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  • Writer's pictureMichael Gott


The words in the title are a quote from Ephesians 3:8 in the Living Bible, and they speak of the “unfathomable riches of Christ” available to all believers.

Sometime ago there was a publication that detailed billions of dollars in banks deposited by people but unclaimed.  The purpose was to encourage people to come get what is yours by rights.  Now, if we transfer that to our relationship with God through Christ and say what is found in the New Testament; there are unclaimed riches.  Paul spoke of those riches; he said, God “who giveth us riches in all things” (I Timothy 6:17).  So there are “riches of his goodness” (Romans 2:4) and there are “riches of his grace” (Ephesians 1:7), also “riches of his full assurance” (Colossians 2:2), and finally “riches of his wisdom” (Romans 11:33), all waiting to be claimed.

In the background are the words from Old Testament wisdom, “With me are riches and … enduring wealth” (Proverbs 8:18).  But these are treasures that will never come into our lives unless we claim and fully possess them.  Yet, these are available, but they do not come into our lives automatically.

Some things came to us instantly when we were converted; for example, eternal life, forgiveness, a sense of belonging, peace within, plus unexplainable joy.  Ones that came with Christ’s coming into our life.  We must, I believe, look further into what is available to us, “the unsearchable riches in Christ.”  The reason is, far too many are living far beneath our privileges and not experiencing all He has and desires for us.

Therefore, and to prove I have a very simple mind, I want to put three headings before you on this important subject:

  • What We Must Do

  • What We May Do

  • What We Might Do

And first, what we must do; we must, as Jesus said, have a hunger and thirst.  “A deep and sober daily concern,” said Vance Havner, to please God is the rarest of rarities.”  If that is true, then a desire needs to be stirred within us to be more aware of what is ours in Christ.  Spurgeon told us what we must do, “Desires for more grace and groaning which cannot be uttered are growing pains and we should wish to feel them more and more.”

God provides for us riches in Christ such as continual fellowship and our heart being at His throne, an overflowing growth in grace, a keen sense of His presence, and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit; and then, greater fruitfulness as we serve Him.  All these things are available to us.  They are His riches!  But we must seek all that God has for us.  Matthew Henry spoke of it, “Our desires must not only be offered up to God, but they must terminate in Him, desiring nothing more than God, but still more and more of Him.”

The word lust is always a negative word, but can it be made positive?  Yes, a lusting after what God has planned for us.  It is saying, “I want this more than life itself!”  God will not force His riches on us, but He will not refuse those who desire His fellowship.  John Owen reminds us, “God works in us and with us, not against us or without us.”  So, we must go after all that is ours in Christ with a consuming desire.  It must be continual and progressing.  God gave the land of milk and honey to the children of Israel, but they had to go after it.  Joshua made it plain to them, we must fight our way into the land, possessing the land promised to us.

Jesus, when He taught on prayer and receiving God’s blessings, spoke of insisting on it and not taking less than all that is available to us.  Do you recall His teachings in Matthew 16:27 (also Luke 11:8, 18:5)?  The word often used is importunity in prayer, meaning a refusal to be denied.  It includes, “He who prays without frequency does not pray at all,” said C. H. Spurgeon.

And then, what we may do.  Simply live without it, in spiritual poverty.  We may have as His blessings as little as we settle for and are satisfied with.  The Bible speaks of God giving liberally, but He does not give “pearls to swine”!  He does not give liberally to those who do not desire it or seek it.  Any person satisfied with a superficial relationship with Christ will never have the treasures of His love or the radiance of His nearness.  If we are happy to settle for less—we will get what we are content with.  Any person who is quite willing to live a spiritually barren life and in evident poverty will have that for as long as that person breathes.  That person will never know the abundant presence and joy of the Holy Spirit—in fact, they are barely in the kingdom of God.

A little boy fell out of bed several times during the night, each time waking up crying.  His mother quickly came and put him back in bed.  Once again he rolled over and tumbled out!  This time, in the early morning darkness he had come to an understanding and said to her, “I know what my trouble is, I stayed too close to where I got in!”  Many people have done that in the Christian life.

It can be also illustrated with the words of encouragement found from the lips of Joshua.  He said, “Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that I have given you …” (Deuteronomy 11:24)  So the instructions were, “You have to claim what is yours”—that is, possess your possessions!  Jerome said, “A Christian life is a state of holy desire.”  That is to be an inclination that is perpetual.  How discouraging that there is, common in many churches, a mediocre brand of Christianity that settles for less, a “do without it” kind of semi-Christianity.  It is a life of riches from God that go unclaimed.  No prayers answered, no miracles experienced, no breakthroughs known, and no victories won.

The famous black pastor of New York City said in a sermon, “All excellence involves discipline and tenacity of purpose.”  God will not put up with telegram style praying in times of trouble.  When we only occasionally open the door to His throne room just a crack and then close it as quickly as possible, that betrays us, God is not fooled!  It is fully understandable when a little child will not go into the darkness of the night, but there is no excuse for an adult who will not walk into the light of the day; and when God tells us there are riches that are not yet claimed, when we will not pursue them, we are showing the same spirit.  God is delighted to hear us say with great fervor, “I want what all You want me to have, and I will not settle for less.”

So then, what we must do and then, what we may do, and finally, what we might do.  Again, I must quote Jesus, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” (Matthew 5:6)  The psalmist announced, “My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God” (Psalm 42:2).

After all, He is the Lord that “filled the hungry with good things” (Luke 1:53), and Jesus said that He was the bread of life, “he that comes to me shall never go away hungry, and he that believes in me shall never thirst” (John 6:35).  Now, there is a great difference in standing back saying, “I wish I were more of a real follower of Christ, knowing His fullness,” and the person who says, “I want it with a wholehearted passion—and I will have it.”  There is the child of God wringing their hands saying, “I wish I were more godly, I wish I knew such joy unspeakable and full of glory,” and the one who says, “There is something I have missed, but I am now willing for God to show me the way into His fullness and to His treasure house.  Others have gone there, and I am going too!”  It means with a holy passion we long for God’s favor and we claim our riches.

Martyn Lloyd-Jones gives us a timely rebuke, “Shame on us for being paupers when we were meant to be princes.”  So let us stop and announce about every spiritual blessing God can give, “I make it my own—it’s mine now!”  There was a Scottish Christian mystic named George Matheson, and he taught people to pray, “My Father, help me to learn that I am heir to possessions which exceed my present holdings.”

Should you now ask, “What is this spiritual wealth that you have written about?  Lay it out in detail,” I would simply refer to George Muller of Bristol, England.  He is often regarded as one saintly man and he gives us a brief list in this following order.  He first said, a mind in conformity to Christ.  Next, he mentioned increased spiritual power.  Then he added, a total and a complete trust in God at any moment on any day.  And finally he said, a sense of glorious partnership with the Lord Jesus.  All that is, of course, a summary.  Muller then gave one long sentence in summary of this spiritual wealth.  He said, “The good and gracious and ever generous partner, the Lord Jesus, who is infinitely rich and wise, who loves me with an eternal and unchanging love.”

If you have ever heard of a great inheritance and thought, “Oh, I wish someone would leave me a great inheritance so I could be rich”—guess what, someone has, His name is Jesus!  And He wants all of us to have it.


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