Ephesians 2:6-7 (NKJV) 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
The message I believe God has given me for the church this year is that we need to get back to believing all things are possible. In my own life and in the church in my country I see more and more evidence that we are settling for the possibilities we can see and not expecting something more. I believe we have lost the edge of expectancy concerning what God can and will do in our lives.
As we have been building this sense of God’s possibilities we have looked at a number of things. Recently we have been studying Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 1 and 2. Specifically the reality that we are seated with Christ Jesus in heavenly places. This is a spiritual location not a physical location. However, location determines possibility and seated at the right hand of God we can see a whole new realm of possibility open to us.
This week we have been looking at what Paul prayed would be revealed to us. There are three things and the first is the hope of his calling. The revelation of these truths and our active acceptance of them will help us experience the reality of our spiritual location and see the possibilities that are ours because of where we are seated. What is the hope of his calling?
In our last post, we talked about the reality of God’s call on every person’s life. God gives each of us a destiny and a calling. Every person needs to know that their life matters. That is a powerful truth but not the one Paul is praying we would understand. He is talking about God’s calling not ours. This is God’s personal invitation to be with him and participate in the salvation he purchased in Christ.
You are born again. Biblically, that is the only way you can be what Paul called a “new creature in Christ” in 2 Corinthians 5:17. There are many who are members of a Christian church or have a Christian heritage and culture. The bible does not teach that as true Christianity. In John 3, Jesus made it clear.
John 3:3-5 (NKJV) 3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
This does not play well in the current climate of political correctness and total acceptance. Nevertheless, I did not write this, Jesus said it and the apostle John recorded it. If you are not born again you cannot enter the Kingdom of God. You are not a Christian. You may go to church and have a Christian heritage. You may consider yourself a Christian historically. You may even be sincere in your religious devotion. Unless you are born again you are not able to enter the Kingdom of God. To me that means many things but the most important is that you cannot and will not go to heaven.
When Paul talks about the hope of God’s calling us, that is what he is talking about. I like to say it this way. In 10,000 years you will not care what kind of house you had or what you did for a living. You will not care about how much money you earned or who knew your name. You will be very happy that at some point in your life you accepted Jesus as your savior and Lord and were born again. That is all that will matter.
We have a saying. We need to make sure we are not so heavenly minded that we are no earthly good. I understand the sentiment behind that thought. We cannot forget that God has us here to do a job. We need to remember that our main reason for existence is to extend the kingdom of God and bring more people into the family. That said, this saying is not at all scriptural and not at all true.
We need to be so heavenly minded that we become useful in the earth. We need to begin to understand that the hope of God’s calling in Christ is not what we do here. It is the eternity we will spend with the Lord. Our earthly purpose is to bring more people to eternity with us. When we understand that, life and all its trappings look very different to us.
Now I am not talking about having a martyr complex. I am not talking about wanting to suffer for Jesus. I am talking about a revelation that life here is only a fraction of the life God wants us to have. I am talking about understanding that God wants to bless us in our earthly life but that it is more important to him that we extend his call to eternal life to as many as possible. The hope of our calling is eternity with God. Nothing else comes close.
In my country I believe we are so blessed that we make up reasons not to be happy. Depression is a real problem in the United States. I do not mean to minimize the pressure of life here. Many people do not understand that with the standard of living we enjoy comes a certain pressure. That said, I have been too many places where people are not struggling with unfocused clinical depression.
They are hungry, scared and without much future. They are threatened in more ways than most of us in America can imagine. They do not spend much time in counseling. They are too busy living the life they have been given. That is why many of them tend to be more open to the miraculous. They have to trust in God’s possibilities. They have no choice!
I am very happy that I was born in the United States. I understand the problems and pressures that face us. However, I also know that if we truly understood the hope of God’s calling us in salvation, we would not be subject to the struggles we often go through. The same is true for those described above. No matter where we live or what kind of challenges we face, we must understand that a Christian’s real hope is in his eternal life with God.
Paul understood this. The people in the first century church understood this. They lived in constant danger because they were Christians. They knew that at any time they might be killed for their faith. They could be ostracized, lose their livelihood and their families because they chose to believe in Jesus. Most of us do not understand this. Being a christian has not cost us that much. We might be ridiculed or marginalized but not threatened. At least not yet. History tells us that could change.
The early church did not care much about temporal things. Everyone wants to be comfortable, prosperous and safe. They were no different. Nevertheless, they also had a tangible understanding that they had a hope that other people did not. They were going to heaven. Anything that could be done to them on earth was temporary. Holiness was important to them because of the immediacy of this hope. They lived today in the light of eternity. This made them more effective in their witness and their Christian walk.
I do believe we should expect to prosper. We should believe for healing and victory. I believe God can and will do anything to bless his children. These are all promises made to us in our covenant. I also believe that if we have a revelation of the real hope of God’s calling in our lives, those things will be secondary not primary. Our primary motivation will be to live worthy of that calling and then to extend it to everyone we can. We will not get so overtaken with the things of the world, especially when things do not go the way we expect them to. We will have a place of joy and peace that cannot be touched by earthly lack or trial.
Read today’s scripture and meditate on it. That is the hope of his calling in your life.