5/27/17 God’s Mystery Revealed To Us

“God wants to share the mystery of Himself and His will with us, and He does this through Jesus.  But although we, through the working in our hearts of the Holy Spirit, can know Him, we will never fully understand Him until we enter the Kingdom of Heaven.  Only then, at the end of time, when God’s will for us is fulfilled completely in the great reunion of all of His redeemed creation, will we be given the perfect minds and bodies that will be capable of understanding the things that we can only faintly glimpse now.  Not only has He called us to be His own from before the beginning of the world, but He has made us, along with His Son, heirs of His Kingdom.  In His perfect will, He called us, who were the first of those who will put their faith in Jesus to save them from the penalty for their sins, to be His ambassadors, so that through us many more people would come to faith in His Son and praise God for His glorious grace and mercy to His children.  You trusted in Him after hearing His message and seeing the truth of His words.  This message became the good news that led to your salvation from sin, and when you believed you were given the gift of the Holy Spirit.  He is like a seal on your heart of the promise of Heaven, the guarantor of the inheritance we are promised with Jesus, until all is complete in God’s plan and the promise is fulfilled, and we can give all the glory and praise to our God face to face.”

 

Ephesians 1:9-14

5/26/17 The Riches Of God’s Grace & Mercy

“We, as humans, have all been enslaved by sin since the beginning when Adam and Eve disobeyed God.  In order to be reconciled to God, in order to be with Him again in the loving relationship we are meant to have with Him, someone had to offer a perfect sacrifice on behalf of the human race in order to pay the penalty for all the sins of the world.  God gave us a glimpse of what that sacrifice must be when He taught the Jews to sacrifice animals as payment for their sins, but this was not the perfect sacrifice that all mankind needed to completely restore our relationship with God.  So He sent Jesus to be our perfect sacrifice, delivering us out of the slavery of sin and back to the perfect, loving relationship with God that we were created to have.  God shares the riches of His grace and mercy with all His children freely, out of His great love for us.  He fills us up with His love and the joy of our redemption from sin, from which His wisdom and good judgment overflow.”

 

Ephesians 1:7-8

5/25/17 And Now For The Ephesians

Paul finishes the letter and glances over at Onesimus.  “I have one more letter to write, my son,” he says.  Onesimus nods, understanding that Paul wants him to carry another letter with him on his way home.  Paul begins immediately.  “I, Paul, called by God to be an apostle of our Messiah, Jesus, His Son, greet my faithful brothers and sisters in Jesus at the Ephesian church and pray God’s grace and peace to you through Jesus.  God, the Father of our Messiah, Jesus, has through Jesus given us every spiritual blessing in the Kingdom of Heaven through His Son.  Before He created the world, He knew the ones who would be His own, and He called us to Himself so that we would be set apart from those who love the things of the world, and so that we could be forgiven and cleansed of our sins through Jesus, enabling us to live with Him.  He called us to be adopted into His family, through His Son, as His children, before He even created us.  Why did He do this for us?  Because it gave Him joy to do so.  And we, who are now His children, give Him our thanks and praise for His glorious grace and mercy, through which He has called us, forgiven us, and made us His own.”

 

Ephesians 1:1-6

5/24/17 Encouragement To Archippus

“After you have read my letter, would you please pass it along to the brothers and sisters at the church in Laodicea?  They in turn will pass the letter I am sending to them along to you.  Please pass along an exhortation from me to your brother Archippus, son of Philemon, who has been entrusted with ministering to the Laodicean church, just as his father Philemon has been ministering to you in Colossae.  Encourage him to persevere in the service he has been called to, working diligently for the brothers and sisters in his charge for the Lord, so that he and all the brothers and sisters may be steadfast in their true faith, and on the day that God calls them to the Kingdom of Heaven they may be presented to Him as His faithful servants.  I, Paul, write this last greeting to you in my own handwriting.  I pray that you remember me in my captivity in your prayers.  I pray that God’s grace would be with you always, Amen.”

 

Colossians 4:16-18

5/23/17 Greetings From The Brothers

“I also send greetings to you from brothers here with me: Aristarchus, Barnabas’ cousin Mark, and Jesus Justus, who are imprisoned with me, and who are my only Jewish brothers here who are faithfully continuing the work God has given us to do for the Kingdom of Heaven.  As such, they have been greatly comforting to me.  Also, Epaphras, the brother who led many of you to faith in our Messiah, and who is always struggling for you spiritually through his prayers, in hopes that you might grow in your faith and become the children of God that you are called to be.  I can attest to his love for you, and also for your brothers and sisters in Laodicea and Hierapolis.  Luke, my beloved brother and physician, who has been my faithful companion through much hardship, and Demas, who is also with us, greet you as well.  And we ask that you send greetings in our names to all the brothers and sisters there, in Laodicea, Hierapolis, and the church that meets in Nymphas’ house.”

