by Phil Enlow

(Taken from a message preached at the Bible Tabernacle on August 30, 1025)

I sense the Lord wanting to encourage His people. You know, I had some inclinations as to where to go with it, and I just kept coming back to the familiar Book of Ephesians. And, I’m just going to go ahead and try to go through and hit the spots that I feel like the Lord wants to emphasize.

In verse 3, chapter 1, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us….” (NIV). What an awesome truth! It puts it in the past tense. He’s not waiting to see how I do! He has! There is something that’s real that’s coming from heaven for us, to help us! And He’s already done it! It’s not a matter of waiting to see what we do. This is God initiating something. Praise God!

“…Who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.”

And that adoption is more than what we think of as adopting somebody into the family. This is bringing somebody to a full-grown stature where He can say, this is my son. Remember how He did that with Jesus? “This is my…Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (KJV). Well, I believe that God’s purpose is for everyone that He calls, to bring us to that place. That’s hard for me to wrap my mind around. Anybody else here?

That He could actually accomplish that kind of a work in me! It’s not something I can do. All I can do is cast myself upon His provision. You could make a nice sermon outline out of this. God’s purpose, and God’s provision, and our participation. If you want to have a little outline to hang these truths on, that would be it.

Paul had this burning desire to share with God’s people in the Church of Ephesus, and through them all of us, this sense of seeing ourselves, not just as muddling through, trying to somehow relate to God, trying to “be a Christian,” whatever that means, but seeing ourselves as part of something that began in the heart of God before the world ever existed. And it’s as certain as His power to bring it to pass. Praise God!

And I know it’s easy to say, I know we’ve heard these things, but listen as you go along. Paul goes on and talks about this. He says, “In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ…” (NIV). Based on what? “…In accordance with his pleasure and will.” That’s the basis! Praise God!

If you’re struggling, thinking, how could God love me? Look what I’ve done. Look at me. It isn’t based on that! It’s based upon His saving power, His pleasure! We think about pleasure, well, that’s a bad thing. Well, I’ll tell you, if you have pleasure based upon the heart and the mind and the character of God, it’s the most awesome thing in the world!

David said, “In thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” (Psalm 16:11, KJV). God’s not against pleasure. What He’s against is the destructive thing that human beings call pleasure that’s nothing more than gratifying lust to their own destruction. But oh, God loves pleasure!

And this is something that gives Him pleasure. You think about that! For God to look down and to see somebody who is in the gutter of sin, He doesn’t look at that person in their need with disgust and contempt! He’s saying, “Oh boy, look what I get to do!” Think about that! Think about what he’s saying, that He gets pleasure out of being able to take somebody like that and lift them all the way to the halls of heaven. Boy, I want to share His heart in some of that, don’t you?

God, change our minds and our way of looking at things! That’s what Paul is seeking to communicate in this. He wants us to get so in harmony with God’s purpose and His provision that we can be participants! That’s kind of where he’s going with it.

All right, praise God! “…To the praise of his glorious grace…” (NIV), which again, gives us how this all happens. It all comes with divine power and energy that comes from heaven! When we come to the end, we’re going to say, man, that was awesome! Lord, look what You did! Every bit of this came from You and You allowed me to share in it! Praise God! I can’t begin to even think about anything in me that got me here! Lord, it’s You and I praise You! Praise You for Your grace, Lord!

“…Which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him…” Christ! “…We have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins….” Anybody here got a way of getting rid if your sins? I don’t either. I need Somebody who bore my sins on that tree—every single one of them! That is my only hope! Praise God!

And what a perfect hope it is! How could we possibly stand if we didn’t understand what He has done? Long before we got here, everything that we stand in need of, He’s already provided, hasn’t He?

“…The forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us….” I mean, even using a word like “lavish”! Okay, I see your need, I’ll sprinkle a little grace…no! This is the outpouring of His heart! Seeing the greatness of the need….

And remember that grace is greater than sin? Do you remember that passage? You see how these themes come from everywhere in Paul’s writings! Oh, yes, sin is a terrible thing! Satan’s power is a terrible thing. But grace is greater—grace is always greater! Thank God!

“…He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.” And I never really paid any attention to that particular phrase, but I wonder why that’s in there? I’ll tell you, we’ve got a God who knows how to do the thing that He has purposed from all eternity to do. We are ones who want to jump in and muddy the water, fix things. God knows how and when and where to do what He wants to do in individual lives.

