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About this series
Discover Your True Self
How to Silence the Lies of Your Past and Actually Experience Who God Says You Are
Who are you? Who says so? You? Your family? Your friends? From the first two chapters of the book of Ephesians, Chip helps you discover who God says you are as a believer in Christ. Understanding your position, the freedom, and the power you possess as a child of the Most-High God, enables you to move beyond the struggles and the uncertainty we all experience to living an amazing life of peace and assurance. It equips you to serve others with humility and patience and it empowers you to forgive and share with lavish generosity. People will wonder what your story is and with the help of this series, you'll be able to answer with confidence.More from this series
Third, He called you, you’ll never have to be alone, into a new family. Chapter 2, verses 11 through 22. It’s a new family. Now, I can’t read the whole passage, so let me give you the context.
As you’re looking at your Bibles, look at verses 11 and 12. Basically, Paul is writing to this Gentile church. And they have received the gospel; they are now followers of Jesus. But do remember, Jesus was a Jew. The Messiah. He fulfilled all those Old Testament prophecies.
And so, basically, he says, “Look you guys, you need to remember where you came from. You were formerly haters of God, alienated from God, you had no hope, no promises. You were on the outside looking in.” And then he says, “Hey, and by the way, you Jews, get a life. Do you understand what Jesus did? He broke down the dividing wall.”
In fact, if you look at your text, you’ll notice, “Peace,” “Peace,” “Peace,” “Peace,” and the word “unity.”
And so what he says is that Jesus came and broke down the wall and barrier between Jew and Gentile and He made one new thing. One new man. Then I pick it up. Follow along as I read this.
Notice what that one new thing is, “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, you Gentiles, but you are fellow citizens with God’s people. You are members of God’s household,” and then notice what he goes on to say, “built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets with Jesus Christ Himself as the cornerstone. In Him,” Christ, “the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple.”
What is a temple? Why do people go to temples? To worship. Experience God’s presence. Jew, Gentile, one new family. “In Him, you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives in His Spirit.” God’s presence dwells in you as a believer individually. But God’s manifest presence, when we come together, two or more, three or more – He then dwells and manifests His power and His presence.
Now, here’s what you need to get. Jew and Gentile, because our cultures, most of us don’t have a clue, this would be like, there are hundreds and hundreds of years of not, I don’t mean they don’t like each other, I am talking hostility. If I was a Jew, I would not walk into the house of a Gentile. If a Gentile drank out of a cup, I would not touch the cup or I wouldn’t drink out of it. Jews called Gentiles dogs.
What he is saying is: Jesus, now, has taken all these people from different places and now there is unity in Him. This is like someone from Hamas and the head of the Israel State saying, “We are now family.” This is like it’s 1950 and the KKK and the NAACP, the two presidents come together and say, “We are now family.” That’s how radical it was.
Here’s what you need to get: yes, we are multi-cultural here. But we are multi-cultural where, by and large, Korean, Chinese, Indian, black, white, rich, not-so-rich, single, married, married again – yeah, we are really, really, really diverse. But what happens in churches and ours is no different, by and large, you stay in your affinity group. I hang out with these people. We all speak this language. I am with people I like.
And so, we have all these little silos of all these different people. And you like each other. And there are some exceptions. Here’s the deal: being in a big room with people from all kinds of backgrounds is not the same as being in a room where you get to know them, where you learn to love people that are different, where you learn things that are different, where you hear words and backgrounds and hurts and where we actually, you know what happens? What will happen here is what happened there.
Can you imagine: you are a Roman soldier, or you’re just a person in Judea or Galilee. And all of a sudden, these Christians, these wacko people that say this guy rose from the dead, there’s a Jew and a Gentile, a slave and a rich person, a rabbi and literally, they had the Hamas of their day. One of the disciples basically was a zealot. That’s called a revolutionary. And they are all arm-in-arm. And they are walking into a stadium singing. And that motley group of people that would hate each other apart from Jesus, singing and praising God and asking God to forgive the people that are about to kill them.
And God doesn’t want you thinking following Christ is coming to weekend services, maybe being in a group, giving a little money, and going your way. He wants you to get connected in community. He wants you to learn to love and experience the kind of things that people would say, “Gosh, aren’t you both from India, but in India, these two groups don’t get along? How does that happen?”
“Oh, aren’t you from Taiwan and you’re from mainland China and isn’t there some rub with some of that stuff?” And, “Aren’t you black and aren’t you white?” Are you ready for this? “Aren’t you a Republican and he’s a Democrat and you pray together and love each other, I’m not kidding you. I’m talking – that’s what God wants to do. Now, you might be thinking, How would that happen? Oh, I’m glad you asked. Because I don’t want you to think, Do I really want to change? What if the problem is not the Internet? What if it’s not lapsing back into the third or fourth or fifth drink? What if it’s not anger management? What if, at the heart of it, it’s not about how much you work or why? What if it’s not about ego?
