In our ongoing series from the book of Ephesians, Pastor Craig shared this powerful thought with us yesterday.
I have blogged quite a bit about the tendency of our culture to be pragmatic. That is, people determine the rightness or wrongness of something based on how it feels to them. If it feels good, or if they get something positive out of it, then it must be good; but if it feels bad, or if they don’t get anything out of it, then it must be something they need to abandon.
True love is never pragmatic. Although culture tells us it is:
“You’ll know he’s the one by how he makes you feel.”
“We’ve fallen out of love.”
“There’s just no spark there any more.”
“He’s let me down one too many times.”
“You’ve lost that lovin’ feeling, oh that lovin’ feeling….”
“We dress ‘love’ in the fantasy of evening gowns and tuxedos, with silver and candelabras. But most of the time…love comes dressed in overalls—it is practical, down-to-earth, everyday hard work. It is really thinking of the other person and doing what the other person needs and being what the other person needs when he or she needs you to be there.” —Dr. Richard Dobbins
In writing to the church at Ephesus, Paul told them he became their servant—literally this means their waiter. But not so he could get something out of it. Instead it was a love completely focused on them…
this grace was given to me to preach to [you] (v. 8)
my sufferings for you, which are your glory (v. 13)
Speaking to the Ephesian leaders as he was traveling to Jerusalem, he said…I served the Lord with great humility and with tears (Acts 20:19)
I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears (v. 31)
I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing (v. 33)
In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak(v. 35)
Dear Christian, is this the kind of love you demonstrate? Do you share God’s grace with the hurting? Do you walk alongside those who are limping or about to give up? Do you stand through the storms with those on the battlefield?
It’s not what I get out of it.
Love focuses on the other person.
Love is devoted by a solemn promise.
Love doesn’t view “suffering” as something bad, but for the other person’s glory.
Love doesn’t seek recognition or rewards.
Love simply does what is important for the other person.
As we stepped back into our series on Ephesians, Pastor Craig shared this encouraging message.
There’s an interesting story recorded in Acts. Seven sons of a priest named Sceva attempt to cast out a demon by saying, “In the name of Jesus whom Paul preaches, come out!” To which the demon replies, “Jesus I know and Paul I know, but who are you?”
Not only was the demon not exorcised, but the seven men came running out of the house bloodied and naked from the beating they received!
Think about it: If you spoke to the devil and said, “Get away from me!” would he be afraid of you? The simple answer is “No!” Why? Because you have no power in yourself.
It’s not about who you are, it’s about Whose you are.
Jesus talked about our place in Him in John 14:20. Notice the word “in” in this verse:
Jesus is in the Father
The Christian is in Jesus
The Spirit of Christ is in the Christian
Here are the two life-changing words for any Christian to remember…
The devil wants to get you second-guessing your identity. He wants you to be uncertain if you are worthy of coming into God’s presence. He wants you doubting if you are truly forgiven and worthy of God’s attention. He wants you unsure if you can stand up against him in a spiritual fight.
This uncertainty and doubt is erased by faith in this: I am IN CHRIST!
Please print out this list from Ephesians of all the “in Christ” statements Paul shares with us. (You may download a PDF version by clicking here → in-christ-i-am)
Keep this list handy, and the next time satan whispers doubts in your ear like, “Jesus I know and Paul I know, but who are you?” say—
“It’s not who I am, but Whose I am! I am Christ’s. I am in Him and He is in me. I have been forgiven. I am a part of His family. I have a purpose. I am holy and blameless. I am the recipient of all God’s blessings. And you can never defeat me because I AM IN CHRIST!”
If you don’t have a home church, join us next week as we continue our series in the book of Ephesians called Sit Walk Stand.
This coming Sunday we re-start a series which we began last year called Sit Walk Stand: A Study In The Book Of Ephesians.
Why Ephesians? Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones, who preached 232 sermons on this book to his packed-out church, said, “It is very difficult to speak of Ephesians in a controlled manner because of its greatness. Many have tried to describe it. One writer has described it as the crown and climax of Pauline theology. Another has said that it is the distilled essence of the Christian religion, the most authoritative and most consummate compendium of our holy Christian faith. What language! And it is by no means exaggerated.”
It is Pastor Craig’s desire that our congregation be as biblically literate as he can encourage and resource us to be. So Tom Kaastra, a 38-year veteran pastor, is going to co-teach with him again this year as we continue our attempt to master this powerful epistle.
The name of our series—Sit Walk Stand—comes from Watchman Nee, who wrote, “Of all Paul’s epistles, it is in Ephesians that we find the highest spiritual truths concerning the Christian life. The letter abounds with spiritual riches, and yet at the same time is intensely practical.”
“I am so proud of my Calvary Assembly of God family! Everyone pitched in to donate supplies, pack everything up, and then take these vital supplies to the needy in the inner city of Grand Rapids. One of the best compliments I heard was from a gentleman who stopped by for some items, when he said, ‘Thank you for treating us like human beings!’”
Our team was there to show the love of Jesus in the most tangible way they could.
Do you shop on Amazon.com? Here’s a great way to shop and support the ministries of Calvary Assembly of God at the same time: Shop with a “smile.”
Amazon.com has launched a program that gives 0.5% of your purchase to the charity you choose to support. Simply go to smile.amazon.com, add your purchases to your chart, and check-out. That’s it! Then Amazon will send a donation to the church each quarter.
Thanks for helping support the ministries of our church!
Pastor Craig shared on his blog some information Pastor Josh learned from the students in the Impact Youth Group. This emphasizes the reason why we need to support this ministry in every way possible!
Our youth pastor passed out cards to the youth group, and told them they could anonymously finish this sentence: “I wish my pastor knew…
… that I regret a lot of my past
… I don’t know if I believe in my religion fully
… I need to talk to God more
… I am nervous about school
… even though I act happy I’m the total opposite
… I’m really scared to go back to school. I’m scared that I’m going to get really depressed again. I am already struggling with self-harm and being so emotionally tired. I’m scared it’s going to get worse. I just want to be okay. I want to be better.
… I have a hard time trying not to hate myself
… sometimes I’m very selfish and not Christ-like … a lot of the time actually
… that I’m troubled with life
… I was losing my mind, feel like I’m not where I need to be, I don’t know where I belong
… that I have very little faith, and I am trying to get closer to God. And that I live a sin
… about the situation with my brother and how we haven’t spoken in six years
Here’s what I learned—
I need to pray more for our youth pastors a lot more than I have been!
Lots of people are hurting. Not just youth, but adults too.
Jesus loves hurting people.
What a privilege—and responsibility—I have as a pastor to show the love of Jesus!
Jesus told us to go into the world and make disciples. Every Christian is called on to live in the authority of Jesus, as we introduce others to Christ as their Savior, and then disciple them to become disciple-makers themselves.
Francis Chan has prepared some marvelous resources to help us learn how to MULTIPLY, and we will be studying these resources in our adult Sunday School class each week at 9:30am. All of the notes and other resources will be provided for you at the class, so just come ready to learn and ready to share.