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Description: Depression or Happiness?
Depression or Happiness?
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
We’re dealing today with Ephesians 1:19, but the context begins in verse 15, “For this reason,
because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not
cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.” And then it’s important to remember
that all the rest of this is things that God must show to us because it’s easy to keep expounding
this and explaining it to each other and then get the idea that we can grasp it with our minds. But
finally we have to see that the context of this prayer is that God may give you this. That God may
give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him, and it’s important for us
individually to have that element.
It’s a wee bit like what I said rather poorly earlier this morning, that what we do here is
dependent on the invisible world of God the Father, and his Son, and the Holy Spirit, and the
angels. And despite all our efforts to share the books in the library with the world, and despite
all our efforts to be very intelligent, and thoughtful, and reflective, and analytical about these
things, finally we have to say, “God only can show us these things. He alone can make them real to
us.” So everything that we do needs to be done in that context; that God alone can show us these
things. And that’s the basis of this prayer; that God will give you a spirit of wisdom and of
I’ll just do one more commercial on that line. It’s easy for us to take these words and say, “God
may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation. Oh yes, well that really means that I get a spirit
of wisdom and revelation.” No. There’s a miracle in it that God will give you. In other words,
you can’t go to God and say, “Lord I ask you to give me a spirit of wisdom and revelation,” and
inside you’re thinking, “But I really know that I’ll have to get it myself, and I’ll just use my
head here and understand it properly.” Or, “I’ll obey my way into this.” No, it is really true
that God himself can make things alive.
Now “alive” that we haven’t seen before. And I’d push you – in your own experience, is it not true
that at certain moments, sitting in the car, or going to bed at night, or just waking up in the
morning, suddenly you see something and you see a whole light of truth that you’ve never seen
before? Or there comes to you a shaft of light from heaven that gives you confidence that God is in
charge? Is it not true that that’s the way revelation comes to us? It’s qualitatively different
from the truth that we perceive with our minds. It comes to us with its own stamp of authenticity.
We know this is true, and we feel it, and experience it. Now that’s what we mean by asking God to
give us a spirit of wisdom and revelation; it is a miracle from him that he can give us.
So that’s the context loved ones, and of course we’ve talked about what those are. “May give you a
spirit of wisdom and revelation of knowledge of him”, verse 18, “having the eyes of your hearts
enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you.” The hope is that we
will be forever part of Jesus, that’s the hope. Hope, in the Bible, is a sure confidence that
something will happen. Faith is a sure confidence that something has happened. Hope is a sure
confidence and expectation that something will happen, and that’s the hope that we will be forever a
part of Jesus, each one of us will be forever and ever part of Jesus.
Verse 18 continues “what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious
inheritance in the saints.” And the riches of God’s glorious inheritance in the saints is us
completely renewed — that’s Gods inheritance and it’s important to see that. I don’t know that we
dealt with that last time we discussed this verse, but it’s not our inheritance in God, its God’s
inheritance in the saints, and God’s inheritance in the saints is Jesus, Jesus completely renewed
and manifested. It’s as if God begot his only son, and inside his only son he put billions of us,
and one of those billions is Joe. And I know it sounds almost too daring, but God, when he created
us in Jesus, knew that Christ would be manifested completely only when he formed himself fully in
this man, or in this man, or in this women. I know it sounds almost dangerous so if you ask “Are
you saying that Christ would not be complete without Joe, or without Trish?” Obviously you have to
say Christ is complete in himself, but you can say that that completeness includes Trish and Martha
and each one of us and that he will only be completely manifested when he is seen in each of us as
he planned to be.
So that is God’s inheritance in the saints. He inherits in the saints his son crucified and raised
up and renewed with us absolutely new. God’s inheritance in the saints is seeing the renewed Greg
shining as he was raised up in Christ, and that’s Gods inheritance. And it is important to see that
an inheritance is not something that does not exist; it’s something that exists, it’s already in
existence. This is God’s inheritance in the saints. God created us, each one, in Jesus. He
allowed Jesus to bear all that we have caused him to bear through his lifetime, and he destroyed us
in Christ, and he remade us alive in Christ, and that is all done. That’s all done.
We ourselves are manifested in heaven at this time in Jesus completely new. Here on earth we’re
looking at an old photograph and it’s vital to see that. It’s vital to see that everything that
comes out of your mouth that is not Christ in all his beauty is actually an old photograph that has
already been destroyed. It’s the old life that was lived before God put you into the resurrected
renewal life of his son. So even the things that we do now that are not in agreement with Jesus’
Spirit, those things are the old life that was destroyed and that’s part of why they’re so old and
worn and so unattractive to us, and there seems to be a deadness about them; because they are the
old life that was destroyed, they’re an old photograph. Every time you look at that life you’re
looking at an old photograph that has been destroyed and crucified.
