Posts from Ephesians
After reading through Romans a chapter a day since January I think I’ve read the book about 14 times this year. I’ve been pondering which book to read next. The book of Ephesians keeps popping up in my head so this morning I read the preface. It is a letter that Paul wrote while in prison in Rome so beyond the words in it, the where, why and how of this book compels me to study it next after studying Romans. First the book to Romans and then the book from Rome.
I found this this morning and it is my heart for me and those who read my posts.
“12 in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession–to the praise of his glory.
15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray also 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, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20 which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.”
I want to know God better. I want to know the hope that he has called me to, the riches of his glorious inheritance, and his incomparable great power.
It was a cold and cloudy January morning. I had just left college to become the manager of my family’s business, the Burger Bar Cafe. It was Sunday, so we were closed. I was in the back room getting breakfast for my pregnant wife. We were newlyweds and pregnant with our honeymoon baby. So much change in one year. Getting married, getting pregnant, moving three times, starting college to become a pastor, leaving college to become a dad.
It was that morning in that restaurant back room right next to the dishwasher that I finally understood that God loved me, not based on anything I did or didn’t do, not on my “works” but just because he is a loving and gracious God, a God who “stoops low” to aid those he loves. That’s the day that Ephesians 2:8-10 came to life to me. That’s the day I was saved.
Part of my desire to go to college and become a Pastor was the need to please God. To earn his favor. I had just given that up and I was floundering. But this verse popped into my head and I understood that I couldn’t earn Gods favor, because he had already graciously given it to me through Jesus.
” For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Thank you Jesus for the path you put me on and for loving me and our family. For dying for our sins and also providing for all of our needs. Thank you for being gracious to me, for saving me. I love you Jesus.
We live in a desert. Eastern Washington state is a desert. It lies in the rain shadow of the Cascade mountains. Our annual rainfall is around 10″. There is very little water here naturally. My Grandpa Loeffelbein’s property in Cashmere, out on Pioneer Ave had a Tiny little stream. It was so small that I could jump across it. The odd thing about it that it was always flowing, and it flowed fast. It was not a lazy little trickle. Put your foot in and it would try and knock you over. It took strength to stand in the flow. The water was cold, and the force was steady and strong and constant.
Sometimes my life feels like a desert, arid and dry. I need a source of refreshing.
God’s love is like that little stream in some respects. It’s steady, strong, constant, refreshing, water in a desert. It just isn’t little. Nathan Dowd quoted someone recently who said, “God’s love is an ocean without shores and without bottom.”
“17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
Lord I need to know your love today, not just know it but feel it. I need your wisdom and understanding, I’ve got things to do today that go beyond me. Help me Jesus. Fill me up.
Every once in a while, our Pastor will say that what he is speaking about is “family business” meaning it pertains to those of us who are part of that specific body of believers. It is a specific message to a specific group of people.
I feel like Ephesians 4 is a “family business” chapter but not just for the people in Ephesus but all believers everywhere for all time.
I think I just said that it is specifically written to a general group. At least that’s what I intended.
John 3:16 is written to everyone, everywhere. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Once we decide to follow Jesus we join a new group, the body of Christ. The group of people known as the body of Christ live by a different set of guidelines.
I will use myself as an example. Basically, there has been a shift, a change of command has happened. I used to be in charge. I did what I wanted. Now I have given over the control of my life to Jesus.
I’ll let Paul say it, “Living as Children of Light
17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more. 20 You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. 21 Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
Paul goes on to say how our honesty in word and deed, and our reaction to anger needs to be different now that we are filled with Gods spirit. Our life experiences haven’t changed. We will still face the same temptations and trials that the general population does but now we are empowered to respond differently.
I’d like to quote one more verse that reminds me that when I need to forgive someone, that I too am in constant need of forgiveness.
“32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
Ephesians 5 is more family business meaning this is written specifically to those who are following Jesus, to Christians.
Being a Christian is brand new to some of us. What do we do? How do we act? What are the rules?
Here’s a general guideline:”1 Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
Things NOT to do:
Be sexually immoral
Don’t do these.
Instead, Do these:
Be filled the Holy Spirit
Wives submit to your husbands like you do to Jesus
Husbands love your wife. be the Christlike man that a woman doesn’t have to fear submitting to. Love your wife like you love you. Love like Jesus did- Die to yourself and live for Jesus and your family. Love your wife. Love your wife like you love you. Love your wife. (I added one more “love your wife” than Paul did, sorry, now two more)
Being a Christian is the simple life. It is not the easy life but it is simple.
Live a life of love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us.
Ephesians 6 I want to start at the end.
Paul says that he has entrusted the letter to Tychicus not just as a postman but as one who will encourage the believers there. Basically, Paul said Tychicus will carry the letter in his hand, but he will stay and help because he has Jesus in his heart. Tychicus will be a living letter to the Christians in Ephesus. Tychicus is mentioned 5 times in the bible and every time it says this guy can be trusted, “faithful servant”, one who encourages. I want to be like him.
To the family of God:
Kids, obey your parents,
Fathers, raise them right. Do not exasperate
Slaves (people who have bosses, and even bosses have bosses) work like your boss is Jesus himself, obey respect, work hard
Masters (bosses) remember we all have one master Jesus and there will be a day of personal accountability.
We are in a battle but it’s not with who you think, because if you can mentally picture your enemy with skin on then you got it wrong. Our battle is not with flesh and blood and so neither are our defenses or weapons. Our battle is spiritual: truth, righteousness, good news of Jesus, faith in him, and being saved by him are our battle gear, the word of God is our only weapon.
Weird war. Let’s get to it then.