And I need — and I imagine there’s one or two others here that may need this — to learn how to move with Him, learning how to be participants in what He is doing instead of trying to get stuff done that we think ought to be done! God knows how to dispense grace, exactly how to time things out, so He can deal with the heart, bring them to the place where they sense their need, they know they need God, and suddenly He’s able to reveal something that would have been meaningless until they got to that point!

There’s a wisdom there that’s beyond anything we can imagine, that knows the depths of human hearts and human need, knows how and when to do things, when to come, when to ride to the rescue. Do you ever watch somebody and you say, God, why don’t You do something? Look at this mess! That’s human thinking. God knew about that mess before the world was! God knows how and when to bring about the circumstances to fix that mess! And we do have a part to play, but not in human wisdom! Thank God for His wisdom! All of this plays such a rich part in the picture that’s being painted for us.

“And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure…” There’s that word “pleasure” again. “…Which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment.” He’s describing something that was conceived in eternity. There’s an outworking and there’s a climax that’s coming. There is a climax to all this that He has purposed and it’s going to come when he says, He’s going, “…To bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.”

Man, won’t that be awesome? All evil banished forever! All suffering, all sorrow, all weakness, everything that’s wrong with this world is going to be gone, and He’s going to do it all. And He planned all this. He knew what it was going to take. Oh, I’ll tell you, it’s amazing when you look at the price that was paid through Jesus Christ for our sins. We talk about it and we can get emotional about it, but I’ll tell you, one glimpse of that place and it’s suddenly going to dawn on us the greatness of what He’s done. I pray that God will make it more and more real to us here. And that’s what Paul is seeking to communicate, somehow.

“In him….” Now he’s talking about the grand purpose. Now he says, “In him we were…” So now he gets it down to the people. “…We were also chosen, having been predestined according to…” our worthiness and our — wait a minute. “…According to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.”

Can anybody think of an awesome parallel passage to this? “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:28-31.

Does that sound like he’s saying basically the same thing as he is in the 1st chapter of Ephesians? He’s talking about His purpose and where He’s going with it. Oh, God help us to understand where He’s going with this so that we can be participants and not just simply along for the ride, and kind of muddling through, lost in what’s going on in this world.

I believe that’s what God is seeking to do to wake His people up, because He’s getting ready to wind this thing up. I don’t know the time frame, and don’t know everything that’s going to happen, but I know that it’s going to get dark. I know that we’re going to have to have a living faith. We’re going to have to be people who know their God, and know how to participate in something that He started back here, and he’s carried it out, He brought it to the cross and now it’s come down to us, and He’s going to finish the work that He began. Praise God!

All right. “…In order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.” Now he brings the eternal process, this eternal deal down into the timeline of history. And what he’s saying applied to the Ephesian believers, and then it applies to everyone who hears His voice and His call today.

“And you also were included in Christ…” When? “…When you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed….” So this is a revelation, this is a confrontation between you and God, where He wins and you lose, except that we win by losing. Praise God!

But this is something where we suddenly are able to see the truth about ourselves, the truth about Christ, the truth about His purpose, and we surrender and we put our faith in Christ. And now, something that was conceived in eternity comes to pass, and our lives become functionally, physically and spiritually a part of it.

“You also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit….” I’ll tell you, when we’re truly born of God, there is a difference down inside. It doesn’t mean everything goes away, every battle is over, by a long shot. But there is a real birth that happens. Without that, we’re nothing but religious. I’ll tell you, we need Christ, we need the Spirit of God to reside in our hearts, that brand new life that’s born. That’s the one that’s going to live forever.

“You were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.” Now, what is he talking about there? The “redemption,” the “purchased possession”? Do you know that from other Scriptures? What’s that about? We have the Spirit, until what? It’s not that He takes away the Spirit. There is a deposit guaranteeing what He is going to accomplish in us until the redemption. What is that?

That’s the redemption of our body. That’s when every part of our being is fully transformed and there is not so much as an atom of sin left, and resistance to the will of God. Praise God! That’s what’s coming! That’s the hope of the Gospel! It’s that by His power and because of His purpose and His pleasure, all of these things come to pass. Praise God!

“For this reason….” Because of all the stuff that he’s just tried to express and put into words. “For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I have not stopped giving thanks for you….”

There’s something coming into this, isn’t there? “I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.” Does that sound like last week, a little bit?

