Classic Christianity Radio (03-11-19) – Created Anew Part 1
Bob introduces the topic of being created anew, when someone is born again spiritually. When someone is born again, the Holy Spirit takes residence in you and all things become new. Bob shares from Ephesians 1 and 2 and explains this faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, the same faith available to both the Jews and the Gentiles, by which all men are made acceptable to God.
15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people
To better explain this concept of both the Jew and Gentile being saved the same way, Bob provides background information on the lifestyle and thinking of the Gentile world in the time period of Paul’s visitation to Ephesus. The Gentile world today is not like what it was like thousands of years ago. Today’s Gentile world is in general still a moral and decent people and quite a contrast to the goddess worship and temple prostitution practiced by those Gentiles in days gone by. Today that moral decency is fading away. But the roots of idolatry, superstition and idolatry can still be seen today, showing the basic fallen nature of man. Today, people get all excited over mystical stuff. To a Catholic, you have the belief in the “mystical body of Christ” with supposed apparitions of Mary. To others, you have the hunger for the miraculous healing and the signs and wonders crowd. But to understand how unthinkable to a Jew that a Gentile has any right or hope to be saved, this contrast provides insight into what Paul wrote to the Ephesian believers, who were among one of the first Gentile cities to come to faith in Jesus Christ for their salvation.
Ephesus is a city of great wealth, fame, and power and also of incredible superstition and flagrant sin. It was the largest city in the Asian empire with over 250,000 people. It had a shipping port, and the main point for a commercial hub of activity. The first site you see coming into the port is a temple of Artemis also known as Dianna, a structure of marble columns, 100 of them, 55 feet high, seven the times the size of the Parthenon in Athens, Greece, one of the seven wonders of the world. The attraction of the temple is like the Eiffel tower in Paris. The temple worship ties into the superstition of the people that lived in that Gentile world. Gentiles in those days enmeshed in nothingness, worshipers of false gods, and very much heathen in every way. The statue of Diana is prominently displayed in the temple. Diana is a fertility goddess, an image said to have fallen down from Jupiter. Mark Anthony occupied Ephesus in 41 B.C. and later joined by Cleopatra. Even though the temple was built for the worship of Diana, it did not stop the Ephesians from worshiping their emperors as well. Emperor worship was just as prevalent. So when Paul came to Ephesus around 53 A.D., he came to a culture steeped in superstition, immorality and idolatry. As a Gentile, that is our heritage, and who would want to get back to our roots in that pagan idolatry and superstition?
The proclamation of the one true God came from the Jews. Keep in mind that to the Jew, for all these hundreds of years, were the only group of people to hear the only voice of the one true God. They lacked understanding of the complexity of God, not understanding the Trinity as we know today, that the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit are one being. They understood God as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The Jews are the ones given the covenant, the word of God, and the ones through whom God preserved the scriptures, and through whom the Messiah would come.
Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.
God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’ “This is my name forever, the name you shall call me from generation to generation.
3 What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision? 2 Much in every way! First of all, the Jews have been entrusted with the very words of God.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.
He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”
In comparison to the entire Gentile world, who was worshiping false gods and all sorts of heathen idolatry and superstition, they were God’s chosen people. They were chosen by God to be delivered all the law and the prophets, that God would work with, so that Jesus would come through and fulfill all of it for us (Luke 24:44). Jesus Christ came full of grace and truth (John 1:14), and he came first to the Jew (Romans 1:16), to deliver the good news, a message from heaven by which man could be made right with God.
Today, people get all excited over mystical stuff. God did not come to bring mysticism but truth. Mysticism will never set you fee. Yet we have a bent to see the miracles and the mystical. The Gentile world has calmed down a little but the root of the Gentile world is still here.
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
God came with the proclamation that includes both Jew and Gentile, a proclamation unthinkable to the Jew. To think that a Jew would come to salvation the same way as a Gentile was incomprehensible to a Jew. Yet, the Jew did not even understand salvation. The Jew was self righteous. They tried to be saved through the obedience to the law. Sadly, the Gentiles today try to become saved by obedience to the law when that law was only given to the Jews in the first place. Both the Jew and the Gentile had to let go of whatever he was holding onto in order to hold onto something brand new.
8 Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the priceless gain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have put aside all else, counting it worth less than nothing, in order that I can have Christ, 9 and become one with him, no longer counting on being saved by being good enough or by obeying God’s laws, but by trusting Christ to save me; for God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith — counting on Christ alone.
15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 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. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
When you read phrases like, “For this reason”, then go back and read why Paul wrote what he did. The Ephesians believed the message and came to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ for their salvation. Because of that, Paul never stopped thanking God for them and remembering them in his prayers. Let us pray for one another.
