Blessed By Love
Grace and peace: grace is the relationship, peace is the experience. Both of them come from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Alright, thank you very much and hello again radio friends. How in the world are you? Doin’ Alright? Well I trust so; bless your heart, nice to be back with you. This is your good friend, Bob Cook, and you and I are looking these days at the book of Ephesians. Just started the last time we were on the air together and we go on now in Ephesians 1:1.
Paul is writing to the saints which are at Ephesus and to the faithful in Christ Jesus. Oh by the way, being one of God’s saints is related to where you live. It’s very easy to be pious or even to look Christian, away from home but where people really know you, that is the place where you need to practice being a saint. Incidentally, it’s the hardest place, isn’t it? Maybe you’re the only Christian in your family and they’ll pick on you if you do anything. Look at that, he left the closet door open, what kind of a Christian is that? Look at that, he didn’t put the cap back on the toothpaste too. What kind of a Christian is that? They’ll pick on you for the slightest things, won’t they?
Alright, don’t lose your cool. Keep sweet, keep smiling, keep trusting the Lord and be faithful. You’re the saint in Tallahassee or you’re the saint in Kalamazoo or you’re the saint in Pittsburgh or you’re the saint in Cleveland or you’re the saint in San Francisco or Oakland or Long Beach or San Diego or wherever. You are the saint that’s there. Nobody else is there like you’re there. You are there in a very special way. You follow me? Your job is to manifest Christ to people where you are because nobody else is going to do it like you can. Saints at Ephesus, well then you talk about the faithful. I was just mentioning that when we got off the air the last time.
The faithfulness that God asked. What is to be faithful? Know your job and do it for Jesus and don’t quit till it’s done, faithfulness. “Be thou faithful unto death and I will give you the crown of life”. “It’s required amongst stewards that a man be found faithful.” Someone was talking with me. I think it was Dave Breeze. As a matter of fact, he was talking with me some years ago about some of the counseling that he had been asked to do with couples, married couples who were having a rocky time in their marriage and he was telling me. He said, “Someone came,” a couple came, to him and said, “We’re not happy anymore with each other.” Well I said, “What did you tell them?” And he looked at me and he said, “Well I told them, you are not required to be happy. You’re required to be faithful.” Oh, hey that was rough medicine, wasn’t it? But see, there’s where it starts.
We have a tendency to give up too easily on things that are unpleasant or that are difficult especially in this matter of domestic life. There are far too many people who say, “Well it isn’t working so let’s quit.” And they head for the divorce court and all the concentrated heartache that that brings.
Faithfulness, stick with it. God isn’t done with either of you yet. No He isn’t and He’s going to do a great work in your life. Yes, He is. Faithfulness, that means know your job and stick at it till it’s done.
Someone told me just today in a telephone conversation of a precious boy who had just recently had died of a brain tumor but it developed that this dear boy had some years previously, married hastily and the marriage never was a very happy one. In answer to the question that was asking from time to time, why don’t you give up and start over again to live your own life. He always had this answer, ‘God doesn’t believe in divorce and neither do I. I’m going to stick with it.’ Well in this case, he’s gone to glory and parents and loved ones miss him very much but there is the essence of faithfulness.
I want to stick by what God believes in, that’s faithfulness. Isn’t it? Well he said, “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.” Grace, if you use those letters, it’s an acronym: God’s riches at Christ’s expense. It’s the out-poured love and mercy and forgiveness and pardon and adoption of God to the poor, guilty sinner that deserves nothing but judgment in Hell.
Peace is the experience that you have after God pours out His grace and extends it to you. Peace, the peace of God that passeth all understanding. Peace with God, Romans 5:5. That’s the peace that comes when you’re involved in the Word of God. “Great peace have they which love Thy law, nothing shall offend them.” It is the perfect peace that comes when the heart has stayed on Jehovah. “Thou would keep him in perfect peace who’s mind is stayed on Thee because he trusteth in Thee.”
