Summary: Pt 5 of the series deals with finding a deeper spiritual life. Success as a Christian cannot be found in superficial sprituality.
The Secrets to Successful Living
Pt 5 – Finding a Deeper Life
Ephesians 3:14 – 4:3
We started several weeks ago talking about this idea of success and the Christian. We’ve talked about idea’s of changing our measure of success, keeping Christ central to life, Boundaries and Balance and last we talked about simplifying life. This morning I want to turn our attention to Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus – as Paul shares with them more about how to be successful in this Christian life.
If we want to be successful we need to find a deeper life with Christ.
Paul writes to the Church at Ephesus and prays and pleads with the Father that they would find success through a deeper relationship with Christ. Listen to his words.
A Deeper Relationship is found in embracing the Power of God – v15-16 – I said just a couple of weeks ago that most of us live this life as practical atheists. We talk a good talk and sing a great song but we never really trust the hands of God. Something about fully trusting God really puts us off. All the what if’s play endlessly in our minds – what if God isn’t really big enough, what if God really doesn’t care, what if I’m really in this alone. And so our lives become a frightful balancing act between trusting God and trying to fix it ourselves. A W Tozer writes “The whole outlook of mankind might be changed if we could all believe that we dwell under a friendly sky and that the God of heaven, though exalted in power and majesty, is eager to be friends with us.” If we could finally understand that the God of heaven who hung the stars in place wants to be our friend – wants to help us – wants to make life livable in this broken world maybe we would turn from our trying and striving and trust Him with our lives. Psalm 46. Success and the deeper walk with Christ is found in embracing the power of God for living. This isn’t just kids stuff – this is real stuff. Abraham/Isaac; Noah/Ark; David/Goliath; Joshua/Jericho
Success is found in embracing the love of God – v18-19 – As I drove with one of my children the other day I asked the question “Do you know how much I love you?” She looked at me and said something like “probably not”. “Some day when you have a daughter /son of your own you’ll look back on this day and understand how much I love you.” You know being loved is one of the deepest needs of the human heart. People will do anything to be loved. People will give themselves physically and emotionally to broken relationships in a desperate attempt to feel loved. People will spend a fortune and run into the depths of ruin in an attempt to find someone who loves them. God how much do you really love me? On the surface that’s an easy question. On the surface of our Christian lives that’s easy to answer. But the reality of life makes the answer much harder to believe. Our insecurity, our life in this broken world leads us to the ask; How could God love me? The message of hundreds of thoughtless insults, of countless failures, of dozens of broken relationships all too often fills our hearts and leaves us feeling completely unlovable. Yet into this messy broken world faintly we hear the voice of God calling “I love you.” We tune it out because the pain from a hundred arrows of the world around us tells us it’s not possible. Yet persistently and continually the words come “I love you.” They come in a thousand different ways – an answered prayer, strength in weakness, peace in storm, rain to water the ground, a sunset that paints the sky – a thousand different whispers from God “I love you, you are mine.” We have a choice in this life whether to listen to those words or not. What wonderful words “I love you.” They can be so full of hope and strength when their not filled with the brokenness of this world. The God who created the universe – who formed you with delicate loving skill – looks down into your broken experience and says “I love you.” His love is one that is without blemish, spot, taint, or need. He simply loves you. The greatest love the world has ever known is yours – this is my story this is my song praising my savior all the day long.
The Deeper Life and success are found in embracing the Purpose of God 4:1-3 – Paul says this love story is worth so much more than our lip service or feigned obedience. This depth of God’s love this power that works in us is a life transforming thing. It calls us to walk in a manner worthy of the great love that has been invested in us. As we embrace the purpose of God we realize that His purpose is not about power or fame it’s about people. It’s about helping people understand how much God loves them. The purpose of God is not to tell people how broken they are – they already know that deep inside – the purpose is to tell them that the love of God is there to fix their brokenness and fill their deepest longing to be loved. The purpose of God is to find the heart of every one of his creation and bring them to be with Him for eternity. When we embrace His purpose and become part of His plan then success is real. The efforts of our lives have eternal consequences. You know I don’t know what Tommy Sutton did for a living, I don’t know how much money he made, I don’t know what kind of car he drove – but I do know that when I was 11 years old he shared Jesus with me in a way that made a difference in my life for eternity. I can look back over the years and see Sunday School teachers, worship leaders, pastors, Bible School leaders, Bible Study leaders, and friends who made an eternal difference in my life. What difference is your life making today?