Summary: The motivation and title for this message come from a true story which many of you have probably heard at one time or another. This story best sets the stage for what the Lord has placed on my heart concerning the state of The Body of Christ today. It i
“Spiritual Street People”
The motivation and title for this month’s article come from a true story which many of you have probably heard at one time or another. This story best sets the stage for what the Lord has placed on my heart concerning the state of The Body of Christ today. It is the sad but true story of Stanley William McKenna Walker:
Stanley William McKenna Walker was the son of a wealthy British shipbuilder. At age 50, he was the heir to a $4 million estate in England. But, this man had become a wino on Chicago’s skid row. For many years, he barely survived by eating leftover garbage and sleeping in two-bit hotels. When his millionaire father died, the authorities searched throughout the saloons and flophouses of Chicago, trying to find him so they could inform him of his new inheritance. When they finally located him, they discovered that he had just died the night before in the doorway of a Chicago rescue mission. How sad that Stanley Walker missed out on a lifetime of all the riches that were rightfully his. He could have lived as a king but instead he lived and died as a pauper. What is more tragic is that Stanley Walker is a picture of the way many Christians unnecessarily live and die as spiritual street people, struggling to survive, in bondage to sin, all because they don’t know about all the wealth that is available to them in Jesus Christ. As James would say, “My brethren, these things ought not to be this way” (James 3:10b). A better life has been provided for us in Christ (John 10:10b).
The phrase, “spiritual street people” was used by The Holy Spirit to fill my heart with compassion for this describes the way many Christians live today. Therefore, it is important to “examine yourselves whether ye be in the faith: [to] prove your own selves” (2 Corinthians 13:5a). Are you struggling to survive today? Are you in bondage to sin and feeling helpless to get free? If so, you are living unnecessarily as a spiritual street person. You are in bondage when you could be enjoying the liberty for which Christ has set you free (Galatians 5:1). Considering this desperate situation, it is important to look to the liberating Truth of God’s Holy Word in Ephesians 1:1-7. This is the message Satan fears will be heard and The Apostle Paul fears will not. It is a passage of Scripture that not only tells us about the riches we have in Christ but also how to appropriate them in our daily life. This is critically important because many Christians know, at least intellectually, they are rich in Christ but do not know how in a practical sense to appropriate those riches. They have not yet learned the account number that empowers them to draw upon God’s rich account for them. Listen to Paul’s words from God to the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful in Christ Jesus:
“1. 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 should be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5. He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself according to the kind intention of His will, 6. to the praise of the glory of His grace which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. 7. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, (Ephesians 1:1-7)”
Here Paul, as one sent from God, shares three wonderful truths and teaches us how to appropriate them so we don’t have to live as spiritual street people. First, Paul says YOU AND I ARE BLESSED. Ephesians 1:3 says, “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…” You and I should worship and praise God because we are blessed with not just some but every spiritual blessing we need. We have everything necessary for life and life abundant (see Colossians 2:10 and John 10:10). So, if that is true (AND IT IS!), why do so few Christians enjoy spiritual blessings and abundant life? Could it be we don’t know how to appropriate spiritual blessings? Could it be we have not yet learned? Notice, Paul says the spiritual blessings are “in the heavenly places in Christ”. What does that mean? Many people think it refers to heaven. In other words, these aren’t blessings for us now but when we get to heaven. Granted, there will be many blessing for you and I in heaven’s glory but the phrase here means in the spiritual realm as opposed to the earthly realm. And those blessings in the spiritual realm as opposed to the earthly realm are contained in a person, Jesus Christ. Thus, the blessings referred to are meant for today not when we get to heaven. Otherwise, Christ would have a diminished role as our Advocate and High Priest.