Ephesians 1: 1-6
OK, here we go. This will not take long to read. If you want to respond, do so with the reply. First; a little back ground on Ephesians. This is a letter to the church at Ephesus, one of the major cities of the Roman Empire. Since it was a big city, the church was probably fairly large. Even though it is addressed to the Ephesians, it is for the church everywhere. The main purpose of the letter is to strengthen the believers in Ephesus in their Christian faith, by explaining the nature and purpose of the Church, the body of Christ.
Before we start, remember to relax, read and reflect. Offer this simple prayer, and do so every day before the study.
Dear God, Open my heart and open my mind, and help me learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
Ephesians 1:(1) Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus:(2) Grace and peace to you from our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
(3)Praise be to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. (4) For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love (5) he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will-(6)to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given in the One he loves. (NIV)
Paul always starts his letters out with a greeting, just as we do. We would start with "Dear___," Paul starts with verse one. The Church at Ephesus must have been really on fire. He refers to them as "the faithful in Jesus Christ." That may have been the highest grade Paul would give to any church. We can look at that as a letter to us. If so, are we the faithful? Have we as a worldwide church earned the title of "the faithful in Jesus Christ"? I like to think we have, but it is something we always need to strive for.
He then goes on to remind,(or inform,) us that God has blessed us totally and chose us in him before the creation of the world. He then says we were "predestined to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ." I know that some who have been in my class are saying, "Steve, I thought you said that we have choices, it says here we are predestined in our lives."
God has predestined his love and grace towards us. He has freely given it, as it states in verse six. Wehave the power (or responsibility) to choose. God gives us all his love and grace, but we have to accept them. This is something that we need to remember; sure, God knows everything about us. He, in his love and grace, does not force us to love him. When we do we fulfill God's plan for us. When we accept God as our savior, it is not because we deserve it, it is because we are "adopted" by God and marked by him. My question to all of us is, "have you entered into this loving relationship with God?
Prayer- Oh Lord, thank you for loving us so much that you freely gave us Jesus Christ-your Son. Help us live faithfully through him. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
Things to do today:
Read the next four verses of Ephesians (7-10). Ask yourself if you are the faithful in Jesus Christ. Decide what you have done to show the world that you are, and what will you do.