Yeah. But notice this dimension. Paul understood something. He understood that spiritual knowledge does not come because somebody is able to stand up and explain it properly. Do we understand that? How many times do you try to get somebody to see something, and they can’t? Why? Because human beings cannot understand the things of God!

In fact, Paul says elsewhere, they are foolishness to him! They are spiritually discerned! Man, in his wisdom, the wisest men upon the planet do not have the power to discover the things of God! You could be a student of this Book, and I believe it’s the Word of God, but you could be a student of this Book from now ‘til doomsday, devote every waking moment to try to study it and discern its meaning, and if God does not open the heart and the mind, you will know nothing of eternal consequence.

A little child, that God opens their heart and their understanding can put their faith in Jesus and be saved for eternity! See, Paul understands that the need of the people to get what he’s talking about is not a product of proper explanation. It’s a product of God revealing it to the heart!

But notice the connection of how this happens! And this is really central, I believe, to what God is trying to tell me, what God is trying to tell every one of us. And it’s one of the major keys to our participation in God’s eternal purpose! Paul did not, as I say, feel just that he could explain this and it would accomplish the purpose. He says, I pray! Because I know you will never get this unless God does it supernaturally in your heart. And so, I realize that the best thing I can do is to be a part of His purpose by praying, “Oh God, open hearts, open minds!”

Do you see this participation? How did he participate? Yes, he did expound the truth, but he understood, I’ve got to pray. I’ve got to become a channel of spiritual Life in prayer so that God can move through my prayers to touch somebody else’s heart and open their hearts and their minds. Does that lend a different dimension to some of this as to how God does stuff? Oh my!

You know, you can go in two ditches. And people go in a lot more than that. But one is to look at this awesome truth about the sovereignty of God, and just know that somehow, some way, this great, awesome God, who’s way off somewhere is going to do it all! And I get to just sort of expound that truth, and believe it, and rejoice in it, and just basically muddle through life and wait for somehow, magically everything to happen.

Or, I can jump in the other ditch, and man, I can go 100 miles an hour, trying to somehow bring about the purpose of God, and it’s all me doing it, or I’m relying upon my will and my strength, and my this and my that, and my understanding, my ability to study the Bible.

Oh, I’ll tell you, there’s a simplicity that I believe God wants to bring us to, where we learn how to come to that place where, in our heart of hearts, there’s an understanding of the place we occupy. We feel, when the Devil talks to us like we’re down here: “Under the circumstances, I’m doing okay.” Well, we’re not supposed to be “under” the circumstances.

And I understand that there are times when, in one sense, we are. There are battles being fought. They are real. But at the same time, God longs for His people to know in their heart of hearts that “I am a child of the King, the One who is greater than all is in me.” (I’m jumping ahead here.) And I am not down here powerless. I am part of something that is eternal. Not only can I experience His victory in increasing measure — it’s a process, I get it — but I can become a vessel through whom divine Life can flow to situations that are humanly impossible, but that are part of what God has determined to happen before the foundation of the world.

God has this incredible purpose. But the outworking of His purpose involves you and it involves me. And I’ll tell you, we can sit here and sleep, and there are things that God longs to do and He has got to first wake His people up in order to do them. And so Paul is not content to just explain it, is he? “I keep asking!”

Notice that his prayer is pretty specific, isn’t it? This is not, oh God, bless the church! This is, I see a particular need and this is going to be a request of mine before God. I am going to keep asking. God, I get it! I know that no matter how well I explain it, they will not get it unless You open their hearts. That’s certainly my job to pray that, but I’ll tell you, you can pray it, too.

God, I don’t get these things like I know You want me to. Lord, open my understanding! I want to know You. I want to understand. I want to be a participant in what You’re doing. But Lord, I see others that I know that I can reach up to You and make a difference in their life, not by trying to get in their face and fix them, but by going to the Throne of Grace with something specific and saying, God, there’s a need, and I’m going to stand in faith and bring this need before You because You’re the only One that can fix it.

“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened…” That’s what we need, isn’t it? “…May be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power….” Does anybody here need to have a greater apprehension of God’s power?

Well, here’s where it starts. We have got to go back to the foundation and see the incredible demonstration of God’s power in action where it mattered most, and that was the death and resurrection of His Son, because everything funnels right back into that. That’s the heart of His plan. Everything flows through and out of that into eternity. And what you and I need this morning was demonstrated by what He did in that event.

So I want you to know, “…his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church…” and so forth.

