Rabbi Schneider - Identity of an Overcomer
I want to make a comment that I think is very important for us to consider as we're studying the book of Ephesians. I want to remind our listeners today that Paul was the apostle, the Jewish apostle, that planted the church in Ephesus. And when he wrote this letter to them, we read in Ephesians chapter 3 verse 1 as well as in Ephesians chapter number 4 verse 1 that Paul was a prisoner. And so he had planted this church in Ephesus, and now he was in prison. And so in Ephesians 3:1 we read this, for this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles. What type of prisoner was he? He was a real prisoner in a real, material prison. Chapter number 4 verse 1, he says this, I therefore the prisoner of the Lord entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you've been called.
So here's Paul writing this letter that we're studying now, one of the deepest, most profound letters in the entire Word of God that Paul wrote, and yet he's doing it from prison. The point that I'm making is that when he spoke about being in prison, he didn't blame it on men, he didn't say that you know, I don't know how this happened, these rebels, they put me in prison. He didn't do that. But rather what he said was that he was the prisoner of the Lord. Here he is in a prison, but rather than condemning his accusers and rather than pointing his finger and placing the blame on those that had put him in prison, he saw his imprisonment, beloved, as part of God's sovereign plan for his life. And so he said in Ephesians 3:1 and 4:1 that he was in prison, get this now, as the prisoner of the Lord.
Now, the reason that I say this is because you and I need to begin to filter what's happening in our life not as the result of what somebody else has done to us, not simply as the result of chance, but we need to look at what's happening in our life, beloved, and filter it through the sovereignty of God. Rather than thinking that we're just in this world as victims, rather than just thinking that we are in this world and everything around us is happening by chance, we need to do what Paul did and recognize that the circumstance he was in, although difficult, was part of God's sovereign plan for his life. He called himself, get this now, the prisoner of the Lord. I remember the other week, several weeks back, about three weeks, a month ago, I was driving down the road. And as I was driving down the freeway, beloved, a big, huge chunk of ice from a semi that was heading the other way down this freeway, I was going one direction, I was heading north and it was heading south, and this big, huge chunk of ice from this semi flew off the semi, fell on my car. I mean, it put a big dent on the front of the hood of my car.
And it was just like, you know, I didn't think much about it at the time. I said Lord, why did this happen, but I didn't give it a whole lot of thought. It wasn't but two weeks later, I'm driving down a road. This time I'm driving, beloved, down a different road. And I'm going just about three miles an hour because traffic was moving very, very slowly. And all of a sudden, I'm driving down this single-lane road about three to five miles an hour, and all of a sudden from behind me, boom, somebody slams into my car from behind me. My glasses go flying off my face. And I couldn't believe it. I mean, within the matter of three weeks, I'm hit by a huge ice piece that flew off another person's trunk dented my car, now somebody slams me from behind. And I pull over when this person slammed me from behind, I get out of my car. And when I get out of my car, this person that rear-ended me from behind, he jumps around me. He's in his car. He never got out. He just beams around me in his car, and he hits the car and runs. And a hit and run accident.
I called the police, and they said you know, we're probably not going to be able to do anything. And they said it's probably a situation where the car's registered to somebody else, and there's probably about 50 of them that are sharing the same car, and you're going to have to pay your own deductible and everything else. And I was very upset. But I began to ask the Lord why. I mean, I haven't been in an accident, praise God, in 10 years. And now in the course of two, three weeks, I'm hit twice. And when something like that happens, I always say what's going on, God? This must mean something. And as I began to inquire in the Lord, I felt like the Lord was trying to help me to understand even in a deeper way that I'm in a war. Because it just so happened that on the way back from getting a pillow, this pillow that I was purchasing when I got hit from behind, it was for a room in my home that I call my war room, where I've got three pictures of battleships, and I sit in there and I meditate and I pray and I seek the Lord. And I'm going to get a pillow for this room, and on my way back, bam from behind, a hit and run accident, and I'm thinking what's going on?