Now it’s important to grasp that that’s what faith is. There’s a tendency for us to think, “Faith
is that I work myself up into a conviction that God is going to do this kind of thing.” No, faith
is seeing the things that are unseen, but are in reality and existence. Faith is seeing that that
old self is done and finished with, and every time I see it apparently manifested here, I’m seeing
an old photograph, a photograph of something that used to be, but is no longer real. That’s why I
say an old photograph; just the same as if I look at photograph of my dad in a Salvation Army
uniform with his trumpet and his hat on.
Now he’s no longer like that, and that’s dead and gone. It’s an old photograph of something that
used to be so that’s why I say, “You’re looking at an old photograph,” and that’s why when we end up
with me saying something sarcastic or something hard or something critical, or you saying something
— whatever your particular weakness or sin is, when you do that you’re looking at something that
has already been destroyed, you’re looking at something that has been crucified, and faith is seeing
that, seeing it that way.
Now, you know whether you’re pretending or not, that’s it. You know whether you’re really exercising
faith about that thing or not, you know fine well. You know whether you’re saying, “Oh that’s what
I’m really like, but I’m supposed to believe whatsoever things are true and lovely and of good
report, so that’s not really me, I know that’s not.” No, you know when you’re playing that game.
Faith is accepting what God has said in his word; that you have been destroyed with Jesus and raised
up with him, and that has all gone. And when you see glimpses of that you’re looking at something
that used to be but is no longer and at that moment faith raises you up above it.
You see, that’s the difference between faith and pretence. Pretence says, “Oh yes that’s not really
me,” but has to struggle to get its self up on its feet and to try to go the way it should. Faith
doesn’t; faith in a moment sees, “That was what used to be, now I’m new in Christ, on we go.” Faith
has an immediate getting up. So that’s what God’s inheritance in the saints is. And then verse 19
is the one we’re dealing with, “and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power in us who
believe, according to the working of his great might which he accomplished in Christ when he raised
him from the dead and made him sit at his right hand in the heavenly places.” And what is the
immeasurable greatness of his power in us who believe?
Some things follow from the fact that we were created in Christ and completely destroyed in him, and
completely made alive. One thing is that you’re actually now a part of Christ; you are a finger, or
an arm of Christ — you are actually part of Christ now. Not only that, but all the old has been
destroyed and you’re looking at an old photograph when you look at your life that is unlike Jesus or
that was unlike Jesus, but you are now part of Jesus. You’re a bit of Christ, and God has given to
his own son this world for his enjoyment. Even though the world is in many ways in a fallen state,
it is still the world that God has given to his son to enjoy. That is; he’s given it to you to
enjoy. He’s given it to you to enjoy.
I’m sure I inherited more than I like to admit of the old puritanical attitude that governed the
Scots, and the Scot’s governed the Irish too. The thought was that if you’re enjoying yourself it
can’t be good, and if you’re really suffering than it’s good for you. I think I can remember my
mother’s words, “It’s good for your soul, if you have to suffer,” and of course it’s completely
opposite to what is the truth. God has actually given his son the world to enjoy and that’s why
Oswald Chambers translates one of those verses, he came unto his own as “He came to his own world.
He came to his own world, the world that belonged to him, and the world that he was at home in.”
And in some sense Christ is at home in this world even though it has signs of the fallen world that
it used to be. God has given this world to his son, and he’s given it therefore to us to enjoy.
God loves his own son, and you can imagine, gives him everything he needs.
That is, he gives to you everything that you need because you are in his son, you are part of his
son. He wants you to have everything you need. And that’s part of the meaning of the immeasurable
greatness of God’s power in us who believe. God gives to us the immeasurable greatness of his
power. It’s the power that was used in enabling Sarah to have a child long after she should have
stopped having children. And it’s the power that enabled Moses to turn back the Red Sea and the
power that enabled Jesus to raise Lazarus from the dead. It’s the power that enabled Peter to raise
the man that was lame from birth and that same power God is pouring into us because in this verse it
says, “The immeasurable greatness of his power into us who believe.” The preposition is “eis” –
“into” and it means God’s power is flowing into us every day and every second. And Paul is praying
that we would know that immeasurable greatness of power that is flowing into us from our loving
Father every day.
Now if it’s flowing in every day, why isn’t it manifested in us every moment? Well because of the
next two Greek words which are “tous pistuontae” or “flowing into those who believe.” The whole
purpose of God putting us into Jesus, and destroying us in him and making us alive in him is so that
we would experience heaven; so that we would be together with him in heaven and be at home with him
in heaven, because we want to be. So God will not force us into heaven. He puts us in heaven and
then says, “I ask you to believe, and if you believe you will experience heaven.” So the power
flows into those of us who believe.
So if the moment comes and we see ourselves on our own, and we say to ourselves, “I know all that
about me being in Christ and being part of Christ, and I know I’m really part of Christ, but I’m on
my own here, still, in this earth. I’m my own little person, and life is certainly pretty hard at
the moment; things are not going well for me, and I do feel sorry for myself at this present time.”
That’s untrue. But if you believe that, if you sink into self-pity, God cannot and will not act
against you. And that power, “the immeasurable greatness of his power” will not flow into you, and
you will at that moment experience all the desolation and death of unreality.