I’m going to to that in a second. But I’ll tell you, if you and I are going to succeed in the Christian life, in the world in which we live, it’s going to start with the recognition that He is head! He is head. He is Lord!

The church in America, what there is of it that’s real, has gone to sleep! And there’s a cry going out. The bridegroom is coming! Wake up! I’m not done with what I’m doing in the earth, but My purpose and My plan is not for you to sit there, slumber through life while I magically do everything! I want to involve you! You are participants in My plan!

So you see, you follow this Book through and you will see how Paul develops this. There’s so much to this, I have to skate over the surface, in a sense. He talks about how we came out of being dead in sins and completely engulfed in a world ruled by devils, but how God, because of Christ, lifted us up, not just up, but all the way to a throne, a place of blessing, a place of power, a place of authority!

Do you see yourselves as in a place of authority, today? That takes a revelation, because we don’t feel like it. It doesn’t look like it. But I’ll tell you, you get in a situation like Michael experienced last night and you realize, it’s a battle. It’s a real battle. But we do, in Christ, have the upper hand! We operate from a position of power and strength and ability that comes from heaven! So long as we don’t put our faith in that, we just react with fear and all of those things, we’ll sit there and be “oh, poor me,” when Jesus has won it all.

So, Paul continues to encourage. He talks about all the awesome provision of Christ that we talk about so many times in chapter 3. “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations.” (NIV).

Then he begins to unfold our participation. That’s where he goes into the operation of the Body of Christ, the fact that we do share a life. We are inter-related…that the growing up into Him in all things has everything to do with life coming from you, to him, to her, to everybody else. There’s Life that I have because I’m connected with Him! He has empowered me with the means of helping somebody else, Life flowing through! Every member of the body of Christ participates in that process—every single one!

So we grow up and, of course, he gets into a personal part, because we can’t just sort of live in sin and expect to participate in this. God means for that transformation to begin in us, and so he exhorts people to put their trust in Him, to rise up and to take hold of the new Life! That’s part of the process, obviously, that we are children of light because He’s made us that way, and we need to learn to live that way. So he has a whole section that he gets into on that truth.

Chapter 5, verse 8, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.” If we could ever wrap our brains around the fact that we really can do this, it would make a difference. It takes God opening the heart to say, wait a minute, Devil, I don’t have to listen to you. Flesh, I do not have to listen to you. I can trust God, and there are going to be battles, yes, but I am the one with the upper hand—I have the upper hand here. Devil, I have power that comes from heaven that has the power to make you leave, to make you give up, and to make your hold disappear! Praise God!

I’m not going to try to go through all of these things, but you see how he’s unfolding this. You start with the plan and the purpose of how God has brought us in, and what He’s brought us out of, and what He’s brought us to in the Body of Christ, and then we learn, how do I participate? I learn to yield to Him. I learn to live like I’m part of this.

Is your life lived in the light of God’s purpose? You see, there’s a wisdom in this world, but the wisdom of this world is geared to the lusts, the blindness of this world. This world is what it’s all about. Get all you can get. Live to please yourself. Be all you can be—all of those kinds of things.

I’ll tell you what, we need God to wash out our minds, renew them and teach us how to think, teach us how to see what this world is really about, what God is doing, so we can be part of it. God has not called anybody here to be a spectator, not the first person! I get it that you come and you listen to somebody talk! But God has not called you to be a spectator! He wants you and me and every one of us to be a participant in His purpose!

He’s made every provision for that, the purpose, the provision and our participation. So he gets into our relationships and how we live out this life that we’ve been given. Of course, then you get down to the chapter 6, and you realize this is not lived out in a vacuum, is it? We have enemies. The enemies are real.

Verse 10 of chapter 6, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” Now, how can we stand? His power, not ours! His provision, so that we can take our stand, you see?

The “…full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

You know, I appreciate so much the emphasis in this movie [War Room] about what the real battle is, because, it presents a couple that are battling. One of them had to come to a realization that her battle was not against her husband. She had to be wakened up to the reality that she had to fight her real enemy and you don’t fight him by fighting her husband. You get in the closet and you do battle with him! And you let God do what only God can do! Boy, just about every couple that gets married goes to work on one another in some way or other. I was expecting this and you’re not that, you know. God, deliver us!

God, help us to realize the supernatural characteristic of the Kingdom of God! Jesus said, “I will build my church.” That gets right down to the nitty-gritty of your life and mine. It’s His job to do it, but He does call for our participation! We participate by praying, by cooperating in our own spirits!

