Ephesians– overview of 3:9; The unworthy messenger servant, part 7

Class Outline:

Wednesday December 18, 2019

Christ didn’t strip us of our material. He stripped us of our natures. He tore from us our delusion of worth.


Remove our worth and still we can carry pride. We would be empty shells; afraid, alone, either becoming vicious or crawling under a rock. Christ did remove our worth, but then He gave us His own worth. He gave us His life.


The unworthy serve God by the grace they have been given. Knowing that truth, pride is removed and grace fills the void it leaves, changing the man from ugly to beautiful.


2CO 3:4 And such confidence we have through Christ toward God.


2CO 3:5 Not that we are adequate [sufficient in ability] in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God,


2CO 3:6 who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.


We’re not adequate, but God made us adequate to serve in the new covenant, by means of the Spirit of life. We are only adequate (empowered) in His way - holiness. 


To receive God’s life and continue to live carnally is to misuse it, not use it.


Stripping us of our worth and graciously giving us His own through His own love for us, love openly exposed on the cross, we are overwhelmed by His love if we know this, and we will love others in the same way. Hence, we can say that we love by the grace, unmerited favor, of God.


Thus, you can see the terrible error of the disciples when on the last night of His incarnation, only hours from this terrible judgment, Jesus finds Satan sitting next to Him, plotting in Judas to betray Him, and eleven other men filled with pride. He is completely alone, but that will not encumber His mission.


There is a betrayer in their midst, but the biggest problem among the eleven is the betrayer within them: ignorance and pride.


LUK 22:19 And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me." 


LUK 22:20 And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, "This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.


The betrayer is in your midst. He is in you in the sin nature and around you as Satan and his world system. There are wonderful and meaningful things in the world that can be enjoyed and appreciated and used by us, but we must be careful of the dark, sinful, and harmful things that Satan weaves into the fabric of the world, and separate from them (sanctification).


LUK 22:21 "But behold, the hand of the one betraying Me is with Me on the table.


LUK 22:22 "For indeed, the Son of Man is going as it has been determined; but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!" 


LUK 22:23 And they began to discuss among themselves which one of them it might be who was going to do this thing.


The pride in the disciples has led them to think that they are not all equal in depravity and sin, but they are.


Equal does not mean the same. It means that all of us are born into this world under the condemnation of Adam. “In Adam all die.”


ROM 5:12

Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned


1CO 15:22

For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive.


All believers are alive in Christ, yet all of us are different. Some are more clever, better looking, richer, but Christ told us that none of things has the slightest value in His kingdom.


We must be very careful with pride. It is subtle and can overtake us if we are not alert.


I take much of this clear thinking about pride from C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity, in his chapter, The Great Sin.


Pride is the worst of all vices. It is of the spirit, not the animal nature.  


It is a terrible thing that the worst of all vices can smuggle itself into the center of our religious life. Other vices come through our animal nature, but pride is of the spirit, and hence, we can overcome all animal vices and still be proud. Pride comes directly from hell.


PHI 2:3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself;


PHI 2:4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.


PHI 2:5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,


PHI 2:6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,


PHI 2:7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.


PHI 2:8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.


Pride can beat down the other vices and cause us to feel that we are quite good.


When a person works to overcome cowardice or lust or anger by learning that they are beneath him, he overcomes them at the cost of pride. The proud person considers himself good intrinsically, and from such good feelings, he can put away his natural, animal vices. The devil laughs. He is perfectly content to see you becoming chaste and brave and self-controlled provided, all the time, he is setting up in you the dictatorship of pride. Satan would like to cure your cold if he can give you cancer.


Confusion arises and we must clear it up.


1JO 2:15 Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.


1JO 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.


1JO 2:17 And the world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever.  


Pleasure from being praised is not pride. Thinking yourself a fine person as a result of praise is pride.


It is actually quite humble to be pleased that you have pleased someone that you ought to please. We are to please God, for instance, and we should glory in it if we do. So immediately we have to throw out the ascetic or the martyr who is always going around telling everyone how humble they are and how much they suffer.


GAL 6:3 For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.


GAL 6:4 But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another.


GAL 6:5 For each one shall bear his own load.


Yet, as soon as we start to think that because we have pleased God or our spouse or our friend that we must be the finest people for doing it.


Humility pleases others and God, not because of who I am, but because it is right and God has poured His goodness into me.


As soon as I entertain worth concerning myself intrinsically (and not only in what God has put there), I have moved into the most dangerous vice, pride.


Pride becomes its deepest when you are so delighted in yourself that you don’t care at all what other people think of you. Of course, we are not to worry about what other people think of us, but that is only right when we are incomparably more concerned with what God thinks of us.


This is why pride is so dangerous. It is subtle. We hear that it is not to matter what people think of us, but we can allow that truth to make us into devils. We hear that whether people are pleased with us or not is of no issue, and a misunderstanding of that truth will destroy life and love.


We are to please others and please God, not because we are very fine people, but because goodness and virtue are pleasing. We are not to care about the opinions of others, but only because we care far more about the opinion of God. We are to think of ourselves soberly and truthfully. God has destroyed our old worth and He has given us His worth. God does good and pleases others, but He does not base His worth on it. He is worthy by nature, and He has given us a divine nature, by grace, so that we will walk worthy, all the while knowing that it was all a gift by the unmerited favor and love of God.