Being Salt and Light in Ocean View, HI

Becoming Like Jesus – Part 3 Midweek Study with Bob

This evening we are continuing in our study of ephesians 3 14-21 paul’s prayer on behalf of the ephesian believers in this prayer we find how god brings us to the point of being filled with the fullness of god being filled with his spirit it is this process that gives us the power to walk in a worthy manner to please god in our thoughts and [Music] it is the process by which we are conformed to the image of christ to where our thoughts actions and desires reflect those of jesus our lord this is the heart and essence of our sanctification in jesus first sermon the sermon on the mount in matthew 5-7 jesus addresses a crowd that basically thinks they are spiritually okay they were not following him because they were aware of a deep need for personal spiritual renewal while they were spiritually curious about this new teacher they were far more interested in physical healing than spiritual healing they were looking for a messiah who would free them from roman rule and here was a man who was demonstrating that kind of power we see that in matthew 4 23 and following where it says this jesus was going through all galilee proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people the news about him spread throughout all syria and they brought to him all who were ill those suffering with various diseases and pains demoniacs epileptics paralytics and he healed them large crowds followed him from galilee and the decapolis and jerusalem and judea and from beyond the jordan i bring this up because i know it is all too easy for us to fall into similar thinking we can value temporal blessings far more than spiritual blessings we can value worldly treasure more than heavenly treasure our prayers can be more for physical healing for relief from physical and financial hardship for comfort in this realm than for spiritual transformation into christ-likeness we can think that we are basically okay as we are and have no great sense of need for spiritual renewal and spiritual growth you see that is why jesus gives the sermon that he does he speaks to the crowd and compares them with salt that has lost its saltiness its ability to enhance and to preserve he compares them to a light but it is a light that is hidden under a basket of little or no practical use he speaks to their spiritual complacency when he says that their righteousness must exceed that of the scribes and pharisees the religious leaders of their times he seeks to move them from a righteousness founded in their ability to follow a watered-down version of the law to a righteousness founded in the state of their hearts and as he dismantles their idea of a righteousness attainable through human effort and achievement he caps it with this statement therefore you are to be perfect as your heavenly father is perfect that is the standard and only god himself can impart it contrast the hearts of the hearers in matthew with the heart of david in psalm 63. oh god you are my god i shall seek you earnestly my soul thirsts for you my flesh yearns for you in a dry and weary land where there is no water or his words in psalm 51 behold you desire truth in the innermost being and in the hidden part you will make me no wisdom purify me with hyssop and i shall be clean wash me and i shall be whiter than snow make me to hear joy and gladness let the bones which you have broken rejoice hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquities create in me a clean heart o god and renew a steadfast spirit within me do not cast me away from your presence and do not take your holy spirit from me restore to me the joy of your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit it is my hope and prayer that we approach our time together in the word this evening with david’s heart and david’s desire last week we looked at verse 16 where paul prays that believers would be strengthened with power through his spirit in the inner man can you see how that verse resonates with the prayer of david we just read you desire truth in the innermost being renew a steadfast spirit within me and we talked last week about how that strengthening happens through humility and confession before god as we seek his presence through letting the word of god dwell within us richly through our adoration and worship of god our sustainer our comforter our savior and redeemer and we saw that it comes as a matter of choosing in that moment when our two natures call us to conflicting actions and thought we say to god not thy will excuse me not my will but thy will be done as we make a practice of yielding our will to gods we are transformed into his image the image of christ our practice our thoughts and our desires become like his this week we are going to look at the next step in the process of becoming like jesus as our thoughts actions and desires become more and more like his christ comes to dwell in our hearts let’s look at verses 16 through 19 again where it says this 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 so you see we are to be strengthened with power through his spirit in the inner man in order that christ may dwell in our hearts through faith but what does it mean to have christ dwelling in our hearts i thought that all believers have christ in their heart in fact one cannot experience the work of the spirit in sanctification unless one is already a believer is redeemed romans 8 9 and following says this however you are not in the flesh but in the spirit if indeed the spirit of god dwells in you but if anyone does not have the spirit of christ he does not belong to him if christ is in you though the body is dead because of sin yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness here we see that the spirit of god the spirit of christ and christ in you are all referring to the same thing that indwelling of god that takes place in the heart and life of the christian upon regeneration upon being refers to in galatians 2 20. i have been