OVER UNDER ANOINTING
Most of us have been overwhelmed at different times in our lives. Let me ask you, in your life are you underwhelmed? Overwhelmed: besieged, snowed under, inundated, beleaguered, weighed down, plagued, beset- positively it means that we have been overcome with power and delight and joy. Underwhelmed: the opposite of overwhelmed: unimpressed, blasé, trite, indifferent, apathetic, lethargic, unenthusiastic.
Paul wasn’t underwhelmed by Jesus in the least little bit. That’s why he says that: In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, 9 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. 11 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, 12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory (Ephesians 1:7-12). In Moses God is known and addressed as Jehovah, Yahweh & God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob… In Jesus God is known and addressed as Father. For in Moses we are only servants, in Christ we are Sons. In Moses we relate to God through what we do (our performance), in Christ we relate to God through what Jesus has done (finished work of the Cross). In Moses we have to do in order to get, in Christ we get because of what He did… ~ Andre v.d. Merwe (Charisma)
Paul’s response to the magnanimous work of the Spirit in him was to call for his readers (us) to join him in praising Jesus with unfettered joy because we have been liberated from sins bondage. The focus of his call is on three elements of the finished work of the Cross as grace expressions for us: Freedom for the Forgiven; the Furtive Nature of his Will; and Victorious Living.
FREEDOM FOR THE FORGIVEN
One of Jesus main tasks was as liberator: liberating us from the shackles of sin and the constraints sin places on us, as it obscures our vision of Heaven. Historically, Jesus was the advance guard who spearheaded a liberating army (Ephesians 1:7-8). He is our redeemer. When Paul addresses redemption, he uses the word apolutrosis, which means ransom payment to free a captive. We have been ransomed by His blood. To the Jewish believers this was significant, as blood and life were synonymous.
We were created originally to have unbridled fellowship with God. Redemption frees us to return to or ability to freely choose to love God, serve Him and to obey. Sin means transgression (paraptoma), which means to “fall aside,” getting off the path or going over the line of demarcation into a forbidden lane. The line would be areas we are called to walk in obedience like the 10 Words of Moses. By deliberately sinning, we have broken the Father’s heart. The work of Jesus was a preemptive strike to issue forgiveness and empowerment as he exonerated us. The same voice that said: “Father forgive them for they know not what they do,” says “you are free and loved now!”
Our reaction needs to be one that presses into this revelation and not to be quickly satisfied with what Jesus offers us and turn back. Backsliding or becoming lukewarm is when we willfully crawl back over the prison wall of the concentration camp of self control. Then we look longingly over the wall wishing the riches of His grace, “which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and understanding (v. 8),” was true for us. Holy Spirit inspired the word abound to describe the abundance we have in Jesus. Abound is a Cornucopia word in Scripture that is intended to imply a complete saturation of God’s goodness and grace, as He gives us an abundance of wisdom and prudence. Wisdom (sophia) as a grace expression or gift addresses the indwelling Spirit and the ability to understand the things of the Spirit that goes beyond human understanding. It enables us to know the plans and purposes of God as we discern His will. Spirit wisdom lets us innately understand that something’s like joy and being inebriated in the Spirit are really OK, even though outwardly it may look goofy.
Phronesis (prudence) is the application of this deeply seated wisdom that is birthed out of our relationship with Holy Spirit. God desires to give us an abundance of both. Impartation of this sort opens up the gates of the concentration camp and lets us walk away free from sin, self-centeredness, and pride. We have the gifts of wisdom and understanding for a purpose. We are loved, accepted and forgiven in order to be released into the wonder of the Kingdom. We have been enabled and equipped to become a member of a new family, the family of God.
FREEDOM OF MYSTERY
God has “made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, 9 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself (Ephesians 1:8-9).” Have you ever tried to describe to someone who is clueless about the power of Holy Spirit, what it is you have encountered? It’s hard, isn’t it? Some people may think you have lost the ability to be rational and reasonable. Paul tells us we know the mystery. A mystery in this sense means you know because you have experience. In other words, you are part of the inner circle.
All of the mystery is tied to a single word: one(ness). The strategy of Heaven is to unify us with our potential self, the person our self-hatred, sin and despair has separated us from. This is what reconciliation is all about unifying us in love and forgiveness as our spirit is made alive by the invasion of His Spirit. This was the intent of Jesus prayer on the eve of the crucifixion, “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me (John 17:20-23). Jesus prayed confidently trusting in the Father, then He went to the Cross in order to answer the prayer He prayed. This is what the mystery is all about, God is at work through the present, living, reigning Christ to accomplish His work as we cooperate with Him.
FREED FOR PURPOSE
Verse 12 is a statement of our vocation: that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. Being goes before doing. We have been ransomed and released and empowered to be praise. We don’t just give praise, we are praise. What does this mean? It means we are to live a faith life that expresses our praise and that instigates praise in others. You were meant to be a living demonstration of Jesus praise on earth. We do this by blowing the caps off of our constraints as we walk in the gift of the sealing that uncorks us.
Ephesians 1:13-14 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, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory. A seal that is subsequent to salvation. Seals were used to indicate ownership. They were impressions made using hot wax. John 6:27 lets us see the spiritual significance of this sealing, as we look at His, 27 Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him. Jesus is referring to His Jordan experience in Matthew 3, When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. 17 And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased (16-17). This time of empowerment was the moment of authentication and affirmation, You are my Son!” This sealing led to a promise for us in John 7:37-39, On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” 39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
Being sealed with Holy Spirit confirms that we belong to Jesus. Being sealed allows us to be conformed into the image of Jesus. Being sealed brings us to the place of conflagration! It says we belong! It says our ultimate place of residence is Heaven, but until we arrive, we can bring some of heaven to earth! With the seal of God pressed into our soul making alive our spirit, we should expect changes to occur in our character, thinking values and goals as we become increasingly like the One who placed His mark of ownership on us. That seal then brings zeal as we have made ready for anything through His grace.
CONCLUSION Overwhelmed or underwhelmed… that is our ultimate question and our real purpose in the world. Do we overwhelm the world with the goodness of Jesus, or do we express an underwhelming life?
Lukewarm people: attend church fairly regularly
Lukewarm people: give money to charity & the church as long as it doesn’t hurt lifestyle
Lukewarm people: chose the popular over right in conflict
Lukewarm people: don’t want to be saved from sin, only sins penalty
Lukewarm people: moved by stories of radical commitment, but wont personally act
Lukewarm people: rarely share their faith
Lukewarm people: say they love Jesus but only accept Him into part of their lives
Lukewarm people: love God with limitations
Lukewarm people: love others but do not try to love others as much as they love themselves
Lukewarm people: serve God & others, but limit their time, energy & money
Lukewarm people: do whatever is necessary to keep from feeling guilty
Lukewarm people: constantly concerned with playing it safe: slaves to control
Lukewarm people: do not live by faith; their life structure allows them not too
Lukewarm people: probably drink & swear less than average, but otherwise not much different