3. Ephesians 2:10 Why we have not accomplished our potential... Part 3 of a 5 Part Series.
Why have we not achieved our potential as God's people and how do we live with purpose and power?
We have not accomplished anything as God's People. Why?
And what is this new thing that is happening in God?
18 We have been with child, we have been in pain; We have, as it were, brought forth wind; We have not accomplished any deliverance in the earth, Nor have the inhabitants of the world fallen. Isaiah 26:18
We are being awaken as the Church or Ecclesia to become what God has intended. For too long we have been striving, busting ourselves as Christians to try to do what we thought God wants us to do. But with all this hard work what has happened is that we have just achieved nothing of consequence. It has been like the breaking of wind in childbirth instead of bringing forth a child.
God is raising up a new people that are intentional, purposeful and walking with power. They know who they are in God, what they are called to do and live to achieve amazing things as God builds them up, prepares them up and released them into the destiny that He has for them.
17 As a woman with child
Is in pain and cries out in her [a]pangs,
When she draws near the time of her delivery,
So have we been in Your sight, O Lord.
18 We have been with child, we have been in pain;
We have, as it were, [b]brought forth wind;
We have not accomplished any deliverance in the earth,
Nor have the inhabitants of the world fallen.
19 Your dead shall live;
Together with [c]my dead body they shall arise.
Awake and sing, you who dwell in dust;
For your dew is like the dew of herbs,
And the earth shall cast out the dead. Isaiah 26:17-19 (NKJV)
We are to know our mission. What was Jesus's mission?
When Jesus started His ministry, He read this out in the presence of the people to proclaim what His mission was. We are filled with the Spirit of God, and He has anointed us to do this as well. We have the mission that Jesus had when he came. His heart and purpose is ours.
The Good News of Salvation
61 “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,
Because the Lord has anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the broken hearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,
3 To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” Isaiah 61:1-3 (NKJV)
The Highway of Holiness.
In Isaiah 35 we read about a way of walking as God’s people. We should be walking on the highway of holiness where:
· No unclean people walk
· We do not go astray. We are on a clear and purposeful path to a known destination.
· Nothing can harm us when we are on this path.
· The Kingdom of God is established on the highway. Righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
On this highway we will be able to walk with purpose, joy and power. We are protected and walk differently to the world in joy, gladness and not sorrow.
8 A highway shall be there, and a road,
And it shall be called the Highway of Holiness.
The unclean shall not pass over it,
But it shall be for others.
Whoever walks the road, although a fool,
Shall not go astray.
9 No lion shall be there,
Nor shall any ravenous beast go up on it;
It shall not be found there.
But the redeemed shall walk there,
10 And the ransomed of the Lord shall return,
And come to Zion with singing,
With everlasting joy on their heads.
They shall obtain joy and gladness,
And sorrow and sighing shall flee away. Isaiah 35:8-10 (NKJV)
6 Keys To Walking With Purpose
1. Knowing we are effective only when we grow up from infants to sons.
One of the major reasons we have not been effective as we have entered the family of God as infants and we have not either wanted to or have been taught to grow up. There is a process when we enter the family of God to move from infants to sons of God. We need to stop being silly children and grow up.
22 “For My people are foolish,
They have not known Me.
They are [a]silly children,
And they have no understanding.
They are wise to do evil,
But to do good they have no knowledge.” Jeremiah 4:22 (NKJV)
In Ephesians 4:14 we read that children are not able to discern the truth but are easily swayed by different doctrine of man and are easily swayed to think and do things contrary to the Word. We are easily manipulated by others into their ways of thinking.
14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, Ephesians 4:14 (NKJV)
As infants we need to start with the first principles of our faith and then grow to be able to listen to and digest solid food or the deeper things of God. In Hebrew Paul is writing to a church that have not grown up but are still unsure of the elementary principles of foundations of our faith. With starting with the elementary principles and not only being aware of them we need to be able to teach them. With our growing up we can be effective in discerning the truth from lies but are also equipped to disciple and teach others.