What if all those things are symptoms and if you would ever come to the point where you could grasp in your head and your heart, I am secure and loved. I don’t need people to like me. I don’t need all my circumstances to work out perfectly. I have all that I need in Him and I give my life away and as I give my life away, I do not understand in any way the mathematics of the kingdom of God. But every time I give my time, every time I give my heart, every time I am willing to serve, God chooses to multiply that back and give to me far more than I gave.
That’s the call of God. He called you to a new purpose, to a relationship, to a new family. And He called you to a new plan! Chapter 3 opens up and this is very interesting – the apostle Paul basically is explaining to this group of Gentiles, “Look, don’t feel sorry for me. I’m a prisoner of the Lord. But here’s what I’ve got to tell you,” that’s verse 1.
And then the next little section is, look in your Bibles, look at the word: mystery, mystery, mystery. It happens either three or four times. The Greek word doesn’t mean it’s mysterious. It means something used to be hidden, it used to be a secret, but now it’s not a secret anymore.
And Paul is saying, “God had a secret. God had a secret in His eternal plan for all mankind. And the secret is the Church. And the Church is Jew and Gentile, all people becoming one new family. And notice that this new family has an agenda.
He says He has a plan. And this plan has a purpose. Pick it up at verse 10. “His intention with this new plan, the secret, Jew and Gentile,” see, God’s agent of blessing was Israel. And they fumbled the ball. And so, He says, You know what? I am going to fulfill plans for you a little bit later. But right now, I am going to put someone new in the game and it’s called the Church.
And here’s why. Look at verse 10. “His intentions was now that through the Church, the manifold mystery of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms.”
Now, I know that sounds like religion speak. You know what that’s saying? The angels, that’s who the rulers and powers are, the angels are in heaven. And they are like, Whoa. We have worshipped You. We cover our eyes You are so holy. So, these people who were angry and they did this and they – You forgave them? You became a man? And then, these two groups have been hating each other. They love each other and then…
Angels don’t understand grace! Part of our calling, are you ready? You want to go, Ahh! Part of our calling is to educate angels, to give them access into a side of the manifold wisdom of our God in His infinite wisdom and grace and power and glory that this is what His heart is like by how He changes us and by what happens to us together.
And then notice why. Look right in your notes. He says, “According to His eternal purpose, which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.” It’s just amazing. It’s just absolutely amazing. It’s this new plan.
You’re a part of an eternal plan of God and you have a unique role. And it’s to give your life away. The plan is to go into all the world and make disciples. It’s Jesus’ last words. “Baptize them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit and teach them,” not to highlight their Bible, “teach them to obey all the things,” Jesus says, “I taught you.” Help them be Christians that live like Christians. And, by the way, I’ll never leave you. You’ve got the power. We have got this together.
It’s really hard to be discouraged, depressed, and feel like, It’s meaningless. Life makes no sense. Well, no, no, I am called to be His friend. I am called to a new purpose. I am called into a new family. And I am called to be a part of an eternal thing in this tiny thing called time in all of eternity – I am called by His name to be a part of that. Do you want in on that or not?
We’ve got a whole world that looks at their navel. We have got a narcissistic, consumer Church. “What did you do for me?” “It wasn’t that interesting.” “The music went a little bit long.” “I think the numbers need to be a little bit bigger in the childcare.” Help us, Lord.
God’s calling is so big, so magnificent, and so amazing, if you would lean into it and experience it. Have you ever pondered this? I like to read history and do you ever wonder why mega, mega-wealthy people, Christian or not, they realize: life has got to be more than just making money and wealth and houses and planes and cars. And so, whether it was Pulitzer or whether it was Carnegie or whether it was Ford or Gates.
I mean, when you make billions and billions and billions of dollars and you can do anything, there is a void! Secular people understand the only thing that delivers any sense of meaning is when your life is about helping someone else or a cause bigger than yourself. And the biggest cause in the world is – what? It’s the gospel.
It’s the God who came to the planet and died in the place to pay for all men’s sin of all time, who rose from the dead, and said, Here’s the plan. Go get ‘em, team. I’m with you. Don’t you want to be a part of that? I do.
Finally, he says, “God calls us to make our hearts Christ’s home.” He starts with relationship and then he ends with this amazing, amazing prayer.
Pick it up, this one we need to read together. Look at verse 14. He starts, he says, “For this reason,” in other words, “in all of these callings, for this reason,” he goes, “I bow my knees before the Father from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner man.”
In other words, you can’t do this, I can’t do this – everything I said, I know I can’t do. Oh God, will You give me the power, the will, the desire, to take these kind of steps in ways? And then notice, I put in your notes – why? “So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” Put a circle around dwell and above it write, “Be at home.” That’s what it means. So that Christ could be at home in your heart.
Yes, He is absolutely awesome, transcendent, and holy, but He wants to be your friend. To be at home, where you’re driving the car and you’re talking to Him. You mess up with one of your kids, Oh, Lord, I’m sorry. And you make it right. Something comes out of your mouth and He is not down on you. You don’t have to – Lord… And He’s at home in your heart. It’s why the metaphor, the whole Bible: you walk with God. “Walk” has baby steps. “Walk” has trips. “Walk” has some skipping. It’s a journey.