That was another emphasis that I really appreciated that one of the main characters in this movie had to first realize her own need. She had to repent from trying to fix the situation, saying, “Lord, I give up. Lord, I’m yours. I surrender. I’m going to do it your way. Lord, I know that this is something you only can do.” Oh, if we understood what salvation is about, we’d know that it is a supernatural work of God!

I realize people have been saved by all kinds of soul winning efforts that have employed formulas, and they have been saved in spite of it, because God was at work with the heart! But you cannot produce a formula that will produce a Christian! It is a work of God concerning somebody that God has foreseen from the beginning of the world.

He institutes the means to confront their hearts and turn their hearts to faith, and it takes a supernatural work of God in the heart. The things that you and I see, the needs that we experience in ourselves, the needs we see in others, God is the only one that can fix them! And He can!

But He wants us to learn how to be participants in what He is doing in the world. So, first of all, of course, it says, “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness….” I need the righteousness that I didn’t provide. God provided one. I could never do it. I need to believe in it and trust in it with all of my heart. Praise God!

“…The breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.” I have taken my stand in a place and I have peace with God. “In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” I’ll tell you sometimes we listen and we reason with the devil, and he talks and he presses, and our faith kind of just….

God says, wait a minute. My truth does not change because of the devil’s reasonings and his lies. My truth is the truth! You take your stand upon it whether you feel it, whether you see it! God honors faith in His promises and His Word. Praise God!

“…The shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Now isn’t it interesting that he brings this in. “And pray in the Spirit….” Now where does the energy come from?

This isn’t saying prayers. This is a real spiritual activity. This is something that heaven energizes so that it goes out and accomplishes something eternal. Anybody here need to learn a little bit about that?

I sure do. But I sense God is longing to teach us how to participate in things that are eternal that He longs to do. There are things that we can’t even believe He can do, that He can do if we will just rise up and step into what He’s talking about.

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” Do you see the place of prayer in all of this? Yeah, I cooperate. I learn. I do all these things, but when it comes to accomplishing something, I’m going to pray.

I remember listening to Charles Stanley. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting him several times. But he spoke at the convention that we went to several years ago, and the theme of his message, I need to go back to. There was something he learned throughout his life that whenever there was a spiritual battle going on, what he needed to do was not to go confront the situation, it was to go into his closet and fight the battle in the closet. Many times there were things going on in the church, there were controversies, there was something going on and he would just go in and prostrate himself before the Lord and pray and pray, and he’d come out and God had worked.

That’s too simple. I want to fix it. But there’s a truth in that. I’ll tell you, it’s something that I wish I had learned better when I preached it, but I remember, years ago, that the Lord gave me a message called “God’s Firemen.” Anybody remember that? You know, the illustration of a fireman: when you break it down what a fireman does, it’s kind of a simple thing. He’s got a fire over there and he’s got a source of water over here. His job is to connect the two.

Now he can wave his hose around and it won’t do a bit of good. It might look real impressive, but unless he is connected to a source of water under pressure, it isn’t going to accomplish anything. But even if he’s connected to that, and he’s just waving it around, that isn’t going to do anything either. You see, what needs to happen is to be connected to that source and then to take that hose and put it where it needs to be.

This is, I believe, as much as anything the Lord wants to emphasize today. This is how we participate. Yes, I believe God needs to give us a deeper revelation of His purpose and His provision so that we will understand our place in the scheme of things. We will know that we are up here, not down there.

But also, that we have the privilege of getting to know Him in a way where He can show us a need and we can learn, instead of trying to fix it, to go into the closet and be specific and say, God, I am standing in faith. God, You are the only one that can deal with this situation. You are the only one that can deal with the heart! And God, I am bringing this to the Throne, in faith, because I know that this has got to be Your work!

That’s my place! That’s how I participate! There are needs to be met. There are devils that need to be driven off! You know, when Jesus said He was going to build His Church, what else did He say? “…The gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (KJV). The gates of hell represent Satan’s attempts, whatever he erects to keep his prisoners in. I don’t have the power to breach that! But Jesus Christ is Head over everything to the church!

We have the privilege of going to the very throne room of heaven and seeing God take divine life and divine influence! This is how He has ordained to do it! He’s ordained that we participate in this. He’s not going to do this without us. He’s going to raise up those through whom he can dispense His Life. We become channels just like the hose, or the fireman. We become channels of life that comes from heaven and goes to a situation that only God can fix. Do you see what God is trying to say through all of this?

