Summary: What Paul found important
Our Veterans fought for something that we can still lose- our freedom. The reason is because this is political freedom. The word politics come from a Greek word for “citizen of the city.” As Christians we are citizens of heaven, that is primary.
Philippians 3:20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,
Politics are important. We should be involved in the process of being a good citizen. Being salt and light.
Mat 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
Our temporary citizenship is here in the USA. And it is protected by our active military and it has been protected by our Veterans. But all of this can change. Most of the things of this life can be stolen, taken away, ruined, dismantled and destroyed. You can lose your wealth, your health, your loved ones and your own physical life.
But there are some things that can not be stolen, taken away, changed for worse, or modified by the winds of change. Paul mentions these ideas in the opening verses of the Book of Ephesians.
Ephesians 1:1-4 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful in Christ Jesus: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love
We have much to be thankful for, but we often let our feelings be tainted or effected to too great of a degree by outside influences. When we think of receiving the blessings of God we might immediately begin listing physical things and people. But Paul does not mention the things of this life even though they are important, they should not be foundational.
Paul does not initially mention his family, his two chariots in the garage, his summer house on the Sea of Galillee, his glazed cooking wear from “Pompeii Chief,” or his indoor plumbing.
What Paul stresses here are “ spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” These are things that do not decay or can be discarded over time, rust can not corrupt and even death can not claim. (Paul in prison)
When Paul wrote these ideas he was most likely in prison and yet through out Ephesians we find expressions of praise, joy and lofty nobility. He was not in temperature controlled comfort, surrounded by wonderful possessions or even able to worship in peace without the threat of harassment or even death.
Yet even in these confining, difficult circumstances in which he wrote he has reasons to rejoice and purposes for praise. His reasons were not dependant on a political outcome, a physical blessing, or any worldly comforts – his joy and purpose in life was based on what he had been given by God through His Son- Jesus Christ.
I do not know what kind of emotional luggage you drug in here today but you can leave it outside because we have entered His Courts with Praise. Amen?!
This does not mean that we are not thankful for freedom, our possessions, and our place in life. Yet we should ask ourselves, “Would I be able to praise God and give thanks if I did NOT have these things?
You do not have to own anything to receive forgiveness. You could lose all your freedoms and still receive God’s Spirit. You could become terribly ill yet still receive God’s gift of salvation.
We minimize these blessings, because we are so wrapped up in the physical world. These are true riches, these spiritual blessings but they are cheapened by religious personalities who want to emphasize the temporary and false promises of material and physical blessings- all of which eventually fade.
“Hetty Green” Henrietta Howland Robinson Green (November 21, 1834 – July 3, 1916) She left an estate with an estimated value of $100 Million Dollars.
She was an American businesswoman, known for her frugal nature, as well as for being the first American woman to make a substantial impact on Wall Street. Her family were Quakers who owned a large whaling fleet. When her father died in 1864, she inherited $7.5 million in liquid assets, and against the objections of most of her family, invested it in Civil War bonds. She later began to play the stock market with great success.
She formulated an investment strategy to which she stuck throughout her life: conservative investments, substantial cash reserves to back up any movement, and she had an exceedingly cool head amidst turmoil. She claimed to have made $1.25 million from her bond investments in one year alone. (next Hatty pic.)