2013 Sermon Series
- May 26, 2013
Theme: We have adequate, divine resources to fulfill Christ’s mission in a way that honors Him.
Just as a soldier’s backpack contains everything they need for survival and execution of their mission, Christians have been given adequate resources by God Himself. As God’s soldiers, we are properly prepared to survive in the field of Christian service.
Ephesians 3:1-13 is the next paragraph in this letter. We see the same phrase in verses 1 and 14, “for this reason.” The verses in between are in effect a parentheses in which Paul reiterates many ideas from 2:11-22. Paul repeats himself often, and it is not a flaw in his writing – we never understand a doctrine fully the first time we hear it.
The first resource to be a Gospel influence in our culture is our own person.
Paul calls himself “the prisoner of Christ Jesus,” not of the Romans, by whose orders he was under house arrest. He knew that God controlled all his circumstances, and he was always looking for spiritual opportunities. One author says, “This speaks of Paul’s perspective. Perspective is everything as Christian Gospel soldiers. God ordains the twists and turns of life, and within His governance, He weaves into the fabric of the dilemmas divine opportunity.”
Our Lord would never put us in a circumstance where we are useless to the Gospel. He is already ahead of us and supplying for us. If we would just be aware and pray for discernment to see the opportunity, He is ready to use us.
We are never prisoners of our circumstances. They are always overseen by our Sovereign Lord, and even within hardship, there is always opportunity for Christ.
Paul endured affliction for the sake of others. We need to see fellow believers take advantage of God’s grace as they endure affliction, and our faithful lives are always for the glory of God and so others may see how capable God’s grace has been through our perseverance.
A person of the Gospel must take a biblical view of authority. Those who are in leadership need to pay special attention to adjust their heart toward biblical authority. In the framework of Gospel ministry, there is spiritual unity within divine structure.
Paul views his time to serve the Lord as a gift which he must steward wisely. The authority is not his own, but has been given to him by God for the benefit of others.
Any person governed by the Spirit of God dislikes pulling the authority card, and any Spirit-governed person loves, embraces and follows God’s authority structure, so long as the leader is following the Lord and adhering to Scripture. No one is exempt from authority; everyone follows someone and everyone is leading someone.
- Assess your own person and heart. What is your attitude towards affliction in your own life? Do you consider your circumstances to be of God? Do you pray to see the spiritual opportunities that God has prepared for you in every situation?
- Examine your affection. Are your works for the glory of God and for others, or are they to gain attention for yourself? Are you affectionately demonstrating towards God’s flock the greatness of God’s grace in your life? Have you allowed a situation to sideline you from active duty? What adjustments do you need to make?
- Is your heart in alignment with biblical authority? Do those who know you best see you submit to God-ordained authority with joy? Are you attending to your personal gifting and ministry within that structure?
Cross References to Explore:
- 2 Peter 1:15, Mark 4:1-25 – the importance of remembering, reviewing, and continued learning.
- Colossians 4:1-4 – always looking for spiritual opportunity for the Gospel.
- 1 Peter 5:4-7 – humility under God’s hand.
- Philippians 1:1-14 – Paul’s afflictions always resulted in the furtherance of the Gospel.
- 2 Corinthians 4:8-15, Colossians 1:24-27 – Paul endured hardship for others’ benefit.
- 1 Corinthians 9, 2 Corinthians 4 – Paul’s authority.
- Hebrews 13:17 – God’s people joyfully submit to biblical authority.
A Hymn to Encourage: “May the Lord Find Us Faithful”
God has not given us the spirit of fear,
But has given us the strength to obey
With power and sound mind, with love, the unfailing kind.
O be not ashamed of His way!
May the Lord find us faithful;
May His Word be our banner held high.
May the Lord find us faithful
Every day, thought we live, though we die.
No man that seeketh after things of this life
Is a soldier who passes the test.
Be faithful, be working, be running, be serving,
Be searching His Word for His best.
Living or dying, may honor be Thine.
From this wretched life, You loved and forgave.
A life that is on fire, be only our heart’s desire.
Be faithful from now ‘til the grave.