HARD OF HEARING
The whispers of the LORD are hard to hear at times. How many of us fail to hear the LORD say to us: “You are really loved right now,” when we under fire during a trial or hardship? It’s hard to receive comfort and assurance when things are tough, or our when past makes it hard to accept love, acceptance and forgiveness.
The words ”you are loved” are bad enough, but when you add really… right now, it can cause trouble in our hearts. It’s easy to be like Francis Chan and accept a stern view of God based on our own dad. It’s hard to accept the loving and gracious Father we really have in God. Yet He is always whispering to us that He loves us, that there is abundant grace available for us, and that He is always ready to bless us in the midst of life struggles.
Jesus is God’s prevenient grace personified. Prevenient is a theological word that speaks about the magnanimous love of God toward us before we were saved, But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). That my friends, is grace beforehand. Grace is the love of God demonstrated on our behalf in Jesus. The beforehand dimension of God lets us in on the secret of Heaven: God isn’t mad at us! He loves us! That is the message Heaven shouts but sin reduces to a whisper.
This same grace and love exhibits itself in us and through us as a divine initiative, as He burrows deeper and deeper into our hearts and lives to initiate the depth of His love through us relationally. When our life situation seems bleak due to sin, failure problems or other pressure points, at times we try to make things work out in our own strength instead of resting in God’s grace. Big mistake. At times we try to act differently or to be better in order to atone for our wrong actions. We blame shift.
Isn’t it funny how God loves to creep up on us during those times and whack us over the head with His goodness by fulfilling His prophetic Word, My elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands… It shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear (Isaiah 65:22, 24)?
Inexhaustible Grace: Listen, never ever think God has given up on you or that there is just a certain amount of His favor or grace that you can tap into. You will never diminish His supply of love toward you. To say that your failure and your prayers affect His measure of grace toward you is like trying to drain the Pacific Ocean with a Teaspoon. There are 70 million cubic miles of water in the Pacific, which equates to 187,189,915,062,857,142,857 gallons, (187 quintillion gallons of water in all the Pacific Ocean, which is 5.91960578 x 10^22 teaspoons. Wow!! That’s a lot of water. That’s a lot of teaspoons. In other words, quit beating yourself up and quit your pity party!
Jesus offers us inexhaustible or superabundant grace. This is what John was talking about when he wrote: and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth… and of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace (John 1:14, 16). The word “for” in v.16, grace for grace is anti in Greek and means in substitution or superseding. John is using it as superseding, which means the Father’s grace in the OT is the same as in the NT. He has always been active bringing us to Himself, culminating in Resurrection/Pentecostal power to act like Him as we relate to Him.
Anti can also means upon. Grace upon grace: He has acted in history and He acts in our history, filling us, equipping us, blessing us, leading us to overcome as we walk through the trials this life throws at us. His grace is all sufficient, And He said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me (1 Corinthians 12:9). The word sufficient means more than adequate. It implies a fitting grace. In other words, charis that is equal to the challenge for you as you lean into Him. Jesus knows exactly what you have need of, and grace that is perfectly fitted to need is designed to bring peace. Because grace is what Jesus is, peace happens.
Grace as Blessing Paul wanted the Ephesians to know and understand their inheritance of grace, because grace is the gateway for blessing, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). This where our security comes from. Security comes from Latin, se=without and cura=worry/care. Being secure means we live without fear, worry or care as we face the insecurities of life. It means we have a root that runs deeper than this life.
This is important, as everyone of us has a security shaped hole inside our heart that needs to be filled with God’s manifest grace and blessing. Understanding this truth helps us to draw upon our inheritance in Christ with freedom and delight. We are blessed people who are capable of demonstrating the fullness of the Kingdom. Before Jesus, Paul was a belligerent, swaggering, arrogant Pharisee who had a blessing hole in his heart. After Jesus, he was able to write to the Romans that, But I know that when I come to you, I shall come in the fullness of the blessing of the gospel[a] of Christ (Romans 15:29). Nothing had been left out of this blessing. His security in the Father allowed Paul to do things that would normally bring absolute insecurity.
We, like Paul, were never intended to live without this blessing. Without it, we will live turbulent lives filled with anxiety, worry and trepidation. We will grow introverted and hide behind a false shield of bravado, hiding our insecurities within. Paul wanted the Ephesians to know with certainty that the Father came through Jesus to adopt men and women into His family as sons and daughters.
This truth is powerful friends, as it is intended to take our hearts and brains and wrap them around the central fact of Christianity: we are blessed people. He fills us with His Spirit to manifest this blessing that is found in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. This what being forgiven and without blame brings our way. Hear the Father say: “you are my beloved son/my beloved daughter.” You are mine, mine, mine.”
We are blessed as adopted children. God chose to chooses us. In Ephesus, if a man wanted to adopt a son and have that son take his name, he had to go in front of a magisterial judge three times over the years in order to ensure that the son really wanted to be his. The word for adoption is huiosthesia in Greek, which means son (huios) placement (thesis).
You are the good pleasure of His will. He made a way for you to know Him before the foundations of the earth.
Kingdom & the World
· Yet: Greatest good cannot be found at creations level
· Mark 8:36-Profits nothing to gain the whole world (cosmos) & lose the soul For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?
· Kingdom seeking is the #1 priority
· God blesses through His creation
· Balance needs to exist between the two
· A new commission has been given
· Matthew 10:7, 8 And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ 8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give
· Holy Spirit has been given John 20:22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit
· Empowerment has been achieved: But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth Acts 1:8
· The Kingdom is supernatural
· It is the dynamic activity of God
· It is God’s benevolent deed to us