Being Salt and Light in Ocean View, HI

Becoming Like Jesus – Part 2 Midweek Study with Bob

hey folks it’s good to be with you again this week to open god’s word together i am also excited for the opportunity to finally meet in person once again when we come together at the church property on june 7th it has been far too long last week we spent quite a bit of time in the book of ephesians looking at the that we as christians receive from god in order to be able to live a life that is pleasing to god and that brings him honor and glory yet as we looked at those things we had to acknowledge that in spite of the blessings that are ours the resources that are ours in christ we often fail to appropriate those blessings to have our walk match our calling and it is clear that god’s desire is for our walk to reflect our new nature that nature that he has given us the ability to be righteous the ability to be good and not reflect our old nature remember what we read last week in ephesians 42 excuse me 422 and following that in reference to your former manner of life you lay aside the old self which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind and put on the new self which in the likeness of god has been created in righteousness and holiness so how do we put on this new self how do we become transformed into the very image of christ beloved this should be and needs to be the goal of every believer of everyone who follows after jesus listen again to the words of ephesians 3 14 paul’s prayer to god on our behalf for this reason i bow my knees before the father from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name that he would grant you according to the riches of his glory to be strengthened with power through his spirit in the inner man in order that christ may dwell in your hearts through faith in order that you being rooted and grounded in love may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth and to know the love of christ which surpasses knowledge in order that you may be filled up to all the fullness of god now to him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works within us to him be the glory in the church and in christ jesus to all generations forever and ever amen now it is interesting to note that verse 14 is not part of paul’s actual prayer it speaks to the reason for his prayer when we see the phrase for this reason it should lead us to ask the question for what reason or when we see a word like therefore we should ask what for or why for what is it referring us to beloved let me remind you some things about the word of god if i may some things about the bible it is the autobiography of god himself in it he reveals the truth about his own nature and character and about the nature and character of man he shows us his great role as creator of all that is he unfolds before us his eternal plan and purpose and man’s place in it he opens up and addresses the great questions of mankind who am i what is the meaning of life how should i live what is my place in this world and the community around me questions like what is death and what comes after in his word we are given instruction for living in a way that is pleasing to god and satisfying to our souls remember what jesus says in john 10 i came that they may have life and have it abundantly there is nothing in god’s word that is unnecessary or accidental there is nothing in his word that is an error all of god’s word weaves a tapestry a picture of the infinite creator god and his desires and will for his people it presents narratives that provide examples for us to follow and examples for us to avoid it presents arguments that enhance and enlighten our understanding of god and the world around us and paul at the end of his life in ministry reminds timothy of this that all scripture is inspired by god and profitable for teaching for reproof for correction for training in righteousness so it is also our handbook our manual for the christian life why am i saying all of this simply put i would just encourage you to hold the word of god with great reverence and great respect i would ask that when you open it you seek to look into it deeply and find out what god is saying and why enter into your time in the word prayerfully asking god for wisdom and insight so that you can take away the very things that god has put before us for our understanding and our edification so with that in mind let us return to our text when we see the phrase for this reason we want to know what the reason was generally it’s going to be found in the preceding verses sometimes after typically in the preceding verses in this instance however you have to go to the end of chapter 2 to see what paul is referring to you see paul was intending to start his prayer in verse 1 of chapter 3. take a look you’ll see it starts with the very same phrase for this reason but paul finds he gets so wrapped up in the astounding truth that god was expanding his kingdom to include the gentiles that he just had to spend some time talking about it he his thoughts then return to the prayer that he wants to pray in verse 14. so what does the end of chapter two talk about what is the reason hear what is said there so then you are no longer strangers and aliens but you are fellow citizens with the saints and are of god’s household having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets christ jesus himself being the cornerstone in whom the whole building being fitted together is growing into a holy temple in the lord in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of god in the spirit that’s the reason he writes