 

Colossians 4:10-15

5/22/17 Tychicus and Onesimus

“I am sending this letter with two men who I love dearly as brothers in our Lord.  Tychicus has been with me here for quite a while and will be able to tell you about me and about all that has happened lately.  He is a faithful servant of our Messiah and has been a great help and comfort to me.  But I am sending him now to you so that he may be of service to you as he has been to me, and also so that he may return to me with a good report from you of all that is happening there.  The other brother I am sending to you is one of your own, although when he left you he was not yet a brother in our Lord.  Onesimus is returning to you as a child of God, forgiven and set free from the sins that had enslaved him before he left you, and is now a faithful and beloved brother in Jesus.  These two men will bring to you my love and greetings, as well as the news from Rome, with this letter.”

 

Colossians 4:7-9

5/21/17 Be Prayer Warriors

“Be diligent in your prayers, and pray from your heart, giving thanks to God for all of His blessings.  Pray for us, your brothers and sisters who are spreading Jesus’ message all over the world and are suffering for it.  Pray that God would open up a way for us to continue in this work for Him, to keep going to places where Jesus is not yet known, so that we can tell people about Him and draw them to Him for their salvation.  I have been graciously given the liberty to speak freely to whoever will hear me here in Rome, where I am a prisoner.  But I am not free to leave the city and continue spreading Jesus’ message to all the world, which is my heart’s desire.  Pray that God would grant you wisdom in how to live among those who do not believe and who hate those of us who do believe.  Use the time you have on this earth wisely, and do not waste a minute of it.  Do the work that God has given you to do diligently, with joy and love in your hearts.  Learn to control your tongue, so that the words you speak are spoken from a loving heart, but wisely measured to the person and the situation, spoken sensibly, concisely, and effectively.”

 

Colossians 4:2-6

5/20/17 Christian Servants & Masters

“If you are a servant, you are to obey those in authority over you, just as all of us must obey and serve God – with joy in our hearts, seeking to do what is pleasing to Him.  Do not just seek to flatter your employers by saying what you think they want to hear.  You may gain their favor for a short time, but eventually they will see your flattery for what it is – superficial and false.  Serve your employers well in word and deed out of a genuine desire to love, respect, and do good for them.  Do your best in everything that you do, with your whole heart, as if you were doing it as a gift for God instead of a chore for people.  Focus on God, and on your love for Him, and your work will be easier and more joyful.  You know that God has promised you that you will be rewarded for your work in Heaven because you are working not for people, but for Jesus, who gave up all that He had and all that He was in order to save you.  If your employer is an unbeliever, if he treats his employees poorly, do not despair, but continue to do good for him.  Because you know that just as you will be rewarded for your acts of service here on earth, those who sin against God and His children and do not repent of those sins and seek forgiveness from God through His Son Jesus will be judged justly by God at the end time.  Those who, in this life, want nothing to do with God, will be granted their wish when they die, and they will be separated from God, and therefore from anything that is good, for all eternity.  If you are an employer, treat your employees respectfully, giving them fair compensation for their work, and remembering that you are a servant of your Father in Heaven, just as your employees are your servants.”

 

Colossians 3:22-25, 4:1

5/19/17 The Christian Family

“The Christian husband is the head of the household.  A Christian wife should submit to his authority, because he is given that authority by God.  This is not to say that the husband may treat his wife in any way he wishes because God give him authority over her.  Husbands are to love their wives in the same way that Jesus loves His church – being willing to lay down their lives for their wives and children, loving them in such a way that they want, and do, what is best for them.  Children are to obey their parents in all things, because parents are placed in authority over their children by God, in order to teach and care for their children as God cares for His children.  Parents, do not discourage your children by always talking to them about what they are doing wrong.  Their spirits will be broken and they will not have the heart to try to do what is right if they feel like no matter what they do it will always be wrong.  But at the same time, don’t give them so much praise that they grow too proud or grow to be dependent on their parents’ praise.  Children should be encouraged to love God and to do His will out of love for Him and for others, just as God commands His children to do.”

 

Colossians 3:18-21

5/18/17 Everything Comes From Loving God

“Remember that in order to do any of these things, love must come first.  Jesus reminded us that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, souls, strength, and minds, and the second greatest comes only after we are able to do this first one – to love our neighbors as ourselves.  If we love God in the way He asks us to, only then can we love ourselves the right way, and only then can we love each other the right way.  The only way to become who God created us to be is to learn to love God and people the way He created us to.  When you love the way God calls us to love, peace will overflow from your hearts, and you will be able to live together as the church, the body of Jesus, as He has called us to do.  Then you will be able to be truly thankful for all of God’s blessings, instead of dwelling on that which you do not or cannot have.  Focus on the teaching of the Scriptures, because they are the words of Jesus to us, and as such they are true wisdom.  Use the Scriptures to teach and reprove each other.  Sing the words of the Psalms, along with other hymns and spiritual songs, with hearts full of love for God and for each other because of the grace and mercy He has shown you by forgiving your sins.  Do and say everything in Jesus’ Name, out of love, and with thankfulness to God our Heavenly Father, through Jesus.  This way, you will be sure that you are doing and saying only what you believe God would want you to do and say, and you will be fulfilling all of the commandments.”

 

Colossians 3:14-17