There is an old story about a man who wrestled with God. What he thought was an angel was God in human form pressing and wrestling with him through the darkest moment of his life.
– Like that man, there comes a crisis hour to each of us.
– All your talents fail.
– All your resources are spent.
– You are in a wrestling match and the question will be whether to tap out to the strange force that is bettering you, or leave beaten and bloody to fight another day.
Discussion: What kinds of things could we be wrestling with?
For some, this might be the first time in a long time you’ve been in church. Others, this might be a place of refuge and security.
But make no mistake:
– If today you are wrestling with a stranger, the stranger is God.
– If today, the territory you are contesting is sin; God has come to deliver you, not rob you.
– If today, RIGHT NOW, there is a sense that God is speaking to your heart, that you have been caught or found out by Him. Do not turn from Him!
Our study in Ephesians has brought us to the great triumph of the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus.
Paul, as we have noted, prays that our eyes would be opened, enlightened, so that we would know the truth.
1. He has called us.
2. He has given us all the riches of heaven.
3. He has entrusted in us the same power of the Holy Spirit that raises Him from the dead.
But what follows is a glimpse into eternity that is seldom afforded those on this side of heaven’s gate.
Ephesians 1:20-23 Which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
I want you to catch a glimpse of glory today. On that day that Jesus rose form the grave, He ascended from this earth back into heaven.
Remember what He said to Mary:
John 20:17 “Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.’”
Modern translation, “You’ve got to let me go! I’ll be back but I need to go see my Dad!”
Can you imagine the scene in heaven when the doors of the throne room opened and the Resurrected Jesus walked in?
And then the Father declares the sacrifice pure and sufficient and looks over at a throne next to His, at His right hand, and says:
– “Son, take your seat.”
– “The work is done.”
– “Salvation has been won!”
– “It is truly finished!”
All things are under His nail scarred feet.
All things are in subjection and submission to Him.
What authority does He have?
– over the devil
– over sin
– over the angels
But there is more:
Ephesians 1:22-23 He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
The Head, Jesus, must have a body, you and I, the Church, through which to work.
– We are the hands to do the work.
– The feet to run the race.
– The voice to speak the words.
– The heart to show the love and compassion.
Jesus Christ fulfilled the sacrifice needed to forgive sin.
But for you who are wrestling with an unseen force today, the words that follow are for you.
Ephesians 2:1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,
“Sin” – it is the word “hamar/tia” which is a shooting word that literally means “a miss.” Sin means to miss the target of life.
It doesn’t mean you are a murderer, thief, drunk, gangster or felon.
It means you have missed the mark.
It means you have failed to be what you ought to be and could be.
There’s another word too, because of sin, because of trespasses, we are “dead.”
Do you remember the movie “Princess Bride” and the character Miracle Max?
Miracle Max’s theology has caught on over the years.
Miracle Max: He probably owes you money huh? I’ll ask him.
Inigo Montoya: He’s dead. He can’t talk.
Miracle Max: Whoo-hoo, look who knows so much. It jus so happens that your friend here is only MOSTLY dead. There’s a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive. With all dead, well, with all dead there’s usually only one thing you can do.
Inigo Montoya: What’s that?
Miracle Max: Go through his clothes and look for loose change.
There’s no such thing as mostly dead.
People who think they are mostly dead –
– think that they can come back to mostly alive
– add a little religion, a few good deeds
– give some money, help out a neighbor
– but dead is dead
– good works do not earn salvation
You can tell a person who believes Miracle Max’s theology because they –
– refuse to give in to the reality that they are powerless over sin.
– they put up a front of knowing God with religion and friends but have never given up and submitted to Jesus’ plan.
– Their life is marked by hidden sin.
– Shame is always there.
– The sin that has captured them is never far.
– The relationships they love the most are further and further away. After all, it’s hard to stay close to rotting flesh.
But Jesus’ plan is in place.
Ephesians 2:5-6 Even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
“But God!” Rich in mercy! His great love!
When you are dead, He will make you alive.
vs. 6 And seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,Discussion: In what areas of your life do you need to change the way you walk? (to walk worthy?)
And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. (Gen. 32:24)
There comes a crisis hour to each of us, if God has called us to the highest and best, when all resources fail; when we face either ruin or something higher than we ever dreamed; when we must have infinite help from God and yet, ere we can have it, we must let something go; we must surrender completely; we must cease from our own wisdom, strength, and righteousness, and become crucified with Christ and alive in Him.
Oh, turn to Jacob’s God! Cast yourself helplessly at His feet. Die to your strength and wisdom in His loving arms and rise, like Jacob, into His strength and all-sufficiency. There is no way out of your hard and narrow place but at the top. You must get deliverance by rising higher and coming into a new experience with God. Oh, may it bring you into all that is meant by the revelation of the Mighty One of Jacob! – But God!