And you know, I used to feel like I was driving a nice car. Now I feel like I'm driving a tank around, it's got so many dents in it. And the Lord said that's right. You're driving a tank. You're in a war. And God was trying to make that point. And the reason again, beloved, that I'm saying this and telling you the story and pointing out how Paul in prison considered himself a prisoner in the Lord is to try to help you to understand that rather than just blaming people for your circumstances or thinking that your circumstances are just the result of chance, recognize, beloved, that many of the circumstances that we're in are the direct result, listen now, of the sovereign hand of God in our life. And when things begin to happen, rather than look at the world or blame the world, let's ask ourself, God, what are you saying to me in this? What lesson are you trying to teach me? What are you communicating to me?
And when we realize, beloved, that our life is not the result of chance and that we're not simply victims of whatever may happen, but rather that our life is dictated by the sovereignty of God, we'll have peace in our life. Because if you and I think that we're so vulnerable that whatever happens to us in life is simply the result of chance or of being a victim, or of luck, if that's the way we think it is, we'll never have any peace, because there is no peace in that. It's chaos. But if we believe, beloved, that our hands are in the Lord, as Paul did, I'm a prisoner of the Lord, when we believe that our life is in the Lord's hands and he is orchestrating our life and orchestrating our circumstances, we'll have peace, beloved, and we'll have trust, and with that comes rest. Because without trust, there is no rest.
And so I just wanted to point out that as Paul is bringing forth these deep revelations of Scripture in Ephesians, he's writing from prison, and he understood his imprisonment, beloved, to be the direct assignment of the Lord. He may have never had the abundance of revelation, beloved, that he's given the world through the book of Ephesians had he not been in prison. If he was traveling all over on his missionary journeys by foot and constantly dealing with this circumstance and that circumstance and the food and places to stay and opposition from people that would come when traveling by foot preaching the Gospel, he may have never had time to sit down long enough as he did in prison and be in a position where he could receive from the Holy Spirit the revelation that he's giving us in the book of Ephesians, which is one of the deepest revelations, beloved, in the entire Word of God.
So again, in closing with this, I just want to encourage you, don't blame, don't think it's by chance, but look to the Lord, beloved, to try to understand what's happening in your life and why. The Father says I am God, and there is no other. I form light and I create darkness. I cause well being, and I create calamity. I am God, the Lord said to Isaiah, that does all these things. There's one God and there is no other, beloved, and he is the Master of the universe. We say in Hebrew, Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech Ha-olam. It's the beginning of almost every blessing. Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech Ha-olam. And what that means is blessed art thou, oh Lord our God, listen now, King of the universe. He reigns, beloved, supreme. He wants us to be able to trust him in this and recognize, beloved, that our circumstances in our life, hallelujah, are in his hands.
Well, with that being said, I want to move back in now to Ephesians chapter 1, verse 17, where we're looking at the prayer of Paul. As we look at Ephesians chapter 1, verse 17 and 18, he is praying, Paul was praying for us that the Father would give us a spirit of wisdom and revelation to know three things. Number one, Paul prays that we would know God. Not just about God, but that we would know him. As I said on last week's broadcast, it's the difference between reading about fire in a book and sticking our hand over it and getting burned by it. Big difference. God wants us to know him personally in a real way. Secondly, Paul prays that we would understand the hope of our calling. And thirdly, Paul prays that we would understand the riches of God's glory that's in us.
So let's read now the Word of God, Ephesians 1, verse number 17, hallelujah, and 18. Paul prays that the God of the Lord Jesus Christ, of Yeshua HaMashiach, the Father of glory. We're going to get to this in a second. Mark that word, though. The Father of glory. What type of Father do we have? A glorious Father. And if he's our glorious Father and we're his sons, then we must be his glorious children, amen? We're looking at identity and destiny. You are a glorious child of God, and your Father is the Father of glory. That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and revelation, number one, in the knowledge of him, that you would know God. Continue in verse 18. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened that you might know what is the hope of his calling.
Now he's praying that you'll know your destiny and your future. Because hope in Scripture is always connected to something in the future. And it's not just wishful thinking. When the Bible uses the word hope, it's not wishful thinking. It's not like he loves me, he loves me not, he loves me, no, it's the assurance, beloved, of a real reality that's a sure thing. And so he wants us to be strengthened in the assurance, beloved, that we're going to heaven and that we're called to glory. And so he prays, I pray that the eyes of your heart might be enlightened, that you might know what is the hope of his calling, number two. And number three, and what are the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints. And we're going to also pick up in verse number 19 after we get through these.