12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the [b]oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are [c]of full age, that is, those who by reason of [d]use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Hebrews 5:12-14
There are issues or perils if we do not progress. The foundations or elementary principles of Christ must be clearly known and practiced for us to mature and grow in our faith.
The Peril of Not Progressing
6 Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to [a]perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2 of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. 3 And this [b]we will do if God permits. Hebrews 6 :1-3 (NKJV)
2. Die to ourselves daily.
When we learn to walk in maturity we know that the way we walk each day changes. In Romans 6 we read that through baptism we have died to sin so we can no longer walk in sin. Communion every morning reminds us that we are to do what Christ did, which is to die to our flesh and our desires. By dying to our flesh we then can walk in newness of life and united with or raised with Jesus in the likeness of His resurrection so we are no longer slaves to sin.
Dead to Sin, Alive to God
6 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? 3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be [a]done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 7 For he who has died has been [b]freed from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Likewise you also, [c]reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:1-11
At the end of Romans 6 we read that we can have fruit to holiness and eternal life.
20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit [g]to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the [h]gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:20-23
In Romans 8 we read about the benefits of walking in the Spirit. We are:-
· free from the law of sin and death (v.2)'
· Righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled in us as we walk in the Spirit. (v.4)
· If we live according to the Spirit we think about things of the Spirit. v.5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit
· Walk in life. v.13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
· Sons are led by the Spirit. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God
· As sons we can call God Father through the Spirit of adoption. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba,[e] Father.”
· We know we are children of God. 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God
· Even though we will suffer with Him, there is glory in the end. v. 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.
3. To hear and know God's voice
As we walk as God's sons we learn to listen to and discern the voice of Jesus, our shepherd. He leads us and guides us on the paths we are to take. In Psalm 23 David writes about being lead in paths of righteousness.
23 The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not [a]want.
2 He makes me to lie down in [b]green pastures;
He leads me beside the [c]still waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake. Psalm 23:1-3 (NKJV)
In John 10 we read about Jesus being the 'Good Shepherd' and learning what this means. In John 10:10 Jesus tells us the difference between the thief or Satan and Jesus the shepherd. Satan only wants to kill, steal and destroy. When we listen to and follow Jesus we receive abundant life. It is easy then to discern the voice of Jesus and follow Him as our shepherd.
10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. John 10:10 (NKJV)
The more we read God's Word, spend time with Jesus and understand what the Bible says the better we can discern God's voice and follow Him. By being discipled we can learn to do this as a daily practice.
4. Seek and grow up to know the good works or calling God has for us before the foundations of the Earth.
We all have grown up being taught to view our lives from the perspective of the world. It is essential that we instead know what the Word says. God knew us before He created the world and has plans for us to achieve His plans and purposes as we walk on the earth. We have been made by God for both a relationship with Him, but also to represent God on the earth and to bring restoration to the Earth as sons of God.
10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 (NKJV)
The ways that the world leads us into and God's ways are totally different. We need to learn to discern what God's ways are and walk in this blessing.
8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. Isaiah 55:8 (NKJV)
We are taught by the world to glory in our riches, wisdom and might, but we seek God, so we can understand and know God and glory in this.
23 Thus says the Lord:
“Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom,
Let not the mighty man glory in his might,
Nor let the rich man glory in his riches;
24 But let him who glories glory in this,
That he understands and knows Me,
That I am the Lord, exercising loving kindness, ]judgment, and righteousness in the earth.
For in these I delight,” says the Lord. Jeremiah 9:23-24 (NKJV)
5. To have people established in their gifts so we are equipped as saints
God is calling and setting apart people not only to be pastors, teachers and evangelists, but is releasing apostles to ensure the church is based on the truth of God's Word and is not established on man's doctrines or lies. The apostle is also the spiritual authority to come against the strongholds in the Spirit. The prophets are to hear from God and to speak the 'now' word of God into a situation and strengthen the body and encourage. The prophets and apostle work closely together to grow the body into maturity. As mature sons we can have the power and authority to be able to walk as God intends us to walk.
