Manna for Today

 

The Saving Work of God (Eph. 1:3-10)

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. 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 us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. 9 And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.  (Eph. 1:3-10).

Learn it:

            The passage we are looking at today is packed full of wonderful truths about the gospel.  In the Greek language this is one long sentence.  In the English transition they broke it up into multiple sentences to make it easier to understand.  It is almost as if, when Paul was writing this he kept thinking of more wonderful things to say about the gospel and he couldn’t contain himself.  Verse three tells us to praise the Lord because he has “blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing”.  The rest of this section contains why we should be praising God, and there’s a lot of reasons!

            First, God chose to adopt us so that we might become holy and blameless in his sight.  Through this adoption we have forgiveness of sin and we are no longer enslaved to the sin of this world.  We have true freedom through Christ.  God had perfect timing to reveal his mystery, which we will talk more about later, that the gospel includes all nations not just Israel.  God wanted to unite everyone under the headship of Christ!  Praise God, that he chose to save everyone who calls on his name! 

Live it:

            I encourage you today, to take time and really meditate on this passage.  Read it slowly and really take in everything that we receive when we surrender our lives to Christ.  All the blessings we receive, most of which will not be fully realized until we die, or Christ returns.  Go verse by verse and rest in each truth of this beautiful passage.  God chose us.  He adopted us.  He freely gives his grace to all who call upon him.  We have redemption.  We have forgiveness from our sins.  The list goes on and on.  Take time to thank God for each thing he has give to his children.  Praise God! 


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Who are the Ephesians? (Eph. 1:1-2)

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 God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  (Ephesians 1:1-2)

Learn it:

We have been going through Jesus’ parables for a long time and thought we could change it up and go through the book of Ephesians.  I love this letter and in it Paul writes to the church in Ephesus.  In the first half of the book he reminds them of what the gospel of Jesus Christ has done in their lives and for all of humanity.  They are all united together in one body with Jesus Christ being the head.  In the second half he tells them what that should look like in their lives.  He tells them what a Christian community of believers should look like. 

Today we are going to look at the opening greeting in the letter.  We see Paul identifies himself as an apostle who was given that responsibility by the will of God.  It wasn’t something he chose but something God gave him.  He then identifies who his letter is written too.  It is written to “the saints in Ephesus”.  The word “saints” also means “holy ones”.  This would remind the readers of the Old Testament and how Israel was designated as God’s chosen people.  They are to stand out from the rest of the world.  The same is true for followers of Christ and the communities they form.  They are going to look different.  Not only are they “saints” but they are the faithful ones in Christ Jesus.  Their community is defined by the fact that they are all followers of Jesus Christ.  He is their Lord over everything. 

Live it:

            For us as the Church today we need to remember these same characteristics for ourselves.  We are the saints, the holy ones, we are set apart.  Do our lives reflect that Jesus Christ is our Lord?  Does his will and love influence our decisions?  How we guide our families, how we love our neighbors, how we view politics?  We should be doing all those things through a biblical framework because we are citizens of heaven and that should have the biggest influence on our lives.  As followers of Christ we are called to love Jesus and love our neighbors (1 John 3:23).  How are you doing those things in your life? 


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Pastor’s Corner