this prayer he says this prayer see we are being fit together into something holy the very dwelling place of god it speaks of a shaping and a building and a setting of stones it is not something that is accomplished in an instant in time but through a process of continual growth and refinement understand this because it’s very easy to desire an instant fix to our spiritual problems a push-button spirituality now don’t get me wrong god can heal in a moment he can in his will and providence removed from our lives a debilitating sin or an addiction in a moment and we do receive justification that way we are forgiven and freed from the penalty of sin in an instant in time when we relinquish our will and ways to the lordship of jesus trusting in his sacrifice and atonement but sanctification becoming like christ that is a process so with this in mind paul prays that god would oversee and energize that process and what is the first step that he would grant you according to the riches of his glory to be strengthened with power through his spirit in the inner man that is the starting point [Music] and let me share with you one of the first things i notice the author of the process is god not man we already saw that in earlier studies our sanctification our becoming like christ is fundamentally a work of god but if that is true then is it a deficiency in god that hinders us from becoming like jesus beloved the riches of god’s glory are without limit his power is without limit and his love for us is without limit so if we find ourselves lacking strength in the inner man understand that it is due not to a deficiency in god but a deficiency in ourselves so what is the inner man and how does the spirit of god empower it the inner man is the seat of our intellect our affections and our will just put it another way it is who we are and what we think about when no one else is around for believers it includes that new nature that god imparts upon our conversion the desire to please him yet it also includes the echoes of our old sinful nature the desire to flee from god’s presence and practice the desires of the flesh the inner man defines what we treasure and what we love it motivates what we do and how we behave it is what jesus is referring to in luke 6 45 when he says this the good man out of the good storehouse of his heart brings forth what is good and the evil man out of the evil storehouse brings forth what is evil for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart so then how does the spirit of god empower and strengthen the inner man in part it comes to spending time reflecting and meditating on god in his word it comes through spending time in his presence through worship and prayer brother allen reflected on these same truths when he spoke on sunday morning about how we grow in faith and it comes when in the moment of temptation we yield not to our own fleshly desires that echo of the old man but to the desires of the spirit of god and our redeemed nature we are strengthened in the inner man through the habit of saying as jesus did in the garden of gethsemane prior to his crucifixion not my will but thy will be done this process is what the apostle paul refers to in second corinthians 4 16 when he says though our outer man is decaying yet our inner man is being renewed being made stronger day by day beloved stop for a second with me and hear this we are strengthened in our inner man through the continuous practice of choosing choosing to be in god’s presence choosing to bend our will to his choosing to seek understanding of god through his word choosing to pursue a deepening relationship with jesus as we make a habit of choosing the things of god over the things of man it becomes our nature and our practice you see we find that our actions become those of jesus our thoughts become those of jesus and our very desires become those of jesus as well listen to david the psalmist in psalm 37 4 where he says delight yourself in the lord and he will give you the desires of your heart and what is amazing is that this is just the first step of what paul is asking god for on our behalf the story the prayer does not end with the obedience of a strengthened inner man as wonderful and glorious as that is we will find next week that this leads to an even more fantastic and wonderful thing that christ that jesus becomes at home in our hearts but this is for next week as we end today’s study i hope you find yourself desiring a strengthened inner man one that can resist and be victorious over the call of the world and worldly treasure an inner man that finds delight in the things of god and in his person and presence an inner man that reflects the beauty the heart and the passions of our lord jesus let us take some time and pray father we thank you for the beauty of your word the bounty that is there the the glory that is found in this particular prayer that gives us instruction how to be like you how to be like your son father i would pray that you would stir up in us the desire to be strengthened in the inner man so that father everything about us becomes more and more like you thank you father for your word thank you father for the beautiful gift the wonderful gift of your son and his work thank you father for the holy spirit that indwells us and strengthens us and brings these things to mind gives us power father in the moment to choose your will over our own thank you father so much for that and father we just simply pray in your son’s name believing he would be praying these same things for us amen

 

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