11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. Ephesians 4:11-16 (NKJV)
6. Know God's plans for His Sons
a. To Fill the Earth with the knowledge of His glory.
When we look at the world it is so easy to see doom and gloom. God has instead given us a hope that His plans for the earth are in fact good and that he will fill the earth with the knowledge of His glory through us as His sons.
14 For the earth will be filled
With the knowledge of the glory of the Lord,
As the waters cover the sea. Habakkuk 2:14 (NKJV)
In Isaiah we read about the glory of the Lord having been risen upon us.
The Gentiles Bless Zion
60 Arise, shine;
For your light has come!
And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.
2 For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth,
And deep darkness the people;
But the Lord will arise over you,
And His glory will be seen upon you.
3 The Gentiles shall come to your light,
And kings to the brightness of your rising. Isaiah 60:1-3 (NKJV)
b. Make Disciples.
Jesus is very clear about what He has called us to do. We are to no longer just go to 'church' but to first be discipled and then disciple others. There has been a change in several Christian families as they have taken this 'commission' seriously and have taken their children from the institution of school and have chosen to make sacrifices and to not only educate but disciple their children at home. This has been having a huge effect not only on the children but on the parents has they have had to grow to feed and grow their children.
16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted.
18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. Matthew 28:16-20 (NKJV)
c. Live in the Kingdom of God not of this world
God is calling us to understand what living in the Kingdom of God is and to do this. He is calling us to stop living in the world, but to both understand the Kingdom of God, see everything through the Kingdom of God perspective and to speak what we see from a Kingdom of God perspective. We are called to develop 'Kingdom of God eyes' which will change how we think, talk and act. Jesus HAS come and brought in His Kingdom to live in now. We are needing to learn to both see what is happening from God's perspective and to pray for this and to talk about things from the Kingdom of God perspective. This totally changes how we live, walk and talk to others.
13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, Colossians 1:13 (NKJV)
d. To walk in the power of God. To expect that as sons of God He will do amazing things through us.
The mentality that the amazing works and miracles were only for the time of Jesus and the disciples does not come from the Bible. Jesus has sent us to not only go out and to preach the gospel to every creature, but as we go out in Jesus name there will be many signs that accompany us. We read about this in the Great Commission in Mark 16.
14 Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. 15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” Mark 16:14-18 (NKJV)
When we walk in the power of God we will walk in righteousness, God's glory will protect us and we will bring healing and light wherever we go.
8 Then your light shall break forth like the morning,
Your healing shall spring forth speedily,
And your righteousness shall go before you;
The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Isaiah 58:8 (NKJV)
e. To believe and to walk in the power of the Word of God.
We are being called to know, believe and then walk in the power of the Word of God. By reading, understanding, believing and walking in what the Word says we can learn to walk in the power of God.
When both read the word ourselves and speak the word to others as we are led by the Spirit, we know that the Word will do what God intends.
11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:11 (NKJV)
As we walk in the power of the word of God nothing can stand against us. We should be walking so that whatever weapon used against will not stand.
17 No weapon formed against you shall prosper,
And every tongue which rises against you in judgment
You shall condemn.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
And their righteousness is from Me,”
Says the Lord. Isaiah 54:17 (NKJV)
f. To be moulded and shaped by God. To allow Him to chastise us and create what He wants in us.
As we learn to walk as son of God, we know that God as our father wants to correct us and continue to place us on the right path. We are to welcome and thank God when he corrects us and causes us to stop doing the wrong thing and to walk the path He has for us. This moulding and shaping is compared to the work of a potter on the potter's wheel in both Isaiah 64 and Jeremiah 18. We need to be pliable and allow God to shape us as He plans and sees fit.
