Summary: Simple Scriptural maxims tied to our spiritual riches in Christ.
We’re beginning a new three-part series today on Simple Living.
Why this topic?
First of all, the Bible teaches simple living. So from that, we know it’s important.
Secondly, complicated living is killing us. It’s keeping us from experiencing life the way our Creator meant for us to enjoy it. Too much of the time we’re anxious and worried. We’re exhausted and stressed out. We don’t know which way to turn so we don’t do anything. We become apathetic and depressed when we have so much that ought to make us enthusiastic and happy! We frown when we ought to be smiling. We’re down when we have so much to be up about. That’s why we’re going to talk about biblical solutions for remedying this situation. This is the time of year for vacation so we’re going to slow down and catch our breath by re-emphasizing what God says about practicing a simple way of life.
Don’t be afraid of this series. Just because we’re going to be talking about simple living doesn’t mean that we’re going to be advocating selling your car and buying a horse and buggy – although that thought may have crossed your mind lately with the high price of gasoline. We’re not going to be talking about living without electricity or raising all of your own food. We’re going to place emphasis on the attitudes and actions of simplistic living that will restore our vigor for life – things that will re-energize us!
Speaking of simple living, my niece likes those Chicken Soup books and she’s got me reading some of them. I read a story recently from one of them about a woman whose husband died, who met a man who lost his wife and after a while found out they were a good match to get remarried to one another. Even their teenage children agreed they should get married. While they were excited about their upcoming marriage, they realized that they didn’t need any more crystal vases, blenders, toasters, etc., so this was their invitation: “Phil, Richard, Karen, and Allison – and John, Matt and Steve request the honor of your presence at the marriage of their Mother and Father. Because they are combining two households, they already have at least two of everything. So please, no presents! Reception and garage sale immediately following the ceremony!” (Chicken Soup for the Golden Soul)
We could look to several different places in the Word of God on the subject of simple living but we’re going to finish something we started back in February of 2007 – a year and a half ago. Back then we went through the first three chapters of Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus. This month we’ll be looking at the final three chapters in that letter.
Our series back then was, “Be Contagious.” We talked about the contagious aspect of God’s grace! And we talked about things like: “Amazing Grace in Simple Terms;” “No Perfect People Allowed;” and “The Church Has Left the Building.” [The church is the huddle and when we leave here we’re getting out into the game.] [If you weren’t here for those messages I encourage you to read them on the Internet.] Paul builds a solid foundation on the spiritual wealth of the Christ follower in the first three chapters of his Ephesian letter. We are rich “in Christ” because of God’s amazing grace!
In the second half of his letter, which we’ll be grabbing hold of this month, he writes about maintaining a way-of-life based upon the spiritual wealth that God has given us. Those of us following Christ are spiritually rich and God’s Word teaches us how to act like it.
You say, “I wouldn’t know how to act like a rich person.” Well, imagine that someone gave you a huge sum of money. What do you imagine doing in response to the gift? You think about quitting your job and going on vacation full time. Or you think about all the things you’d buy and the places you’d go. You think about the family members and friends you’d give money to. You think about that big fat check you’d write to Pathway Church!
Of course that’s just a dream.
We’re not financially rich enough to fulfill those fantasies but spiritually we are rich enough to lavish some great gifts on other people! That’s the theme of the Ephesian letter in the Bible. Every single, solitary follower of Christ is spiritually rich! How spiritually rich are we?
In Christ, (that’s the key, we must be “In Christ.”) God has given us every spiritual blessing in the heavenly world. Ephesians 1:3b (NCV)
Circle that entire verse of Scripture. This is phenomenal information! If you’re not “in Christ” I’d be thinking about making a faith commitment to Him today! If you are “in Christ” you’re spiritually rich!