Summary: A message on the riches that believers have in Christ.
INTRO: Warren Weirsbe, in his little book on Ephesians, tells the story of a lady named Hetty Green. When you read the life of Hetty Green, you read a tragedy. She ate her oatmeal cold because she didn’t want to pay for the electricity to heat it. Her son lost a leg because she spent so much time trying to find a free clinic that his case became incurable. And when she died, she died of malnutrition. She left 100 million dollars. She died as a pauper. She was wealthy but she lived like she was poor. (Wiersbe, "Be Rich", Victor Books, p.7)
A lot of Christians do the same thing. A lot of God’s children have been enriched in Jesus Christ and yet they are living like paupers in this world. I want to show you how we are rich in Jesus.
I. A MIRACULOUS INTRODUCTION.
Paul was not always Paul. The first time you meet him in the Bible he is known as Saul the pharisee, Saul the hater of Christians, Saul the one who despised the Lord Jesus Christ. You remember what happened to Saul on the Damascus road. Saul made the most astounding discovery he had ever made. He discovered that this Jesus he thought was dead and buried was not dead but alive. He said, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do.” A miracle took place. Saul, the persecutor became Paul, the preacher. Isn’t that a wonderful miracle? God took Saul and made him Paul, and Paul said I am an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God.
The word apostle means “a sent one”. Paul was an apostle that God chose as one through whom the word of God would be spread and written. God used him and sent him not only to Jews, but also to Gentiles to bring the two together in one body, the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. By the way, in a larger sense, all of us are apostles, in that all of us who are saved have been sent on a mission. All of us have been given an assignment to tell others about the miracle of salvation.
So there is a miracle in the writer. But there is also a miracle in the reader. Do you see who it is written to? To the saints which are at Ephesus, to the faithful in Christ Jesus. It is written to some folks who are sitting right here in this building. If you are saved take a good look at yourself because the Bible says you are a saint. You say, “Oh no, I’m not a saint, preacher, if you don’t believe it, just ask my wife, she’ll tell you for sure that I am not a saint.”
I’ve got some good news for you today. The good news is that every born again child of God has been declared by God himself to be a saint, a faithful one in Christ Jesus. You see what it means in the Bible when it says a saint, it just simply means “to be set apart”.
That is a some kind of miracle isn’t it? You remember what you used to be. The life you used to live. You remember the words that used to spew out of your mouth like venom from a polluted serpent. One glorious day Jesus came into your heart and into your life and changed you and made you over again and took an old sinner and made him a saint in the Lord Jesus Christ!
II. A MAGNANIMOUS SALUTATION.
Paul walked in two worlds. He walked in the Greek world but he also walked in the Jewish world. As he walked in the Greek world, he heard the common greeting, åiñÞíç (eirene), which meant grace. That is the way people said hello in the Greek world, eirene. The name Irene comes from that. If he walked in the Hebrew world, he heard the word Shalom, or the Greek eirene. Paul had a way of taking common everyday words and baptizing them into the faith and filling them with new meaning. That is exactly what Paul did with these two words, he took common words and he elevated them and filled them with meaning.
By the way, that’s what Jesus does for you and me. Jesus just takes old common ordinary people and he elevates us and He fills our lives with new meaning. God saves us not because there is good in us, but because there is grace in Him, God’s unmerited favor. Grace, g-r-a-c-e, God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. Grace and peace, that’s how it begins. Grace and peace, that’s how the Christian life continues. We need daily supplies of His grace and peace.
I need grace to live for Jesus every day, that is why Paul said by the grace of God I am what I am. I need God’s peace in my life every day as I battle with problems and as I cope with circumstances and difficulties. We can come to God daily and find grace to help in time of need. We can pray and the peace of God that passes understanding shall fill our hearts and lives.