8 But now, O Lord,
You are our Father;
We are the clay, and You our potter;
And all we are the work of Your hand .Isaiah 64:8 (NKJV)
The Potter and the Clay
18 The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying: 2 “Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause you to hear My words.” 3 Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something at the [a]wheel. 4 And the vessel that he [b]made of clay was [c]marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make.
5 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: 6 “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?” says the Lord. “Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel! Jeremiah 18:1-6 (NKJV)
g. To be priests
We have been chosen not just to be sons, but are raised to be priests to serve God to offer ourselves up as a spiritual sacrifice that is acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
6 and has made us [a]kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. Revelation 1:6 (NKJV)
10 And have made [a]us kings[b] and priests to our God;
And [c]we shall reign on the earth.” Revelation 5:10 (NKJV)
4 Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 2:4-5
9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. 1 Peter 2:9-10
h. To grow as trees of righteousness
A goal of disciples of God is to grow as trees of righteousness. To reject man and his ways, but to fully trust and hope in the Lord. Then we will not only flourish as trees of righteousness, but we will also bear much fruit. Our lives will not be dry but fruitful.
5 Thus says the Lord:
“Cursed is the man who trusts in man
And makes flesh his [a]strength,
Whose heart departs from the Lord.
6 For he shall be like a shrub in the desert,
And shall not see when good comes,
But shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness,
In a salt land which is not inhabited.
7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
And whose hope is the Lord.
8 For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not [b]fear when heat comes;
But its leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
Nor will cease from yielding fruit. Jeremiah 17:5-8 (NKJV)
The Great Promise To Look Forward To
Finally, in Isaiah 65 we read that God is restoring and creating through us a new kingdom where the sins and evil of now will be removed and the whole world will function as God intends with no war, sickness, hunger etc.. As we are led by sons of God we will bring in this new restored earth, where things are all working fully under God's protection, direction and plans. We are working as sons to bring this time in.
The Glorious New Creation
17 “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth;
And the former shall not be remembered or [a]come to mind.
18 But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create;
For behold, I create Jerusalem as a rejoicing,
And her people a joy.
19 I will rejoice in Jerusalem,
And joy in My people;
The voice of weeping shall no longer be heard in her,
Nor the voice of crying.
20 “No more shall an infant from there live but a few days,
Nor an old man who has not fulfilled his days;
For the child shall die one hundred years old,
But the sinner being one hundred years old shall be accursed.
21 They shall build houses and inhabit them;
They shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
22 They shall not build, and another inhabit;
They shall not plant, and another eat;
For as the days of a tree, so shall be the days of My people,
And My elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
23 They shall not labour in vain,
Nor bring forth children for trouble;
For they shall be the descendants of the blessed of the Lord,
And their offspring with them.
24 “It shall come to pass
That before they call, I will answer;
And while they are still speaking, I will hear.
25 The wolf and the lamb shall feed together,
The lion shall eat straw like the ox,
And dust shall be the serpent’s food.
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain,”
Says the Lord. Isaiah 65:17-25 (NKJV)
18 We have been with child, we have been in pain; We have, as it were, [b]brought forth wind; We have not accomplished any deliverance in the earth, Nor have the inhabitants of the world fallen. Isaiah 26:18
We are being raised up as God’s people to walk with power and authority on the earth. The mission the Father gave Jesus is still our mission. It starts by walking on the Highway of Holiness. Being effective starts by growing from infants to sons of God. Then we learn to die to ourselves and walk in the Spirit. When doing this we can hear, discern and follow God’s voice. We are established in the good works God has made us for through being equipped with the gifts God has for us as His sons. Living with power means with are filling the earth with the knowledge of the glory of God. We live in the spiritual kingdom of God, walking in the power of God. We know, believe and live the Word of God and are moulded and shaped by God. We intentionally live as priests and grow as trees of righteousness.
A new things is happening. We will give birth to many sons and achieve much deliverance on the earth. Seek God for something new in your life and start this amazing journey walking with power, purpose and authority.