I Am Destined To Reign
By Pastor Michael Olawore
New Wine Church, London
Foundation Scripture: Romans 5:12-17
Sunday 14th September 2014
I am sharing a message with you today, in continuation of our theme on grace that I have titled 'I Am Destined To Reign'. From our foundation scripture in Romans 5, I want to focus on verse 17 specifically which reads: For if one man's offence meant that men should be slaves to death all their lives, it is a far greater thing that through another man, Jesus Christ, men by their acceptance of his more than sufficient grace and righteousness, should live all their lives like kings! (JB Philips). This scripture is simply reiterating the truth that Christ's finished work on the cross has established our victory and dominion over every situation that we may face in life.
I have come to discover that the grace of God is both redemptive and empowering. Not only does God's grace give you access into Heaven, but it also qualify you to rule here on earth as well. The same grace that redeems you carries within it the empowerment you need for every aspect of your life. This is how Ephesians 2:8 puts it: 'For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God'. The word saved is a Greek word 'Sozo' which means, your redemption as well as your wholeness, healing, prosperity, restoration and victory. With the grace of God made available in Jesus, you now have authority to reign in your marriage, ministry, career and business and to live a life that glorifies Him. As a result of this grace, you are no longer a victim of sin, sickness, oppression, poverty or other negative circumstances; instead you now have authority over the devil and his agents. This authority to reign, though is not based on your family background, your educational qualifications or economic or social status, it is entirely based on the finished redemptive work of Christ on the cross. This great exchange is highlighted in 2 Corinthians 8:9: 'You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich' (NLT). We enjoy all these benefits because of the unearned, undeserved, unmerited favour of God.
The Greek word for 'Reign' is 'basileuoo' which means to have kingly rule, to possess kingly dominion, to exercise kingly power. How is it then, that having been predestined to reign and rule in life, we are still being subdued by the situations we are facing in life? Is it possible that this is due to the fact that we have been ignorant of our position in Christ? Friend, Grace has elevated us to a position of rulership in life; it's now time to live in that reality, daily.
Let me draw your attention to a word we've missed in this scripture which is key to our rulership on earth. Reading Romans 5:17 again, which says: 'For if by the one man's offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.'
The word, 'receive' is vital for our reigning in life. We have to receive God's abundant grace and gift of righteousness before we can enjoy the blessings of kingship. It must be stated here that the grace of God that we enjoy is both progressive and continuous, and we need to continue to draw on this grace to establish our rulership on earth. We are to reign not through our experience, self-effort or human effort, but through Christ Jesus. Our life in Christ is based on receiving from Him, not through our achievements.
Having established that our reigning in life is dependent on receiving what has already been made available in Christ, it becomes increasingly important to know how to receive. Hence, the better you are at receiving the grace of God, the better you become at reigning in life.
Let's take a closer look at the word 'receive'. It is the Greek word, 'lambanoo', which means 'to take', 'to reach out and take', 'to take possession of', 'to take what's one's own', 'to take what is due to you based on agreement or law' and 'to claim'. It has nothing to do with 'waiting' or 'waiting on the Lord' or 'waiting till someone drops something in your lap'. In other words, the responsibility to receive is now on you, because all you need in life has already been provided by God. A good illustration for this concept is the process involved in claiming a parcel belonging to you from a postal collection point. Once you can supply an identification document, the parcel will be released to you. This same principle applies to receiving all that God has provided for us. Your identification document is the righteousness of God that you enjoy as a Christian, and with this you can claim all that belongs to you.
Here are three postures you need to adopt to receive from God:
(a) Humility: This can be simply defined as 'having a modest opinion of oneself; dependence, littleness of oneself'. Proverbs 3:34 reads: 'Surely He scorns the scornful, but gives grace to the humble'. James 4:6 reads: 'But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble', and we can see this same theme in 1 Peter 5:5, 'Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.' We all have to come to a point in our lives in which we are dependent on God, a posture that enables us to receive.
(b) Boldness: You must approach God with confidence, and give no place for condemnation or guilt. Here is Hebrews 4:16; 'Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need (NIV). Apostle Paul's letter to the church in Rome, addresses this further, 'Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1 NIV).
(c) Faith: Your confidence in God, should also build up your faith in Him. You can't afford to approach God, with doubt or unbelief, hoping without certainty that He is your Healer, Provider, Protector and much more than you can imagine. Here is Hebrews 11:6; 'It's impossible to please God apart from faith. And why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that he exists and that he cares enough to respond to those who seek him' (Message). Your faith is important in order to receive everything that God has provided for you.
As I round up, let me share the story of Blind Bartimaeus with you as recorded in Luke 18: 35-43. The bible records that as Jesus approached Jericho, Bartimaeus sat by the roadside begging. He sensed the multitude approaching and asked what the commotion was all about. When he was told that Jesus was passing by, he cried out; 'Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me'. Even though he was told to be quiet by those ahead of Jesus, he cried out even more, eventually attracting Jesus' attention and audience. When Jesus asked Bartimaeus the question 'What do you want me to do for you?', he responded appropriately, 'Lord, that I may receive my sight'. He was eventually healed by Jesus and he joined the multitude.
Here are some lessons to extract from this story: Firstly, Bartimaeus was in a desperate situation, often living off the benevolence of people around him. He had been subjected to a life of beggary and despondency, living with no hopes for the future. Secondly, Bartimaeus despite his disadvantaged circumstance had a keen desire to rule over it. He refused to give up, so much so, that when Jesus, the personification of grace, showed up he sensed that a breakthrough for his situation was approaching.
Thirdly, being humble, yet bold he cried out for mercy. Others knew Jesus simply as the man from Narazeth, but Bartimaeus, though blind had an inner conviction that Jesus was more than a Narazene, he was God's anointed Messiah, as prophesied by the prophets. The fourth lesson to learn is that, Jesus was willing to respond based on Bartimaeus' request. The Personification of grace had a blank cheque to offer, and gladly Bartimaeus was smart enough to place the right request before him. And finally, Jesus made mention of Bartimaeus faith, which was key to his healing, 'Your faith has made you whole', He declared.
So here are lessons for all of us to learn from; in this new dispensation of grace, we all have unlimited access to God by faith and we can ask of Him anything we need. We must not allow anything to limit us or stand in our way of victory. Each of us will determine what we receive, if we are ready to cry out with a heart of faith, filled with grace.
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