There’s the peace that comes from answered prayer. You pray about things and you get peace. “Don’t worry about anything,” Paul says, “But pray about everything,” and “…everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
Grace and peace, grace is the relationship, peace is the experience. Both of them come from the Lord Jesus Christ. Increasingly in this age, we are being faced with the idea that it is somehow unfair to think that there’s only one way of salvation. Simon Peter said, “Neither is there salvation in any other for there is none other name under heaven given among men where by we must be saved.” Paul said, “There is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” But you’ll find on the media, in the TV, in the radio and in the papers and in conversation with people on the street, you’ll find increasingly the idea that it somehow bigoted and unfair to say that there’s only one way of salvation. Dear friend, the world is full of things that are only one way. If you’re going to land an airplane in the overcast, there’s only one way to do it and that’s follow the ground control approach radar. If you’re going to do a mathematical problem, there’s only one right answer. There’s only one thing right at a time in many, many situations in our world and if you tinker with the oneness of those situations, you get into trouble don’t you? Yes, you do.
Somebody was running a long distance race and they counseling, they said, “Now don’t expend all your energy at the beginning of the race because you’ll tire out but set yourself a good pace and then do your sprinting at the end of the race.” Well he was full of enthusiasm and he jumped quickly when the starter’s pistol went off and he lead the pack around the first turn and down the stretch and around again but he couldn’t sustain the pace and he began to tire and he finished way back in the pack because he didn’t follow the one way to run the race. Well how about you? How about you?
The blessings that you want, come through commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ. Why argue about it? Why not open your heart to Him by faith right now? Some of you have been arguing about this. You argue with me in your letters even, don’t you? Bless your heart. I’m glad you write to me. Don’t quit but isn’t it about time to stop arguing and just say, “Lord Jesus, I give up. I’m going to surrender to you.” And open your heart by faith to Him and let Him come in and be to you all that He wants to be and then you’ll know. Won’t you? The grace of God poured out upon you and the peace of God filling your heart and your life. Yes, you will.
Well He says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings and heavenly places in Christ.” He goes on to tell what some of these are. You’ve been chosen in Him before the foundation of the world. The purpose is that you should be holy and blameless. Without blame before you and God in love and He predestinated us to the adoption of children by Jesus Christ himself, and we have redemption through His blood. The forgiveness of sins according to the riches of His grace and He’s made known the mystery of His will and the plan that He has that in the fullness of time, He might gather together in one, all things in Christ and we’ve got an inheritance in Him, verse 11, so on. Well that’s a lot of blessing. Isn’t it? Yes it is.
He starts by saying, “Blessed be God who has blessed us,” and then he says what kind of a blessing, “with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies and they all come through Christ.” Now, want to think about that for a minute? How do you bless God? Well as I understand it, it’s a combination of worship, adoration, praise and commitment. Blessed be God. That means that you worship Him. That means that you’re praising Him. That means that you’re committing yourself to Him and that means that you are willing to obey His will. Blessed be God.
Now why do I have that kind of an attitude toward Him? Because it says, He’s blessed us with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies in Christ. Think for yourself again that all of the blessings you know come, because of the Lord Jesus Christ in heavenlies, in Christ. Spiritual blessings in the heavenlies in Christ, all of your relationship to God, all of the joy and peace that you have, all of the assurance and power and peace, all of the guidance and miraculous intervention of God in your life from time to time, all of it comes through the Lord Jesus Christ. He’s blessed us in spiritual blessings in the heavenlies in Christ.
What are some of the blessings that you and I enjoy? Huh? What are some of the blessings that you and I enjoy? Well there’s a blessing of life itself. Have you ever thanked God that you’re alive? I asked someone one day, I said, “Well how are you doing?” He said, “I’m glad to be alive.” And he stopped and he said, “When you consider the alternative.” Well I suppose that’s true but life itself is part of the blessing of God. He has given you the privilege of living and incidentally I think you and I are living in the most exciting time of all of history. Aren’t we? Why I can remember the beginnings of so many different things. The beginnings of radio, the beginnings of TV, I can remember the early models of the automobiles and the motorcycles and the airplanes and how things have changed through these years and then the change in world history. Just recently it’s thrilling to see things opening up in countries that have been closed. It’s an exciting time to be alive and I think it’d be a pretty good idea if sometime you just bow and say, “Lord, thanks for letting me live and thanks for letting me live just now.”
Bless the Lord, oh my soul and forget not all His benefits. He forgives all your inequities. That’s the first blessing, forgiven sins. Heals your diseases, healing, redeems your life from destruction, protection, crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies, that’s provision. Satisfies your mouth with good things, satisfaction, oh how wonderful the blessing of the Lord. Well we finish up this verse the next time we get together.
Heavenly Father, pour out your blessings upon us today, not for our sake but for Jesus’ sake and for His glory. I ask in His name, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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