Re: Verse reading–Ephesians 2:1-10 (day two)
The story of the Gospel has been one of incongruous logic. Think about it: rich shall be poor, the meek will inherit, the humble exalted, the last shall be first. It is further proof that God’s ways are not ours. We, who were not only dead in sin, but also objects of his wrath, are also objects of the riches of his mercy. Isn’t grace amazing? How could we possibly go from not being able to escape his wrath to riches without earning it? How could we who were all dead in sin, be brought to fullness? This is the grace and mercy of the blood of Jesus. Unmerited favor indeed.
Re: Verse reading–Ephesians 2:1-10 (day one)
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it the gift of God.” (v 8) 44 years ago, I sat in a living room of an home in Amarillo, Texas. I had been invited by a friend to attend a Bible study for High School students. I had no expectations of a spiritual encounter. I was not conscious of any preparation in my heart for the new birth that I was about to experience. As I listened that night, a young man spoke of a “personal relationship with Jesus Christ” and I felt convicted of my need for a savior. By faith, that night, I prayed for Christ to come into my heart. Over the next weeks and years, I experienced new power operating in my life, the very presence of Christ. I was “made alive”. He forgve my sin. He gave me a gift, unearned and impossible to repay.
Re: Verse reading–Ephesians 1 (day seven)
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.” (v 18-19) The Bible says we all have an “inner man”. See Ephesians 3:16. It further claims this “person” living inside us has eyes that see and a mind that makes decisions. Sometimes we are aware of his activity. Sometimes we aren’t. So, when Paul prayed that the “eyes of your heart” would be “enlightened”, he was asking God to change the way the Ephesians saw, and where they concentrated their our attention. He prayed for perception of spiritual realities, for Spiritually corrected vision and the resultant change in their lives and decisions. “Open my eyes, that I may see visions of truth Thou hast for me”–Clara Scott. Same prayer. Our great need, still.
Re: Verse reading–Ephesians 1 (day six)
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (v 1)
What does the Bible mean when it calls us to bless God? Paul combined two Greek words. Eu=“good”. Logos=“word”. Eulogetos=“to speak a good word”. (Think of eulogy, “honor or gratitude usually spoken at a funeral”.) It is a biblical call to praise! Those of us who receive from God have a moral obligation to “speak a good word” TO Him (praise) or “speak a good word” ABOUT Him (witness). David often urged this lesson on the people of Israel. “Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful singing.” (Psalm 100:1-2) Not because God needs our approval, but because only gratitude prevents us from becoming spoiled children who receive gifts without any sense of obligation. We have nothing to give God for His goodness. Our duty is to speak a good word to/for Him.
Re: Verse reading–Ephesians 1 (day five)
No one has ever called me a “Saint”. I certainly wouldn’t classify myself as such either. Yet Paul labels every one of the believers in Ephesus as a saint. vs. 1 “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful in Christ Jesus:” Why? Were these folks different in character and behavior than us? The encouraging answer is “NO DIFFERENCE”. So why the saint title? Because our identity as believers (saints) is not found from behavior, actions, or deservedness. It comes from the work and power of The Lord. In Christ we receive a new: heart, nature, loyalties, kingdom. They are now ours because of the work and character of Christ alone. He has made us saints!! What a hope-filled identity!! Thank you God for Your work in us!!
Re: Verse reading–Ephesians 1 (day four)
Verses 18-19…I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe…are the theme verses of the book of Ephesians. Paul has written to encourage and to admonish. His prayer covered three major areas:
- For them to know the hope of His calling
- For them to know what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance
- For them to know the surpassing greatness of His power
Paul had a heart for teaching true doctrine. He wanted the churches to not only understand the truth, but also to live by it. Does knowledge of scripture make a difference in your life? Do people see the difference that Christ makes in your life? May the eyes of your heart be enlightened!
Re: Verse reading–Ephesians 1 (day three)
“…the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us.” We live in the fear that everything is a zero sum game: Whatever we give away means that much less for ourselves–be it money, possessions, or affection. The concept of “shortage” doesn’t have a place in the economy of God, though. The universe he has made, and the community he has birthed, knows nothing of scarcity. One of the results of taking seriously his lavishness is that we, too, become people who lavish what we have on one another without fearing that we will be left with nothing.
Re: Verse reading–Ephesians 1 (day two)
In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. (13-14)
This has always been one of my favorite passages of scripture. The promise of eternity invested in us. Nothing that we have done can either claim it or lose it. It has been sealed by the Spirit so that we are marked for eternity.
We have all done some sort of financial planning for our future; whether it be for our retirement or for our posterity. We look for things that say-great return on your investment, or guaranteed pay out after x number of years. We want security. We have worked long to be able to provide for ourselves and our families.
God’s investment was the eternal kind. One we could never afford, and one we can never lose. Isn’t that an encouragement?
Re: Verse reading–Ephesians 1 (day one)
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ”–v 1. It is our greatest duty. It is our highest privilege. We are to bless God! The absence of it is sin. “Even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks”—Romans 1:21. It is the path of faith. Even in tragedy, Job said, “The Lord gives, the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord”—Job 1:21. On the night of His betrayal, the Lord gave thanks! No wonder Ephesians begins with a call to worship, a call for Christians to praise God for the gifts He has given us in Christ–no matter the present circumstances. “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”—1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. Do you do so, my brother? Will you?