In other words, the moment we allow ourselves to think of ourselves as on our own, as not part of
Jesus but as this little Ernest O’Neil on his own, an ordinary little human being, the moment we
think of ourselves as that, that moment God is no longer able to pour the immeasurable greatness of
his power into us, and we sink down into ourselves. It’s the same, if you’ll excuse me reading for
a moment, I’ve tried to put it as clearly as possible: “When we sink into our own mental and
emotional life as we think of our near or distant futures, and wonder and worry about what will
happen to us or become of us, darkness and the unreality of loneliness fills our hearts and
experience. But when we see only Christ and his wishes, and ourselves as a little part of him,
elation and anticipation and uplift pour into our spirits from God.”
So if you’ll listen once more, because I think it’s so true. “When we sink into our own mental and
emotional life as we think of our near or distant futures, and wonder and worry about what will
happen to us or become of us.” So we’re sitting there thinking, “It’s alright now, but I wonder
what happens when Marty dies, or when Pastor dies. I wonder what will happen to me, how will I make
my way, and will I be on my own?” As you allow yourself to sink into — not those thoughts — but
into that unreality, as you allow yourself to sink into that, and wonder and worry about what will
happen to us or become of us, darkness and the unreality of loneliness fills our hearts and
experience. Why? Because God is saying, “That’s not true. I want you to know that’s not true;
you’re not on your own. You’re not a little poor puny human being on your own, making your own way.
You’re not; I’ve made you a part of my blessed son and you’re here with us in heaven.” God is
pouring darkness and desolation into you to shake you into reality. Satan is saying, “You’re right,
this is reality. This is what it’s like, and it’s gonna be worse than this.”
That’s what’s happening at that moment, but when we see only Christ and his wishes, and ourselves as
a little part of him then elation and anticipation and uplift pour into our spirits from God. In
other words, the immeasurable greatness of his power flows into us from where — from reality. Say
from heaven if you want, but heaven is reality. That’s reality. So we experience the immeasurable
greatness of his power as we face reality as it is.
I don’t know if my previous little sentence might be of some value to you, it’s more or less what I
said, “When we sink into self in self-pity, self-absorption, or depression and treat ourselves as on
our own rather than as part of Christ than desolation fills our hearts. But when we rise into the
reality of our position in Jesus and forget the old self that is now dead, God’s power and life of
joy pours into us.” That’s it.
So the moment we sink into self-pity, or self-absorption, or depression – now I don’t know how
you’re doing with depression. I think we give ground to Satan on that, because too readily we allow
ourselves to consider, “Well depression may be reasonable in this situation. Everybody suffers
depression, and so I’m not out of the ordinary.” I think it’s satanic. I don’t care if I preach
against myself on this or not, it’s satanic that suggestion that depression is understandable given
this situation. Depression is rank unbelief. It’s blatantly turning from the light that you
already have seen and known; the light that you are part of Jesus, that you are not some poor little
I don’t know how you all were brought up, I think you were brought up probably a little more
healthily than I was, I’m not sure. But my mother had her own challenges because of her own
background, but I remember very clearly, her saying to my brother and me, “Now don’t forget there’s
nobody outside this family cares about you in the same way as we care about you.” And I certainly
came up with a very clear notion that you are pretty much on your own, except for those who are near
and dear to you, and you certainly weren’t part of some great son of the Father. You were very much
on your own, and a little human being that had to make their way.
Now the moment we sink into that kind of depression, that moment we’re rejecting reality and we’re
moving into the unreality of the death that was destroyed in Christ. That’s why God out of his
great goodness allows the desolation and darkness of hell to pour into us, rather than the
immeasurable greatness of his power. So if you push me and say – and it’s very important that you
don’t lay it on yourself as a law — but if you push me and say, “Do you mean we should always be
happy?” There is no doubt at all, there is no doubt about that at all. Rejoice and again I say
rejoice. I still have a precious letter I think I told you about, when Dad was near the end and his
last letters to me I still have from the hospital and he says, “Be happy.” So yeah, there’s no
There is no reason for anyone of us to be for a second anything but happy, anything but rejoicing,
anything but looking up and saying, “Lord Jesus what fun it is to be part of you. How great it is
to be part of you. How wonderful to have your life flowing through me. How wonderful to be sharing
all your hopes and your certain confidences of the future. Lord Jesus, it is wonderful and great.”
That’s it. That’s reality and every second that’s what God has for us. Let us pray.
Dear Lord, we thank you for your great kindness to us. We thank you Father, for all that you have
arranged, for all the things that you have done to us and for us in your blessed son. And Lord
Jesus, you who stand with us so meekly this morning, who stand here so quietly, and so gently, and
with such a loving smile on your face, Lord we thank you. And dear Father, and blessed Savior, and
gracious Holy Spirit, we commit ourselves now to you for the fulfillment for all that you have done
in us and for us. We trust you for your grace that we may live in this reality every second here on
earth, and then forever with you in eternity.
Now the grace of our Lord Jesus and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with
each one of us now and evermore. Amen.