Now, I want to once again talk about this concept of this information coming to us by way of the Spirit. The Scripture says, eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and neither has it ever entered into the heart of man the things that God has prepared for those that love him, and these things God reveals to us, Paul said, by his Spirit. And this is what Paul was talking about here, that God by his Spirit would give us a comprehension, hallelujah, of these holy and these heavenly realities. Bless the name, hallelujah, of the Lord.
Let's get back and realize that this prayer is going up, verse number 17, beloved, listen now, to the Father of glory. As we're considering our identity and destiny, this is a very important word. Some of us might not have really meditated much on this word. We read it in Scripture, we know that God's a glorious God, we've maybe even sung songs about his glory, but have we ever really thought about, have we ever really thought about our Father is the Father of glory? Why is he the Father of glory? Because there's no other Father like him, beloved. There's no other Father like him. He's the Father of glory. And the Hebrew word for glory is the Hebrew word "kavod", and it means rich, heavy, weighty, great, deep and valuable. And not only is your Father the Father of glory, but Paul says the Father's glory is in you.
And so look what he says there in verse number 18. He prays that we would understand the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints. Where are the riches of his glory? In you. We're talking about identity and destiny, where you're going and who you are. And this is what Paul was praying that we would grasp right here, that we're born, beloved, of the Father of glory, that his glory is in us, and that there's a glorious call upon, hallelujah, our lives. He prays that the Father would open our eyes, notice in verse number 17. I pray that the Father, he said, would open up the eyes of your heart. Actually verse 18. I pray that the eyes of your heart might be enlightened. Have you ever considered this phrase the eyes of your heart? Why does Paul pray I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened to understand these things in Ephesians 1:18?
Again, sometimes we hear Scripture, and we don't really take the time to meditate on it and ponder it enough to be able to absorb much of it. But if you think about eyes, what are eyes for? Eyes, our physical eyes, enable us to perceive and to see material objects and the material reality in nature of life. But here Paul is not praying that the Father would open up our natural eyes, but he's praying that the Father would open up our inward eyes, the eyes of our heart, that we'd be able to perceive and see spiritual realities and divine material objects, that he wants us to know, beloved, the things that he's revealing to us are real, they're sure. In fact, they're more real than the things that we see with our natural eyes. Because the things that we see with our natural eyes are dying and fading away, right? Cars are rusting, flowers die, the grass withers and the flowers fade. But you know what? The spiritual realities endure forever. That's why Yeshua said don't seek the things on the earth where moth and rust destroy, but seek, beloved, the things that are above where thieves can't break in and steal, and that it's incorruptible and that it's yours.
And so Paul is helping us now to understand this. And this is glorious. He keeps on using the word glory, that it's the Father of glory and that the glory of the Father is in us and he wants us to get ahold of this glory, again the Hebrew word kavod, that it's in us, that we're children of glory, sons of glory who've been adopted in the Son of glory by the Father of glory. Did you know all through Scripture this word glory is used. Again, I'm talking about your identity today. I want you to understand, beloved, that you have a glorious Father and that you're his glorious child. Don't let anybody ever make you look down at the ground again. You've got a glorious future and a heavenly calling. It doesn't matter what your boss thinks about you. It doesn't matter what your family thinks about you. It doesn't matter what the people in the neighborhood say about you, beloved. None of it's true, because the Father of glory has chosen you in his Son as a child of glory. And you're going to a glorious place, and his glory, Paul says, is inside you.
And I want you to understand, Paul prays, the riches of the glory of his inheritance in you. It was given to you for free. That's why Paul calls it in Ephesians 1:18 an inheritance. This whole theme of glory, beloved, we need to begin to receive it, we need to begin to enter into it, we need to be able to take the substance of it. We have a glorious future. We have a glorious God. We have a glorious calling, that the glory of God is in us, hallelujah. Glory, glory, glory. Did you know in Scripture, Yeshua is called the Lord of glory in 1 Corinthians 2:8. And in 1 Peter 4:14, the Spirit of God is called the Spirit of glory. So we're part of a glorious family with a heavenly Father who Ephesians 1:17 calls the Father of glory. So don't ever be ashamed of who you are, and don't ever be ashamed, beloved, of preaching the Gospel and being a witness, because your Father, beloved, is the heavenly Father, hallelujah, and the Lord of glory.
