Skip to content

Seated

December 11 2022
Book: Ephesians
Audio Download

Bible Passage: Ephesians 2:4-7

Most of the time we celebrate Christmas in the church by talking about the birth of Jesus. And that is a valuable thing to do, because the Incarnation is an important miracle. But we almost never talk about the present. What is Jesus doing right now and why does it matter?

The Bible tells us and that’s our topic today. We’re going to look at three places in the New Testament, starting with Ephesians 2:

4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, 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, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

Where is Jesus? Seated in heaven. Now look at Colossians 3:

1 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.

Where is Jesus? Seated in heaven. Finally, look at Hebrews 12:

1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,

2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Where is Jesus? Seated in heaven. Seated at the right hand of God. Where has Jesus been for the past 2,000 years, according to the Bible? Sitting down.

Jesus was only a baby for a short time. He was physically present on the earth for only 33 years. But He has been sitting down in heaven for 2,000 years! He’s alive. He’s breathing. He has a pulse. And He’s sitting in heaven.

This is slightly confusing to us because we think of sitting as a position of weakness. We think of the player sitting on the bench, like Cristiano Ronaldo. We would rather be in the game.

And so, it might be easy for us to think of Jesus sitting and assume that He is sitting idle while the world falls apart. Is Jesus powerless or unconcerned? Is He sitting there watching history from His throne the way we watch TV from the couch?

But that’s the wrong image because Scripture portrays sitting in a much different way, especially sitting on a throne. Jesus is in a position of power and authority. He’s ruling. He’s watching. He’s praying. He’s leading.

And in context, if you look closely at each of the verses we read – there is a direct relationship between Jesus and the church. Who we are has a lot to do with where Jesus is!

Let’s go back and look more closely, starting with Ephesians 2.

4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—

The Apostle says that we are loved by God. We have been made alive with Christ. We have been saved by grace.

6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

We have been raised up with Christ. We have been seated with Christ. We have an inheritance of immeasurable wealth.

But focus on that second promise on the screen. God seated us with him in the heavenly places. Past tense. It has already happened.

Look around… are you physically seated in heaven? Do you see Jesus? No. So what is Paul saying? One day we will actually be with Christ physically.

And in the greatest sense, there is a future reality implied – a time when we will exist in perfect harmony with  God and dwell in a fully repaired world with sinless bodies and no death.

But he says “seated” in past tense to imply that in some sense we are already on the next level with Christ. Our future is so certain, Paul can talk about it as if it has already happened!

This is no small thing. It begs a question – am I seated in the knowledge that I am seated with Christ? Am I resting in the knowledge that I am resting in Christ? The Apostle is telling us to define our lives by our hope.

In some ways, we already know how to do this. We are taught to think a lot about the future. We define ourselves by our hopes and dreams, especially when we are young.

People asked us constantly – what do you want to do when you grow up? What do you want to be? And I always had an answer ready – I’m going to work for NASA one day! That was my dream. And when I started college, my major was Aerospace Engineering. I even had an internship working in a lab with a graduate student designing a plasma rocket system.

I went home from for Christmas break excited about my future. There was just one problem. I’m terrible at math and science. I got my first transcript in the mail, and I was devastated to find that I had failed Calculus and Chemistry. My dream died that day.

Many of you have probably had moments like that. Recovering from broken dreams can be difficult. Failure stinks. What do you do when you realize the future you imagined is out of reach? I could have kept trying, but God didn’t make me an engineer and that’s not the point.

The point is we know what it feels like to define our lives by the future, by our hopes and dreams. And the Apostle is leveraging that feeling, because the Bible takes the guess work out of our future.

The future of the Christian is not defined by our successes and failures. We are defined by our hope in a perfect Savior… a risen King.

Imagine if you knew with certainty where you will be in 10 years. That would be pretty cool, right? Maybe. I guess it depends on the answer.

Better yet. Where will you be in 1000 years? Is that a crazy question? No. Not if you believe God’s word! God says, “Let me tell you who you are and make it a little easier for you.  Let me tell you where you are going.”

We have been granted a seat in the eternal kingdom.  If we are united to Jesus, then we don’t have to worry about the future and if we don’t have to worry about the future, then we don’t really have to worry about the present.

Because right now, Jesus is preparing a place for us. John 14:

1 Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.

Most of the time, we allow ourselves to be defined by our worries.  And so, what do you worry about?

Are you worried about the future?  Are you worried about the past?  Worried about your marriage? Or your parents? Worried about grades? Worried about money?  Worried about finding love? Worried about your health? Worried about death?

“Let not your hearts be troubled…I go to prepare a place for you”

If you’re ever in a situation where you go through a line to get your food and then you have to find a seat, it can be awkward right?  What if all your friends got to a table first and they filled all the seats leaving you to sit somewhere else?  That is a horrible feeling, right?  But if one of your friends remembers you and saves you a seat, it makes you feel like part of the group.

This is what Jesus is saying to the Christian: “Stop acting like you don’t already have a place at my table!”

We should know what it feels like to be loved eternally in Christ!  We should always feel included, accepted, cherished, on the inside!

The only reason we wouldn’t feel that way is because sin has deceived us again. God loves and accepts His children in Christ, and we didn’t do anything special to earn it.  It’s just true. You are ok!  And I know is an everyday struggle, to believe God’s promise, to live like this is true.

But if we believe Jesus is coming again, then it will change our lives right now!

One of the first things they teach you in Wilderness training is that if you get lost in the woods, and you have no idea which way to go, then you should stay put.  Moving decreases the odds that a search party will find you.

What if no one is looking? What if you believe no one is looking? What should you do then? Move. Try to find your way home.

But if you know someone is looking and you know that staying put is the best thing to do, what will you do?  You will sit and wait.

The Marines have a saying – no one gets left behind…  In the movie Blackhawk Down, which is based on a true story, a pilot named Mike Durant was badly injured in a crash and surrounded by enemies. His fellow marines fly around the city announcing over a loudspeaker: “Mike Durant, we won’t leave you behind.”

Two men volunteered to drop in and protect Durant. Both were killed and Mike was captured, but eventually released. He kept flying and retired as a decorated veteran.

The Bible tells us clearly, many times, that Jesus won’t leave his people behind. You aren’t left behind! Stay put and believe He is coming back.

What if you don’t believe He’s coming back?  What will life look like for you?

You will try to save yourself… which is what we all do every day in different ways.  We want our lives to get better now, and we believe we can do it better than God, so we work hard at making that happen.  We try to be what we think we should be and it’s like walking in circles lost in the woods.

This is not as good as it gets.  Our longings for something more will someday be a reality.

The only way you will stop trying to be satisfied with what this world offers is to long for Jesus to return. And He will.

English English Spanish Spanish