I Am Already Blessed
By Pastor Michael Olawore
New Wine Church, London
Foundation Scripture: Ephesians 1: 1-14
Sunday 17th August 2014
Last week, in the message, His Grace is Sufficient for Me, we understood that there were three key responses demanded of us as we walk in our understanding of grace. These are that we live in the consciousness of the finished work of Jesus, that we live in the consciousness of our identity in Christ Jesus, particularly that our righteousness is fully established and nothing can change it; and finally that we walk in faith in order to access what grace has made available to us.
Today we are going to continue on our journey of understanding of grace, who we are in Christ and what has already been made available to us. We are already blessed. It is so important that we have a clear understanding of this as once we do, we will never doubt the promises of God and will never entertain anxiety in our lives. We are already blessed; this truth is at the very core of the gospel. We are not trying to be blessed; we are already blessed. We therefore have no reason to struggle.
In the book of Ephesians and particularly in our foundation scripture, Paul sets out in great detail the truth of our inheritance in Christ. It is a comprehensive explanation of the revelation knowledge that Paul had about the finished work of Christ. The degree of revelation on our inheritance in Christ in this one book is unparalleled. Paul’s letter was addressed to the church in Ephesus and by default to all of us; this was a group of believers who were rich beyond measure in Christ Jesus but yet were living a beggarly existence because they were ignorant about the finished work of Jesus Christ and the grace of God. At a first glance, Paul’s use of the word ‘blessed’ to describe God appears to be a strange way in which to begin a conversation. Paul, however had gained a revelation of the vastness of the riches and glory of God’s grace and it is this unique revelation that had triggered this response. Paul went further, stating that this same awesomely blessed God has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus; Paul was telling this body of believers that they were rich.
The real issue that Paul was dealing with was that of ignorance. Ignorance is one of the major weapons of the enemy. Your ignorance empowers the enemy as the degree to which you permit ignorance in your life, the enemy is able to take advantage of you. 2 Corinthians 2: 11 states, ‘Lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.’ We cannot afford to be ignorant of what has been done for us. We are not poor as the devil has had us believe, in fact we are abundantly rich in grace. Paul was challenging the church to refuse to be ignorant. Paul was the apostle of knowledge; he was passionate about knowledge, having cried out to God in Philippians 3: 10 with a simple but profound prayer, ‘That I may know Him’. He understood that without understanding, we would struggle in life and that unless and until we had an intimate understanding and knowledge of Christ, we would have an incomplete and incorrect understanding of what we had in Him and therefore would not be able to embrace what He has done.
If we do not operate by revelation, we are limiting and hindering ourselves. The level and degree of the revelation in which we walk will set us apart in life. Joseph’s ability to connect with the mind of God caused Him to be distinguished; Daniel too explained mysteries and enigmas by revelation. In that the Holy Spirit resides in each of us born again believers, there is no excuse not to walk by revelation. In Matthew 16 Jesus asked the disciples “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They answered, giving a range of possibilities including John the Baptist, Elijah and Jeremiah, to which Jesus responded pointedly, “But who do you say that I am?” This is a question that Jesus levelled at his disciples whom had walked with him, eaten with Him and lived with Him for a significant period of time. It was not sufficient for the disciples to have been in physical proximity to Jesus any more than it is sufficient for us to simply come to church. It is not sufficient to be a worker or even a leader or minister; we must have a personal revelation of Christ. Peter’s answer that Jesus was the Christ and the Son of the living God distinguished him. The moment that Peter had a revelation of Jesus, there was a reaction in the realm of the spirit and he was declared blessed; he was empowered to prosper. Further still, Jesus had initially referred to him as ‘Simon Bar Jonah’ but later in that same conversation stated, “and I also call you Peter’. As a result of his revelation, Simon Peter also encountered a change of identity.