As we read further, we read what Paul prayed for them. He prayed for their minds to be renewed with truth in their inner being. When you read phrases like, “in order that” then you see a cause and an effect. Since they know Jesus Christ, having been given the Holy Spirit, Paul asks for wisdom and revelation from the Holy Spirit for them to know something. To know the hope of God’s glorious riches in his people and his great power. That power is that same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead. To know Jesus Christ takes God’s power and can only be revealed to men through the Holy Spirit. Then Paul proceeds to elaborate on the supremacy of Jesus Christ. There will be no title greater than the Lord Jesus Christ. All things are placed under his feet.
Now, concerning the glorious riches in his people. Who are the people of God? Are they not those in whom the Holy Spirit takes residence? Yes, it is the Ecclesia, the called out ones, his body. God’s Spirit dwells in the body of men. Think of that concept to a Jew. To a Jew, God dwelt in a temple. That is what they knew of God. Under the leadership of Moses, God was in the cloud by day and the fire by night (Exodus 13:21), and would lead his people. To the Gentile, is it bowing down to a man-made idol, totally indifferent and darkened in their understanding of anything to do with God? To the Gentile today, what is the church? Is it a building with stained glass windows?
19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.
The church is people. The building is a holy temple and is not something in Jerusalem. His temple has been being built over 2000 years. The temple God built is where he is the head, the cornerstone, built on the foundation of the prophets and the apostles. We are pieces of the temple of God Himself. A building of flesh and blood. He is head over the church, the Ecclesia, the called out ones, his body.
1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh[a] and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Let us see the inference between the Jew and the Gentile portrayed in Ephesians. Election, predestination has to do with Jew and Gentile, nothing more and nothing less. Not reformed theology that says this individual is elected and this other one is not! That is foolish theology being perpetuated still today by those who proclaim themselves as theologians and multitudes have fallen for the lie. Just read Ephesians and it is clear. Ephesians is really saying that the Jews is predestined the same way as the Gentile to be conformed to the image of Christ.
In the context of the idolatrous, goddess-worshiping Gentile, that is unheard of and so difficult for a Jew to accept. Today, it not a concept that we readily see as so important since both the Jew and the Gentile do not believe much in God today. To a Jew in that day, the synagogue was the only center in which God operated, with all the required animal sacrifices offered through the Levitical priesthood to temporarily cover sin. The Gentile world had no concept of God really. They were into emperor worship and all sorts of idolatry, temple prostitution and goddess worship. Today, there are more Jews saved in the last 20 years since Pentecost. To us it is not a big deal. But think in terms of the context back then with the Jew totally religious and the Gentile totally heathen.
In verse one, the phrase, “As for you” is referring to the Gentile, those idolatrous, heathen people who would bow down to the goddess Dianna. They were following the god of this world, who is Satan, and were spiritually dead. The spirit is at work in those who are disobedient. The spirit of this world is to get you to live in total disobedience. That is what the Gentile used to be.
In verse, 3, Paul starts by saying that all of us, both Jew and Gentile, Paul being a Jew, were also subject to the same spirit, having thoughts of the flesh just like the Gentile. The Jew may have looked better outwardly but inwardly following the same lies of Satan, in disobedience. Later, in verse 3, Paul states that like the rest, we, the Jews, were b y nature objects of wrath. That is, both the Jew and the Gentiles were by nature objects of wrath. It is was easy to identify Jews as objects of God’s wrath but a Jew did not readily accept that truth in regard to themselves. The Gentiles, in general, were just indifferent and did not care. Yet, from verses 4-5, the amazing good news is that because of God’s love and mercy, both of us were made alive in Christ Jesus! It is by grace you have been saved. From verse 6, He raised us up with Christ and seated us in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.
How come we were seated in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus? Why did He raise us up as one body?
From verse 7, the answer is given. In order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
How many years did Jews live in rebellion? Too many to count! What about the Gentiles? The same mount. The Jew is in rebellion against God’s revelation of His son. The Gentile continues to live in rebellion one way or another. So in the coming ages, the riches of his grace, expressed in the kindness of Jesus.
How long will God put up with us? He has already put up with the Jews and the Gentiles for thousands of years. When Peter asked Jesus how many times he should forgive someone, what was Jesus response?
21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”
22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
All examples in the Old Testament and New Testament are examples of his grace in the midst of internal rebellion. This shows us his love and grace.
God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast
You are saved by grace through faith. What saved you? Grace or faith? You are saved by the blood and resurrected life of Christ. What was the motive? God’s grace.
What is mercy? Mercy is to withhold giving what you deserve, which is death. (Romans 3:5, Ephesians 2:4)
What is grace? Grace is giving you something what you do not deserve, which is life. (Ephesians 2:5)
You are saved through faith. Grace is provided when you come to Jesus Christ in faith.
Salvation is the gift of God, not faith. Ephesians 2:8-9 is not talking about faith as the gift. Salvation is the gift. Not by works means a gift.