Yeshua HaMashiach is the firstborn and the only begotten, and we have been adopted, Ephesians 1:5, in him. Listen what Jesus prayed in John chapter 17, beloved, verse number 22 and 23. In John 17:22 and 23, Jesus said this, the glory, he said, he's praying to the Father. The glory which you have given me, I have given to them, that they may be one, just as we are one. I in them, and you in me. Yeshua's saying the glory that's mine, Father, I have given to them. And I'm going to prepare a place for them that where we are, hallelujah, they may also be. Paul speaks about this same reality in the book of 2 Thessalonians chapter number 2:14 when he says that the Lord called us. It says this. It was for this purpose he called you through our Gospel, that you might listen now, gain the glory of Yeshua HaMashiach, of Jesus the Christ. Isn't that an awesome thing? That's why Paul prays I hope you'll understand the hope of your calling.
You see, Jesus said these things I speak to you that my joy may be in you. When we really believe this, that we've been chosen, beloved, by the Father of glory, that he predestined us to be his children in his Son Messiah Jesus before the foundation of the world, that because we're in his Son, beloved, we're blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, that we have a Father of glory, that we're the children of glory and that we're going, hallelujah, to a glorious place, that the Scripture calls heaven, and not only this, did you know that right now if you really know the Lord, according to Paul in 2 Corinthians 3:18, you're being changed from glory to glory?
You see, Paul prays I want you to understand there's a glory that's at work in you. Listen once again to Ephesians chapter 1 verse 18. Paul is praying to the Lord, I pray that the eyes of your heart might be enlightened, that you might know what is the hope of his calling and what are the riches of the, get this now, glory of his inheritance in the saints. There's glory in you. And if there's glory in you, you know what? You are being changed, 2 Corinthians 3:18, from glory to glory into the image of the Father, into the image of the Son even now. And so anybody that's born of God should continually be changing. You know, we oftentimes hear that when people get to be a certain age, they no longer can change. Beloved, that's the farthest thing from the truth for a child of God. It doesn't matter if you're 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, even 100 years old. If you're a child of God, you should be changing, because you should be being transformed from glory to glory.
That's one thing my wife says that she appreciates about me. I'm always changing, always trying to grow. Paul says one thing is true about me. It's not that I'm perfect, but I keep on pressing on towards the upward call of God. He kept on growing. He was being changed, beloved. Anything that's not growing, beloved, and being changed is dying. And so I hope that you will yield to the Holy Spirit and allow the Spirit of God, cooperate with the Spirit of God to let him change you from glory to glory. And this means being willing, beloved, to confess our sin, to humble ourself, to admit when we're wrong, whether it be to our children, to our employers, to our fiancees, to our spouses, to our neighbors, to admit where you're wrong, take responsibility, because the Bible says when we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
And when there's that open channel, beloved, he can change us, hallelujah, from glory to glory. He's called us, 1 Peter 5:10, beloved, listen now, with his eternal glory. You've been called by glory, and you're going in, beloved, to his glory. I want to close with this Scripture today, Romans chapter 8, verse 29 and 30. The Lord says this through Paul, whom he foreknew. That means he foreloved you before the foundation of the world. Just like Paul says here in Ephesians chapter 1. Whom he foreknew, he also did predestinate. And whom he predestined, he also called. And whom he called, he also glorified.
So Father God, we bless you today. And we thank you, Father God, so much for choosing us in Messiah Jesus before the foundation of the world. Father, what can we say? Father, thank you for loving us. Thank you for the future we have. Thank you for the hope that we have. Thank you, Father God, that your Son is in us and that we're in him. And we pray, Father, that you'll empower us by the Holy Spirit to comprehend these realities, Father God, to know you, to love you, and that Yeshua, your joy, might be in us.