
I remember William and Garrett learning to walk: scooting, crawling, pulling, dragging… then almost miraculously… the first tentative steps, then walking, running… now there’s no stopping them!
That my friends, is how it is for us in the Spirit! The rebirth is our beginning point, then learning followed by discipleship, ministry, and all the rest that should follow
It’s called growth!
That’s the magnificence of the message of faith: Jesus calls us, takes us as we are and changes us into what we should be from His perspective
THE POSTURE WE WALK IN (4:2-6) IN & FROM
2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, 3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
Again, the posture we are to walk in is to be Christly
We are to: look like Jesus, act like Jesus, speak like Jesus, heal like Jesus, uplift like Jesus, free people like Jesus, ___________ like Jesus (get the picture?) Servants will never be greater than the master… Be Like Jesus!
This Christ Spirit filled, Christ Spirit empowered life has a posture that is expressed in five (5) easily identifiable qualities: walking in humility, being gentle, being patient, becoming long-suffering (fore-bearing), and becoming an agent of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:19). Those are the genetic markers of a real believer
As much as we want to focus on the big, powerful expressions, these functions of the heart are what make us effective Kingdom residents.
We are to walk in humility or lowliness
Early Christians coined the word humility by borrowing a very negative, derogatory word from the Greek language
They took a swear word and made something beautiful out of it as they turned what was base and defiled into something good
The word humility is given new meaning in the light of Jesus… good out of bad (like us)
Real, authentic Christian humility means to see yourself in the light of God’s love
A human view of humility is very much like something President Harry Truman once said: “Listen, I want you all to know I’m here by accident. I know from where I came, I know where I’m going back too.”
That’s the world’s perspective. Here’s the Heavenly vantage point: “I’m not here by accident. I’m alive by the grace of God! I know from where I’ve come, and I know the person I’m becoming!” Hallelujah!
Yes Virginia, I know the pit I crawled out of… know I know the heights Jesus has destined me to achieve!
Real humility isn’t dwelling on your inadequacies, it’s learning to bask in the Glory of God, using the gifts and resources (talents) He has given us
Can we take credit for their existence? No! Are we called to use them? Yes!
We are to use our resources freely, with abandonment as we give Him glory!
Let me address another factor concerning humility: the biblical posture of humility is always marked by receptivity
A humble person is always grateful and receptive of whatever the LORD gives you
Non-humble people generally act like they are self made
(2) The second step in the walk of faith is gentleness or meekness
Aristotle once defined gentleness as the difference between to much or too little anger
It’s the middle ground between over indulgence and under indulgence
Gentleness is power that is directed, it is power that is under control
That’s why Jesus is the ultimate example of gentleness/meekness
As Jesus walked among us, He was a true spiritual spendthrift: unlimited resources released!
Even after being seized, beaten and crucified, “Father forgiven them… they know not what they do”
So what, that was then, this is now. Now what?
Now Jesus recruits us to be spendthrifts as He looks for the meek and the humble… people who are willing to be under His control
(3) Next step: Patience or long suffering as some translators identify it
Christians who are Christly know the shortness of time and the length of eternity
This is the driving force behind our good works, our evangelistic drive: Jesus has extended grace to us, now we dot the same to others
Jesus has called you to be a compassionate person, extending grace when others fail. Why? Because Jesus has been compassionate toward you when you have failed Him
You are called to be gentle to those who are hurting, because Jesus was/is gentle to you when hurt
When we look into someone else’s heart with Jesus eyes, Jesus intends for us to become spiritual spendthrifts concerning Jesus’ feelings, Jesus pain, Jesus anguish over them and their condition
We can only do this by experiencing Jesus love
You cannot love the difficult and love to forgive until you realize this simple truth: the more love and forgiveness you give away, the more love and forgiveness you will be given to give away
You cannot out give Jesus! The more you give, the more He blesses!
The more you abandon yourself, the more He lavishes/slathers you with: Himself!
Understand this friends: you give God great pleasure when you give away His love!
(4) The next element of the Christly spendthrift walk is forbearance (bearing with one another)
The Greek word is an-echo, which means to hold up… not like a hold up in Flint or Detroit… it means lifting up or carrying
The noun is an-oche (not someone from Arkansas) it means to hold back and it relates to holding back judgment
This points out two really significant aspects of our ability to minister:
1) We are to lift people up and help them carry their burdens
2) We are to hold back judgment by our witness and our presence
The we are to walk out the ministry of reconciliation (v.3) keeping the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace
Because we have been reconciled to Jesus, we have the capacity to be reconciled with others
Reconciliation produces the fruit of forgiveness as it creates peace between people
The key to becoming a forgiving person is to appropriate the position of the forgiven over and over
Everything Paul said, everything Paul wrote had a goal in mind: to make us Christly… in our relationships, in our position in the grace of God… in our posture as we move toward exhibiting these five (5) qualities of the believer: humility, gentleness, patience, forbearance, and reconciliation
With that said, let me let you on heaven’s perspective and secret concerning their enactment: the key to seeing these traits manifest in you isn’t contingent on your labor or effort alone. We succeed by letting Jesus live through us! It is us becoming Galatians 5:25 “If we live in the Spirit, let us walk in the Spirit!” The real priority of all ministry is HIS story, not our ministry.
Let the limitless power of the Christ engulf you in your walk with Him, as you let Him: impact your home, your marriage, your friendships, your job, wherever, whenever, whatever!
Everything about you and around you should be different. Why? Because you are different!
As the old Hymn ‘Trust and Obey’ says: “When we walk with the LORD, in the light of His Word, oh what glory He sheds on the way! When we do His good will, He abides with us still, and with all who will trust and obey.”