No one is going to boast that they are good enough or did enough to be saved. I am not “one of the elect” that saved me, as if I received faith as a gift.
Is there a difference between belief and faith? Yes, absolutely.
If I have faith in something, then I believed in something. But you can believe in something and not put your faith in something. Belief is necessary for faith but not automatic in faith. Not talking about just believing in Christ Jesus. I once believed he is the son of God, died on cross and rose from the dead but was not saved. Why? Even Satan believes that and shutters at the thought of that.
19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that — and shudder.
By just believing something does not save me. I can believe George Washing lived, died and did certain things. But just believing that has no effect on my life today. I believed Abraham Lincoln was shot in Ford’s theater. I was not there but enough was written about it to make me read. So I believe it that I can trust it. Have we put our faith in it. Faith is not just in the name of Jesus, as if I just use his name like rubbing a genie lamp. It is more than that. What did Jesus come to do for me? Who is Jesus? Someone says that you do not have to believe Jesus was born of a virgin. If Jesus was not born of a virgin, then Jesus lied to us and how can then can you believe in what he said in anything else. His virgin birth is not up for grabs. If he was born in Adam, he would be a sinner like us, for that is what is revealed in the scriptures.
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man [Adam], and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned—
Was Jesus born with the genetic code of Adam? No. If he was, then according to Romans 5:12, he too would have sin and would have died.
“The virgin [Mary] will conceive and give birth to a son [Jesus], and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
The reason my Father loves me [Jesus] is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again.
Do you know Jesus as the one who went to the cross to die for some of your sins, but not all? Then you have a different Jesus, a Jesus not in our bible.
For this is what is written.
When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins,
Have you came up with your own ideas concerning Jesus? Do you believe in Jesus but not the resurrection? You may believe in Jesus but not Jesus of the bible. For this is what is written.
1 Corinthians 15:12-14
12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.
Faith has an object and object is in the actual Jesus, who was on this earth, the real Jesus of the bible, and not a Jesus of our imagination or a Jesus as taught from false religions that his sacrifice was not sufficient to take away the sins of the world. The disciples of Jesus walked and talked with him and proclaimed the truth concerning him that which was revealed to hem by the Spirit of God.
1 John 1:1
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched — this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.
which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets.
The one who wasn’t here we do not proclaim him. The disciples saw Jesus and proclaim him. Any other Jesus is one of your own making. Have faith in him. If he came to take away your sins, and you say you have faith in him, then what do you have faith in? That he took away your sins, all of them. If he did not take away your sins, then what Jesus are you putting your faith in? Not the Jesus of the bible. You can have all kinds of pictures of Jesus, and nobody knows what he looks like, and people wear crosses and what do you have? An idol of your own making.
If you believe Jesus of the bible then believe the one who took away sins. And if he didn’t then what Jesus do you believe in? Prayer for forgiveness of sin whether in confession booth or direct to God, then you are going back to the day of atonement. Why keep asking God to forgive your sins when in Hm they have already been forgiven? Are you even in Him? If you are not in Him then you are still lost and are not saved. Who is your faith placed in? Jesus of the bible or not!
Jesus of the bible says he already took away all my sins. The one Jesus of the bible took away all sins to never see them again. He died in my place so I can live in his place.
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace
2 Corinthians 5:21
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
21 This includes you who were once so far away from God. You were his enemies and hated him and were separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions, yet now he has brought you back as his friends. 22 He has done this through the death on the cross of his own human body, and now as a result Christ has brought you into the very presence of God, and you are standing there before him with nothing left against you — nothing left that he could even chide you for; 23 the only condition is that you fully believe the Truth, standing in it steadfast and firm, strong in the Lord, convinced of the Good News that Jesus died for you, and never shifting from trusting him to save you. This is the wonderful news that came to each of you and is now spreading all over the world. And I, Paul, have the joy of telling it to others.
He tendency is for men to bring things down into a doctrinal issue or argument. The real question is do you believe in the Jesus of the bible? If you do not have faith in what he did, then you do not have faith in Him. This is a strong issue because talking about the person of Christ Jesus. To believe in his name is to believe in everything he said he accomplished for you and me. Otherwise, you have discredited what he did for you and me.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
How many born in Christ Jesus physically? Nobody. Jesus spoke to Nicodemus in John 3 that unless a man is born again, not of a mother’s womb a second time, but born again spiritually, he cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.
Adam and Eve were created in the image of God. All other people were not.
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth.
So after sin entered world, according to Genesis 5:3, Seth was born in the image of his father. Adam was his father? What image did Adam have then after the Spirit of God left him because of sin? He had become a sinner by choice and that sin nature was passed down to all men through physical birth.
1 Corinthians 15:22
For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.
Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come.
So all men are born in a state of spiritual death and are in need of spiritual life, and the only available life to man is in Christ Jesus!