Rabbi Schneider — Identity And Destiny
Shalom, Yedidim, and God bless you, beloved ones. My name's Rabbi Schneider. Welcome to this edition of Discovering the Jewish Jesus. We are in the midst of a very important series called Identity and Destiny from the book of Ephesians chapters number 1 through 3.
I encourage you to go to our web site or call the number at the end of the broadcast and get this entire teaching.
Beloved, before I go on today picking up where I was last week as we talk about the glorious future we have in Messiah Jesus, that we've been blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, and before we examine Paul's prayer that prays that we would understand the riches of the glory of God's inheritance in us, before I get to that today, 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 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.
For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles. (Ephesians 3:1)
What type of prisoner was he? He was a real prisoner in a real, material prison. Chapter number 4 verse 1, he says this
Therefore I 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 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 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.