To finish out “The Heart of the Gospel Series“, we are going to take a look at how Jesus means everything, and how slowly but surely we should respond with everything in our lives.
- Jesus means we have freedom over sin: In Ephesians 2:1-7, “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world…..But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved – and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus..”
- Jesus means we have access to God: In Ephesians 2:18 it says, “For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together , grows into a holy temple in the Lord.”
- Jesus means we know God’s plan, God’s Nature: As we looked at earlier, Jesus was God’s plan to unite us to himself. Earlier in this series, we saw how it was God’s plan throughout the Old Testament and the New Testament to do this. Not only does this show us more about God’s plan of redemption, but it shows us God’s nature. Ephesians 1: 7, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.”
- Jesus means we will be effective if we abide in Him: In John 15:4, Jesus shows us that we will be completely ineffective in our faith without him. He states, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
- Jesus means we will see God’s glory: Jesus not only came to redeem us with God, but to help us see his Glory here on earth and in heaven. Jesus on earth prays in John 17:24, “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.” (In our next series we will gain a better understanding of why seeking and seeing God’s glory is ultimately good for us.)
Now that we have an understanding of why Jesus means everything in our Christian faith, we must understand that our response requires everything in our lives. Over and over we see Jesus urge his disciples and other followers to leave everything and follow him. Why? Because he is the only way for us to have freedom over sin, to have access to God, to know God’s plan, to be effective in our lives, and to see God’s glory, We see that even though this seems like a risky move for these followers, it is a move that makes their lives meaningful, full of purpose, and full of joy regardless of the situation they are in.
1. Read Ephesians. Write down everything that Christ accomplished and reflect and pray that you’d be able to not only understand what this means, but what this means for you.
2. If Christ asked you to leave everything and follow him, what would that look like for you? What things would you want to hold onto? What excuses would you make? What fears would you have? Take some time and uncover what that would look like, in order to find idols or desires for your life that you may not even know. As we see in the Bible, this call means different things for different people, but it always uncovers where a person’s trust truly lies.