God’s intention is that we do not live by head-knowledge or simply experientially, but by revelation. We should not be defined by our natural circumstances but by His revelation of what His grace has made available. When you know Him you will know what He has already provided for you. In order to know everything God has provided for you, you must first know Him. In 2 Peter 1: 2-4, Peter says, ‘May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grown in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord.’ He also makes clear that God has given us everything we need for living a godly life and that ‘we have received all of this by coming to know Him’ In Ephesians 1: 15-23, Paul prays that the church may grow in the knowledge of God in order that we may understand the confident hope has been given to us, whom he describes as God’s ‘rich and glorious inheritance.’ He further prays that we will ‘understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him’, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead.
In Ephesians 1 and later in chapter 3, Paul unravels the extent of our riches in Christ. Let’s look at some aspects of these riches:
1. Adopted by God - Ephesians 1: 5-6 makes clear that God has adopted us into His family. We, whom were aliens to the covenant of God have now been adopted and we are now part of God’s family. God, who created Heaven and Earth, now calls us His children and we have the honour of His name! This is our new identity, contrary to what our experiences may have suggested. Our family connection with God has also meant that our location has changed. We have been delivered from darkness and we are now firmly established in the Kingdom of God, with all its attendant privileges. We are provided for, protected and nourished. Everything we need has been made available to us as we are His and His glory is the roof over our head!
2. Accepted in the Beloved – In Ephesians 1:6 Paul speaks of us having been accepted. The Greek word used here is ‘Charis’ which means to cause to find favour or be highly favoured; it speaks of us being compassed with favour and honoured with blessings. To be highly favoured is to be given esteemed preferential treatment and to be singled out and esteemed, not by men but by God. In the case of Mary, regarding whom the same word meaning ‘highly favoured’ is used in Luke 1: 28, she was singled out; thousands, if not millions were bypassed and she was selected by God to carry out His purpose.
3. Redeemed through His Blood – Ephesians 1: 7 says that ‘in Him we have redemption through His blood’. To be redeemed means to be bought back. It refers to someone paying the price and also refers to deliverance and liberation procured by payment of a ransom. The truth is that we have been set free from the power of sin, death, poverty, sickness, curses, struggle and oppression. God is not trying to redeem you, you have already been set free. What you need to do is to use your authority to maintain what the blood of Jesus has already obtained for you.
4. Forgiven – through the blood of Jesus we have obtained deliverance, forgiveness, liberty, pardon and freedom from the penalty of sins. That is forgiveness for past sin, present sin and future sin. Regardless of whatever in your past or your present that Satan has been able to try and capitalise on, the truth is that you are forgiven, even for the sins that you may yet commit in the future. Jesus bore the penalty for our sins, once and for all time after which He sat down at the right hand of God the Father. We have been forever pardoned and are now declared ‘not guilty’.
5. Access to the mystery of His will – Ephesians 1: 9-10 says that the mystery of God’s will has ‘been made known to us according to His good pleasure.’ It has pleased God to reveal the mystery of His will to us; this is a measure of how important and precious we are to Him. We have full access to the mystery of His will by the Holy Spirit.
6. An Inheritance in God - In Ephesians 1: 11-12, Paul states ‘In Him also we have obtained an inheritance.’ The Greek word here means ‘calling or invitation’ and refers to the discharge of an office or purpose. This means that God’s calling and purpose for our lives is our inheritance. We are significant to Him.
7. Sealed with the Holy Spirit – We have been sealed by the Holy Spirit who is the guarantee of our inheritance and the guarantee of our glorious destiny. The Holy Spirit desires to lead, help, comfort, and empower us and reveal God’s heart to us.
This was Paul’s prayer for the church of Ephesus; He desired that through spiritual wisdom and insight, they would attain a full understanding of who they are and what they have in Christ. It remains as important that we attain that same degree of understanding. The truth is that we are rich in Christ. Paul’s prayer in Ephesians was that we reach an understanding of the greatness of His power to us. We are not oppressed, guilty, destitute or powerless; we are rich in Christ and the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is within us.
God is calling us to recognise what we have in Christ and walk accordingly. When we have this revelation, our lives will change forever as fear and doubt and anxiety will be a thing of the past; and even the sky will not be able to contain us.
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