Summary: Spiritual growth is necessary to be effective for kingdom work

Imagine you are sitting at home one Saturday night. You are filled with anticipation because for the second year in a row the Carolina Panthers are playing the NFC championship game at home to make their way to the Super Bowl.

Suddenly your phone rings. It’s one of Jerry Richardson’s executive officers. Mr. Richardson has decided to ask you to be his guest at the game. No particular reason. He has just decided to choose you for that honor.

While you are at the game all food and beverages will be provided at no cost. Those who are there to serve Mr. Richardson will be at your disposal also. You will have as much authority as Mr. Richardson. All of his rights and privileges are yours also to enjoy.

You have the option to turn him down but why would you? You know that the seats will be in his private suite, right beside him. They tell you that there s no reason to dress up. In fact, you will be given, at no cost, a complete wardrobe suitable for you to wear. No Panther fan is going to turn down an offer like that.

We have been given a greater offer than that. Let’s read Ephesians 2:4-6. “But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.”

God has made us an offer. Through his grace we have been invited to sit with Jesus in the heavenly realms. That is to say that, although physically we are still present in our bodies, spiritually we have become one with Christ Jesus. His position with God is our position. His rights and privileges are our rights and privileges. He is seated with God in honor and power and so are we. These truths become a problem when we don’t act upon them.

If you held up a spiritual mirror to yourself, what would you see? Would your reflection be one of a person seated in the heavenly or one still shackled by the sins and discouragements of the world? Is the attire you are wearing suitable for your seat in the heavenly or are you constantly trying to change clothes between two existences?

Have you ever heard the term “the black sheep of the family?” This always refers to someone who has brought some type of shame to the family name. This term can be traced back to the 1600s but a black sheep was not desirable in Biblical days either. Remember Jacob used black and speckled sheep to deceive Laban and become wealthy.

Black sheep were considered a sign of bad luck or evil. The reason being was that there wool was of much less value. To have the wool of a black sheep meant that your were stuck with black fabric. However, white wool could be dyed in other colors to make many different shades of fabric.

The process to change the white wool to colored wool was simple. The white wool was immersed in the desired color. White wool immersed in red dye would become red wool. This process could have been called “baptism.” Baptism means to plunge or dip. A white cloth dipped in red dye will become red. A black cloth dipped in red dye will continue to be black. But the power of God makes all things possible.

Romans 6:4 “For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.”

We were black sheep in God’s family. Through our sin, we brought shame and disgrace to God. We were black with sin and death. But when we accepted Jesus as our Savior, God’s glorious power was able to do what could not be done by us. He was able to plunge, dip, and immerse in the sacrificial blood of his Son and make us white as snow. No longer should we be living the life of a black sheep. No longer are we cursed by sin and death. Now we have become a part of the family of Christ. Now we have a new life. We should be living it. However, it is often hard to do so.

As I look around this room I realize that if I had the knowledge of computers that Thad and Shane have there is not a problem that I run up against on a computer that I could not fix. I couldn’t handle children and adults the way Debbie does. I certainly couldn’t fight fires like Nicki did. Why? Because I lack the knowledge, wisdom, and experience to do these things. But I can do something that all believers can do.

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