crucified with christ and it is no longer i who live but christ lives in me and the life which i now live in the flesh i live by faith in the son of god who loved me and gave himself up for me [Music] and also in second corinthians 13 5 or do you not recognize that this is about yourselves that jesus christ is in you it is clear then that all believers have jesus in them so what does paul mean simply put it means this that as we are strengthened in the inner man our hearts become a place where jesus can feel at home comfortable completely welcomed beloved when christ first comes into our hearts after he saves and redeems us he is anything but at home and comfortable he enters a heart a house in disarray we have all been in places where it is impossible to feel at home at rest we enter a house and the television is blaring and the kids are running around out of control or worse yet huddled in a corner with a frightened look in their eyes the parents are screaming at one another about their latest perceived inadequacies and offenses dirty dishes cover every counter and unwashed clothes are tossed into corners it is a house out of control where there is no peace understand that is the condition of our hearts when jesus first comes to dwell there he comes to a place full of warring thoughts and factions unclean desires and practices worldly messages and influences it is a place where he is welcomed the heart of the new believer welcomes his presence but it is not yet a place where he is at home there is a remarkable booklet by robert boyd monger entitled my heart christ’s home where he addresses the wonderful process of jesus becoming at home in our hearts as we yield to the work of the holy spirit the spirit of christ in our inner man as we become more and more like jesus he becomes more and more at home in our hearts munger speaks in the booklet of accompanying jesus into the study the area reflective of our thoughts and intellectual pursuits and finding a room full of worldly philosophy and secular ideas and authorities he speaks of entering the dining room reflective of the seat of our appetites and desires and finds it serving a menu that appeals to temporal and worldly appetites the desire for wealth for power for fame and prestige for good fortune next is the living room the seat of our fellowship and social interaction here we find all too frequently fellowship with god being neglected and our calendars being filled with other things he goes on to examine the work room the seat of our labors the recreation room the seat of our entertainment and the bedroom the seat of our sexual desires and practices and finally as the house tour continues jesus notices a really bad smell in the house and he traces it to a hidden back closet a place where we find those sinful desires and practices we keep hidden even from ourselves and in the booklet monger describes jesus asking the homeowner us permission to clean up and redecorate and restock those areas with things that are honoring to god and comforting to jesus it is a picture of putting off our old nature and putting on our new nature in every aspect of our lives do you see what paul is praying for that the spirit of god would provide the power that enables us to yield our will to god’s will and that in and through that process our hearts would become more and more a fitting home for jesus christ himself but let’s not pretend that this is an easy process or one that comes naturally to us doing what god asks is often difficult and demanding taking time to walk alongside a brother or sister means setting aside the things we might rather be doing responding to an offense or harsh words with love and patience is more difficult than responding in anger or self-justification studying god’s word and person demands time and energy that is sometimes in short supply even jesus had this struggle as he contemplated his imminent death on a cross in mark 14 22 and following we read this they came to a place named gethsemane and he said to his disciples sit here until i have prayed and he took with him peter and james and john and he began to be very distressed and troubled and he said to them my soul is deeply grieved to the point of death remain here and keep watch and he went a little beyond them and fell to the ground and began to pray that if it were possible hour might pass him by and he was saying abba daddy father all things are possible for you remove this cup from me yet not what i will but what you will jesus then was obedient unto death yielding to the perfect will and plan of his father he traded momentary pain and hardship for eternal joy for hear what the author of hebrews says fixing our eyes on jesus the author and perfecter of our faith who for the joy set before him endured the cross despising the shame and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of god you see we too can look past the difficulties of obedience of saying thy will not my will be done when we see the joy that is set before us our becoming like our lord becoming like jesus our hearts becoming places where our lord is at home and comfortable and as we shall see in weeks to come filled up to the fullness of god effective in his calling and glorified in his kingdom let us pray father help us to catch a vision of the joy that is set before us help us father to value what you would do in our lives with the same value that you do help us father to gladly give up our own will our own time our own desires to follow you and yours father we understand that it is at times hard you understand that it is at times hard for us yet father you promise to walk with us through those troubling times you promise us that it will get easier as we more greatly understand your nature and your glory and your promises to us so father help us to see those things clearly help us to see you clearly and let that clarity of sight draw us to a place where we seek to be like jesus in his name we pray amen

 

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