Finish The Sentence…

Simon LawtonInspiration2 Comments

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Have you found yourself finishing other people’s sentences?! We’ve all done it! Several years ago there was an incredibly funny sketch by the Two Ronnie’s (UK comedians) that was set in a bar where two older guys are having a chat. One of the two (Ronnie Corbett) pauses for a moment to try and remember the end of his sentence and each time he does the other guy (Ronnie Barker) steps in with a very funny conclusion to the sentence which is clearly not the correct one!

There’s a sentence that I want us to consider finishing because it is the key to full and abundant living….’It’s in Christ…’

Here’s how the sentence finishes:

It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for.’ (Ephesians 1:11-12 MSG)

I believe this verse gives us one of the keys to enjoying and being fulfilled in this big adventure of life that God has put us on….

I’ve come across so many people who don’t really get who they are & why they are here?

  • They have no sense on identity
  • They suspect they’re more than an number or an accident….
  • That there has to be something more to life than this….

And of course this impacts their lives and people say….’I don’t get what I’m living for…….’

I mean, is it really to work your butt off for years in the hope of paying down the mortgage, rent, and having something to show for it at the end…

‘It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for.’ (Ephesians 1:11-12 MSG)

It’s so crucial we get this……that, He, Jesus Christ, is the key.
The one who said: ‘I have come that you might have life and life in all its fullness’  (John 10:10) truly meant it!!

The rest of this incredible passage reads like this….
‘How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.

Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we’re a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free! He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth.

It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.’

(Ephesians 1:3-12 MSG)

So……It’s in Christ….that…

1. I discover God had a long range plan for my life!

He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan….

The Bible seems to suggest this over and over again….

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you’  (Jeremiah 1:5) What an incredible statement!

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.’ (Psalm 139:13-16)

Mind blowing truth from the Bible!

It’s in Christ that I discover….

2. I am the focus of God’s love
I find this incredible!

I mean; I ‘get’ human love…which is pretty amazing….but the creator of the universe…having time for me and loving me….WOW!

‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.’

(John 3:16)

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!’ (1 John 3:1)

The hymn writer depicts God’s love so powerfully in these words:
‘How deep the Father’s love for us, How vast beyond all measure, That He should give His only Son To make a wretch His treasure…’

God’s love is amazing and needs to be experienced by each of us!

It’s in Christ that I discover….

3. God wants to be Father to me!

Orphan generation
We live in an orphan generation of sadly absent fathers and mothers for all kinds of reasons and our Heavenly Father wants to adopt us….part of His long range plan…

God’s long range plan was to adopt us, bless us & provide everything we would need for life & godliness.

Adoption is a choice….wow!
God chose you and me, before the beginning of time!

There is no need to live with rejection: the world, even our parents, family, friends reject us…but He never has and never will!

It truly is a wonderful thing to know that though I might feel rejected: I’ve been chosen, adopted and now belong to the family of God.

Adopted as a child
I have the certificate to prove it….my name is written in a register in Leicester BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY….my name is written in God’s book…

It’s in Christ that I discover….

4. New found identity in Christ
My identity before adoption… was Paul Wayne Hathaway…

But that day….I received a new identity…

The day we receive Jesus Christ…we receive a new identity
Realise that our identity is in Christ!!

Realise – you were not an accident, a mistake, unwanted, a problem, a number, a difficult child….and that actually God loves you, created you, made you unique and has an amazing plan & purpose for your life. Wow!

How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind (amazing….) had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.’

Part of that long range plan & new identity was wholeness, freedom & provision…

Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we’re a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free! He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth.’ (Ephesians 1:3-10 MSG)

When I look back….it’s not just the freedom from sin and it’s penalty but also freedom..

From all my fears, insecurities, rejection, anger, pride, drive ness and vows that I had personally made.

There truly is wholeness & freedom in Christ…to BE everything God has uniquely gifted and called me to be!

5. That everything falls into place…
‘It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.’
(Ephesians 1:11-12 MSG)

We come alive in Christ (2:12) and even more so when we get on board with God’s long range plan for our lives…

We can enjoy the adventure of our lives if we are willing to connect with Him

It’s in Christ that everything falls into place
‘In Him’, Paul says, we live & move and have our being!

When I look back on my life (one day I will tell the full story) of being adopted at an early age and all the many ‘co-incidences’ that took place to get me where I am today….it is incredible the way, as I have attempted to follow Christ, that everything has fallen into place – it appears ‘someone’ had a plan!

In fact I believe that right now I’m doing the very thing that I was born for! You see ‘In Christ’ we have a destiny! ‘In Christ’ there is a long range plan!

It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for.

CAN I ENCOURAGE YOU TODAY:

Put our trust totally in the God who has a long range plan
‘For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ (Jeremiah 29:11)

Remembering that…in Christ…we experience and know:
The love of Father God (He longs to be Father to us!)
Adoption (by choice) & acceptance & we belong (maybe for first time!)
New identity
Wholeness, freedom & provision
That everything falls into place….he has a long range plan.

Determine to stay on course in spite of set backs & problems!
Acknowledgement: my journey has not been all plain sailing! I have suffered loss, bereavement, disappointment, times of great despair, financial disaster, suffering, pain, rejection and attacks. There have been several occasions when I have nearly thrown the towel in (trust me!).

Maybe you are going through difficulties and challenges today
Trust deeply….in the God who has a long range plan….
The God who promised

Listen to me….people of Israel, you whom I have upheld since your birth, and have carried since you were born. Even to your old age and grey hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. “With whom will you compare me or count me equal? To whom will you liken me that we may be compared?’
(Isaiah 46:3-5)

Trust in Jesus Christ and keep going! Never quit! Never give up!

As the hymn writer reminds us:

In Christ Alone, my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand:
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.

(Stuart Townend & Keith Getty Copyright © 2001 Thankyou Music)

PRAYER
Almighty God and loving heavenly Father, thank you that you love me, have chosen me and have accepted me into your family.

Thank you that….

It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone…

I want to put my trust in you today. I’m putting my life into your hands. Help me to discover in my relationship with you the amazing plan you have for my life as part of your long range plan. I give you permission to take me on a big adventure. I want to live a life without restriction and live a life that counts and that will glorify you! Please strengthen me and help me to discover in You all that I need in the days that lie ahead. Amen

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