Where is he going with this? Let me bring in a Scripture that will relate to this in 1st Corinthians 15, one we’ve heard before. Paul talks about the end, the consummation, when He’s going to bring everything under the headship of Christ. So, Paul talks about the consummation when everybody is going to be raised in Him.

It says, “Then the end will come….” (NIV). When He comes, those who belong to Him, that’s the transformation, that’s when our bodies will be redeemed, that’s when everything will be transformed in a moment. It says that later in this passage.

“Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.”

Now do you see what the picture is between the cross, when he declared it was finished, and the resurrection, and this consummation that he talks about? He’s reigning—He’s reigning. There is authority being dispensed from heaven to accomplish this eternal purpose. But yet, God wants to dispense that power through people who will join with His purpose and become so united with it that He can dispense what happens through them.

It’s a lot to wrap our mind around, but there’s a simplicity that I pray God will make real. Only God can make this real to our hearts. “For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.” Obviously, he’s talking about now. This is the world we live in! He’s got enemies! But, remember the things that Brother Thomas used to preach. This is a reality.

What does it mean for the enemies to be put under His feet? Are they not already there? In one sense they are. But since he has become connected to a Body, of which we are a part, until all those enemies are under our feet … do you see what’s happening? God is longing for the victory that was won on behalf of the Head — the life is in Him — to begin to flow, more fully, down into the Body so that we can step into, in a practical sense, the victories that He has won.

Not only that, we can become channels of life to see victories in other people. God longs for us to understand the power, and that we have the privilege of receiving it, benefiting from it and exercising it. Only God can make this real. I just pray that He will. He has put everything under His feet.

I’m in verse 26, for anyone trying to follow, chapter 15. “The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” When is death destroyed? When he comes. Boy, that makes your eschatology about the way this world ends really simple. He reigns from the cross until He comes. When he comes, it’s over! The last enemy is destroyed. There’s nothing after that.

Now when he says, “For he has put everything under his feet. Now when it says that everything has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.”

So, do you see where we’re at? History is winding down to a close. God is longing to wake up His people to realize what is happening, to realize that His purpose is still being unfolded in our lives, in the lives of others, and He longs for us to understand His purpose in a greater measure, to understand His provision for you and for me and for people we’re concerned about in a greater way. But not just to sit there and say, oh God, somehow, some way. Lord, help me to be a participant in absolutely dispensing the power of heaven to change lives. Do you believe we have that power, that place in Him? Do you believe He can teach us?

I’m not there either. But, I believe with all my heart, God can take people just like us and teach us how to be participants in the eternal purpose of God. I’ll tell you, we’re going to stand there on that day and we’re going to know that all the power, all the virtue came from heaven. All that qualified us to be part of that came from heaven. We just surrendered and trusted in His provision.

But oh, what a privilege it is! Not just to sit there and say, oh God, I admire You, look at what You’re doing, but to say, I have the privilege of being a part of it. God wants to minister to the situation. He wants me to become a channel to make a difference in that. I can go into a closet or wherever, and I can bring that request to Him in faith and I can stand in faith and I can see God work, to do things I could never begin to do.

I feel, in one sense, my weakness and my inability to even begin to wrap my own mind around this, but I know it’s real. I sense what God is trying to say. I just pray that God will help us. To the extent you and I don’t understand, let’s cry out and say, God, I want the revelation. I want You to open my understanding.

Paul prayed that for those people. I can pray that for me, too, but I can pray that for every one I sit around, everyone I’m part of the Body of Christ with. I can pray, God, open our eyes to see what God is doing, what He’s given us and what our place is. And I’ll tell you, we can be an active participant in the Kingdom of God in ways that we have not dreamed. Do you think this is real?

You think we need Him to help us to get there? No question about it. We need Him. But I’ll tell you, He is, “…the author and finisher of our faith.” (KJV). God is not Indiana Jones trying to make it up as He goes along. This plan was conceived, provided for and made certain before He ever created the world. He just allows us to be a part of it because, that’s the thing that gives Him the most pleasure, to take people like us and make sons and daughters of His to enjoy eternity with Him. Praise God!

Do you want to live for something else? Go for it. You’re not going to like the end. But I’ll tell you, you give your heart to Him, you’re going to have battles here, but it’ll be worth it all when we see Jesus. Praise God!

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