5/31/17 Admitted To The Family Of God

“Once, you were Gentiles, living lives separated from God because of sin.  You were not part of God’s family, and the sinful nature of your bodily existence kept you from desiring Him, from wanting to be His children.  The Jews were the ones who were God’s special family, the Circumcised Ones, their own bodies showing their designation as His children.  You were the Uncircumcised, the Outsiders.  Though most of you hadn’t even heard of them, God’s promises meant nothing to you, because they did not apply to you.  There was no hope of everlasting life in the Kingdom of Heaven for you, no hope of redemption.  But now, you are circumcised by more than just a knife on your skin.  You have been spiritually circumcised, not by human hands, but by God Himself, through His Holy Spirit.  Now, because of Jesus’ sacrifice and your acceptance of it, you who were separated from God are now His own children, close to Him because of Jesus’ blood.”


Ephesians 2:11-13


5/30/17 Saved As A Gift

“But God is our Heavenly Father.  He is the one who created us and loves us more than any person can love another.  He is so loving and merciful that even when we were His enemies, His desire was to save us from the power and the penalty of sin and to reconcile us to Himself.  The only way to be reunited with God and be saved from death is to trust Jesus, who paid the death penalty for all of us, to free you from sin and its repercussions.  When you did this, He gave you real life.  And when God’s people come to Him and ask His forgiveness, trusting His Son to save them from sin, He does more than just what we ask – He promises so much more than we could ever even think to ask for.  He promises us eternal life with Him as co-heirs with His Son, Jesus, in the Kingdom of Heaven.  He promises that He will show us riches of kindness and mercy beyond our imagination, through His Son.  He has forgiven us, His enemies, for turning away from Him and disobeying Him, not because of anything we have or anything we’ve done, but simply because of His grace and mercy.  His great mercy for us stems from His great love for us.  God’s forgiveness is a gift.  We can never do anything to earn it, because no matter how hard we try, we can’t live every second of our entire lives without sin.  It is only by our faith in God’s Son Jesus’ ability and willingness to save us that we can be saved.  So nobody can brag about being good enough to earn his place in Heaven.  God created us, and then re-created us in order to free us from sin, through Jesus, to do good in the world – good that God prepared for us to do even before He created us.”


Ephesians 2:4-10

5/29/17 Sin Kills

“Your sinful nature meant that you were essentially dead.  If sin is separation from God, and all life and everything that is good comes only from God, separation from God means death.  The whole world has been separated from God through sin.  Satan introduced sin to the world in order to lure God’s people away from Him.  The sinful desires that we all have are a result of Satan’s spirit of disobedience that pervades God’s creation.  Satan is called the prince and power of the air.  His influence is evident everywhere, whenever people choose to fulfill their own sinful desires instead of doing God’s will.  This has been the state of the whole world since the time when Adam and Eve first sinned.”


Ephesians 2:1-3

5/28/17 Paul’s Prayer For The Ephesian Church

“After hearing of your faithfulness to our Messiah, Jesus, and your love for all our brothers and sisters in Him, I have prayed and thanked God for you continually, asking God, the Father of our Messiah Jesus and our own Heavenly Father, would give to you, through His Holy Spirit, wisdom.  I ask that He would reveal Himself to you, giving you the knowledge and understanding that will enable you to know without a doubt the work that He is calling you to do, the incredible glorious riches that He is sharing with all His children, how great is His power for those of us who put our faith in Jesus, evidenced through the power He shared with Jesus through His miracles here on earth and His ascension from death to life, now being seated with God at God’s right hand in the Kingdom of Heaven, far above all the kingdoms and powers of the rulers here on earth, above every other name, past, present, and future.  God made Jesus the ruler of all, putting everything in all of creation under Him, making Him the leader of His body, which is the church.  When the end of time comes, and all those who God has called to be His own have come to Him, then it will be a complete circle – the entirety of God will be present both in His Son (the head) and His church (the body), and we will at last be complete and whole as we were created to be.”


Ephesians 1:15-23

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