April 16, 2023
There’s an old test that people have used to determine if you are an optimist or a pessimist: “Do you see the glass half full or half empty?” If you see the glass as half full, you are living in the anticipation of more whereas if you see the glass as half empty you live in anticipation of less. As we look back over the struggles of the past couple of years in which there is a trend of focusing upon loss, so the tendency is to anticipate more loss to come which makes one depressed. However, if in the midst of the situation we can turn our eyes upon the blessings we have in Jesus Christ, then no matter what our current situation, there’s an anticipation of more to come.
Check out this verse:
Romans 15:29 (ESV) — 29 I know that when I come to you, I will come in the fullness of the blessing of Christ.
That’s an interesting statement coming from the apostle Paul who was persecuted and struggled on every hand in his ministry. Nevertheless, he anticipated coming to Rome in the “fullness of the blessing of Christ.” If we can just get a handle on how Paul had such confidence in the fullness of blessing, then we too can live with anticipation of more rather than less.
Consider that the fullness of the blessing of Christ begins with the fullness of the person of Christ.
Ephesians 1:22–23 (ESV) — 22 And he put all things 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 blessing of Christ is full because He is full or complete. In fact, He was known for doing everything in abundance. Remember when He fed the multitude and when He blessed Peter and the others who were fishing to cast their nets on the other side of the boat? The result was “fullness of blessing.”
John 6:13 (ESV) — 13 So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten.
Luke 5:6–7 (ESV) — 6 And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. 7 They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.
He, Who is fullness Himself, is not stingy in blessing His people. Notice how He is described as the “fullness of the Godhead” and the blessing of fullness in Him is what flows to us.
Colossians 2:9–10 (ESV) — 9 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10 and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.
“Filled in Him” or as the KJV translated it, “complete in Him.” That is a blessing that is full and overflowing, or if you please, fullness of blessing.
John 1:16 (ESV) — 16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. God’s grace is His unmerited favor toward us and gifted to us through the Lord Jesus Christ. Because of Him and His fullness as God manifest in the flesh, we have received grace but even more – grace upon grace. Now that is hard to comprehend – “favor upon favor” all because of Him.
Ephesians 2:4–7 (ESV) — 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.
Do you get the picture? From His fullness we have blessings now and in the future that are better than can ever be imagined. Yes, even in times of suffering we have hope. How good is hope? It’s far better than a wish, it’s an expectation that is positive, but just not yet. Here’s how it is described:
Romans 5:1–5 (ESV) — 1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Romans 8:16–19 (ESV) — 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. 18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.
Notice the principle of “fullness of blessing” found in taking the word of God serious enough to apply it:
John 15:11 (ESV) — 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
Romans 15:13 (ESV) — 13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
Ephesians 5:18–19 (ESV) — 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart,
Is there any reason to be caught in the pessimistic ways of the world when our Lord has provided the “fullness of blessing” in every circumstance of life? The reason we get caught in that pessimism is because we have taken our eyes off the prize which is why Paul relayed an important prayer which when applied brings us out of the pit of pessimism to the anticipation of the “fullness of blessing.”
Ephesians 3:14–20 (ESV) — 14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,
Bob Brubaker, Pastor