“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,” something we already have, “may have power,” notice this phrase, “together with all the saints. Everything I have described is impossible by yourself. It’s not hard; impossible. There was a reason the Early Church met house to house. See, there are times where I thought, Oh, God, I want You to hug me. God, I want You to answer a prayer. God, I want You to give me wisdom. God, I want You to provide for me. Guess what – by and large, apart from some very, very unique, supernatural times, guess what, He hugs you through another Christian. He provides for you through the time, the energy, the gifts, and the money of someone who goes, “Oh, wow.”
I just was with a guy two days ago and there are these orphans in Zimbabwe and there are people on the streets and he just said, “God gave me this money. God is going to provide through me.”
The way that He gives you wisdom, it’s a conversation in a group and you’re having a struggle in a marriage and guess what – everyone has those. But someone in your group goes, “About seven years ago, that was our issue. You want to get coffee after this group maybe sometime this week?”
And pretty soon, someone talks to you and God gives you wisdom and all of a sudden, “Wow!” Now, it gets even better, because everyone here has been through some stuff. You get coffee with someone and you are sharing something and they go, “Really?” And you’re thinking, “I’m just a regular person. That wasn’t that profound.” But you made it. God spoke. He grew you. See, that’s the plan. His dwelling together.
And then notice: “That we would know the love that surpasses knowledge,” not just intellect, “that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” He starts with: we are called into a relationship. And here’s the end: we all have these holes and we fill them with stuff. We are like this container and I filled it with work or fill it with TV or fill it with NFL or fill it with food or fill it with something or fill it with the third or fourth glass of wine. We, Oh, I’ve got to do all this stuff.
And He goes, Let Me let you gaze down into your soul. And if you could see yourself the way I see you, and then, whoo, I am going to fill you with My love. I am going to fill you with My love. I am going to fill you with My love to all the fullness of God, so all those things that you tried to fill in will just be like, “Eh, I don’t need that stuff.” But it’s a journey and it’s a process.
Can I ask you a really personal question, even though there’s a lot of you and just one of me? Do you want that? You can listen to it; you can be inspired. Now, is that like pondering and reflecting on the magnitude of your calling? But is that just like, “Oh, okay. Hey, way to go, Chip! I think you had a good one.” Or is that, Okay, God, I think I need to have a good one?
I have four questions to help you take the next steps. Question number one, if you really want to get rid of the angst, the struggles in your life in these areas, have you responded to Jesus’ calling you to Himself?
Realize: I need Christ. I have sinned. I am not who I need to be. Please forgive me. And in the empty hands of faith come into my heart, Lord Jesus.
Second, have you discovered Jesus’ purpose for your life and realized, “This is what I was made to do.” We have a course on the website called Your Divine Design that would help you.
Third, are you an active, connected member of Jesus’ family? Connected. Are you connected? Do you have real community?
And fourth, are you actively a part of God’s plan to reach, teach, and serve others?
Churches have helped people come to believe either explicitly or implicitly that being a follower of Christ is coming into a big room, hearing someone that is at least fairly interesting, having good music, your kids taken care of, and checking a box going, “That’s what a follower of Christ is.” It’s called “consumerism.” Nothing could be farther from the truth. But we have created that. If you’re not teaching, serving, caring, giving your life away, you’re not experiencing the Christian life. And there are these pieces of the puzzle that are not there. See, are you ready for this? You are – now, this is not theologically correct, but this is practically correct – you are indispensable for God’s ideal. Now, you know what? You can not do your thing, you think God is going to hold up His whole plan because you and I don’t do what we are supposed to do? No. But you are indispensable to this body. Indispensable. Significant. Needed.
Read the truth, slowly, profoundly, with a sense of: God called my name. “My life has an eternal purpose to fulfill.” Is that awesome? “I have been created, equipped, and called by God in this moment of history to fulfill a unique role in His body that will demonstrate His mercy, love, diversity, and unity to the world.” That’s why I am pursuing my holy ambition. I love what I am doing. But I only get to live in this tiny thing and here’s eternity – I have to, like you have to, do whatever God calls you to do to make the greatest impact and the deepest impact on the most people with whatever He has given you.
And the reward will be beyond our wildest dreams, both now and forever. Lord, will You please, please open our minds and enlighten our hearts? Lord, I ask You for those that are sitting in this room or watching or listening and they have never crossed the line, they have never confessed to You that they need You, that they are not perfect, that they have done things wrong. Lord, I ask that they could, in this moment, in their own words say, Oh God, I am sorry. Will You please forgive me? Based solely on Jesus’ work on the cross and His resurrection. And will You come into my life? Would You help me understand what it means to be Your daughter, Your son?
And Lord, I pray for my brothers and sisters that have crossed that line and You so long for them to see themselves the way You do. And they just need to take the next step. I want to give you just a minute as we close to just say to the Lord, Call my name. Lord, would You call my name afresh? Call me, show me what part of this, whether it’s friendship, whether it’s community, whether it’s family, whether it’s purpose – would You just call my name and help me take just the next step? And we pray this in Jesus name, amen.