Summary: This message focuses on us seeing ourselves being seated with Christ.
Painting God’s Masterpiece Part 5
This is part 5 of my series “Painting God’s Masterpiece”. In order for us to operate in and become the image that God has established for us we must first begin to see that image in our minds. We must see it, believe it and begin to walk towards it. This morning we will focus on one image that we must see that is crucial to our being able to reject the images we currently have of ourselves. Yes, I said reject. It is not enough to just see ourselves as God sees us; we must also reject what we have accepted as ours from the past. Let’s go back to the book of Ephesians and we will start with chapter two.
I. Seated With Christ
In my last two messages on Living in Were, I shared with you our need to leave the past of WERE where we could not remember what God has done for us and walk towards What Shall Be, seeing what God has promised and what He is going to do. To make this transition, we need to understand what has already happened; what God has already done on our behalf. God has already placed us where He wants us. Look at Ephesians 2:4-6 and verse 10. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus….For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”
Although I talked about these verses in a previous message, this morning I want you to focus on the placement – where God has placed each of us. In these verses we find that God has seated us with Christ. When Christ rose from the dead, we were raised with Him – meaning that the victory that He had was also extended to us – we became victorious. In Matthew 28:18b Christ said “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” Remember what we learned earlier, if Christ is the head and we are the body, the body walks in what the head walks in. The authority that was given to Christ was also “transferred” to us when we accepted Christ. In all of our experiences, trials and tribulations, if we do not see ourselves as being seated with Christ, we will not see ourselves overcoming anything. Let me give you an example of what it means to be seated with Christ. This example comes from some advice that Jesus gave His disciples pertaining to “seating” arrangements. Luke 14:8-11 records the following: “When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for someone more distinguished than you may have been invited by him, and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this man’ and then in disgrace you proceed to occupy the last place. But when you are invited, go and recline at the last place, so that when the one who has invited you comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher’; then you will have honor in the sight of all who are at the table with you. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” When we read these verses we generally focus on the lesson on humbleness, but this morning I want you to think about the seating assignment.
It was a common practice in biblical times (and still is today) to sit people at a banquet according to their “position” in life. For example, those “most honorable” or being honored are seated at the head table and then based on influence, other are seated with those most influential seated closer to the honorees and those less farther away. In the example that Jesus gave, He stressed to His disciples that when they were invited to a feast to not take the seats of honor, but the lower seats instead. This way, if someone was invited who was more honorable than themselves they would not be embarrassed when asked to take a lesser seat. However, by taking the lesser seat by choice, when the host saw them, the host could then invite them up to the seats of honor, thus they receive honor in front of all the other invitees. There would be nothing more embarrassing than being asked to give up a seat of honor because you took someone else’s seat. So how does this relate to what we read in Ephesians chapter two?