Archive for category Series
Friday, March 22
Paul’s last words to the church encourage us that the battle we are engaged in it is not just physical. The prince of the power of the air that he mentioned in chapter 2 arrays a lot of enemies against the work of the church. Paul lists a lot of important tools to defend ourselves against the attacks of the spiritual powers, but notice with most important one is in verse 18. The most important 12 that you have on your journey is going to be prayer; and not just individual prayer, but prayer together as the church. A single soldier doesn’t want a war on his own, no matter how many Rambo movies they make. Wars are won by teams working together. And that’s with the churches. A team.
Thursday, March 21
This is a long passage, and it has a lot in it; but notice that Paul brings up the word walk again. It is our walk in love, not your walk in love. It is a shared walk – a shared journey. And how does Paul describe this journey? He puts it into practical terms. He talks about our families. He talks about our marriages. He talks about the relationship of masters and slaves. These are all different environments where we the church have an opportunity to walk in love. How can we bring a journey of love into each of these relationships?
Wednesday, March 20
This is the third time that Paul refers to the walk. This time, it is the walk of the Gentiles, and we are warned against it. Who are the Gentiles? They are the nations and the people who are separated from God.
Being a Gentile has nothing to do with your ethnicity. It has nothing to do with not being Jewish. It has everything to do with your relationship to God through Jesus Christ. The Gentiles are those who refuse Christ. The chosen are those who follow him.
Paul divides the world into two groups of people – people headed toward Jesus and people headed away from it. Which way are you heading? Even as a believer you can be headed the wrong direction.
TUESDAY, March 19
Look at how Paul describes a walk that is worthy of Jesus Christ. He talks about humbleness and gentleness and peace and long-suffering and patients. These are things that are not as common in human experience as we like to think they should be. Paul is harkening back to earlier in chapter 2 where he talked about those who walk according to the paths of the prince of the power of error. There is a contrast between the way we are to walk as believers and do “church” with the way we would walk in our default setting as human beings.
Monday, March 18
It is reassuring to know that he has chosen you and those you journey with to demonstrate God’s “manifold witness.” (v 10) in the public square, people want to downplay religion as secondary to real life. Nothing could be further from the truth according to Jesus and according to the apostle Paul. Our faith, the faith we share as the church, is greater than the greatest powers on earth. And that means we have a greater responsibility than even the president of United States of America. Our responsibility is not to the people of a nation, but to the Savior of all mankind.
Friday, March 15
God always wanted you to be saved, to be a part of his church. You are special, but all who are saved are special. You get to be a part of the thing that God has been doing for all of history. This is reassuring isn’t it? That God chose you as Plan A. You were not an afterthought. You were not an exception. He knew you. He touched you. Saved you. He brought you into the church. And he has a mission for you.
Thursday, March 14
Churches focus too much on being “appealing” and “relevant.” We forget that our purpose is not to appeal to people but rather to live out the ministry of reconciliation completed in Christ. Whether people want Jesus to be the Savior is completely irrelevant. Remember. The people he served crucified Him. People rarely want what Jesus offers. So, we should be about the reconciliation he modeled for us. Kindness, peace, love, truth, grace, forgiveness, repentance, hope – these things should define our relationships because we are defined by them. It is only because Jesus treated us in this way that we are still alive.
Wednesday, March 13
Sinners don’t need work to make themselves better. They need gifts from God (v 9). Grace is a gift. Forgiveness is a gift. Faith is a gift. Rather than trying to make things work, we should accept God’s gifts. They are the manifestation of his love to us; and we can become agents of grace, forgiveness and faithfulness to others as well.
Don’t just work Jesus into your life. Make Jesus your life and work out of His abundance. Let him define and redefine what you should and can do. A Church is a community gathered around Christ. We are all equally undeserving of Christ’s gifts, and thus we are all on even footing here.
There are no scripted prayers for the next two weeks. As you meditate on Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians, identify passages in the readings that you could make into prayers. Literally pray the text – whether it is in request or celebration or thanksgiving or intercession. Put the words of Scripture into your mouth as prayer.
MONDAY, March 11
Consider how many times the apostle Paul uses the word we. He does not say you or they. He says we. Have you ever thought about the reality that the Church is defined as we? The apostles, the prophets, the teachers and preachers of the past – the converted Jew, the pagan who comes to Christ, the beggar, the leper, the Ephesian witches, the repentant sinner? All part of the Church with us. The Church spans ages, languages, generations and differences. The Church is not about me. It is about we.
Tuesday, March 12
Is there any higher calling for the church than the glorification of Jesus Christ? Paul does not seem to think so. Jesus is the Everything in the Church. And perhaps the great weakness of many churches is the focus on anything but Jesus, even the focus on a caricature of Him that we do not find in the Scriptures. Truly, he must be “above every name that is named” (v 22) in the Church.
And does Church end at the building on Sunday? No! It is the relationships of Christ’s followers to one another. It is everything – our homes, our work places, our sports fields. Church is living out the glory of Jesus Christ.
“Today salvation has come to this house” (v 9)
Did you notice that Jesus did not say, “Salvation is come to YOU, Zacchaeus”? In touching Zacchaeus, Jesus was transforming his entire household. Zacchaeus would become the agent of transformation. Jesus made Zacchaeus into a blessing – an echo of what he had done for Abraham two thousand years before (Genesis 12:2-3).
Our faith impacts others. If it doesn’t, it isn’t much of a faith. You are not imposing your faith on others when you live out what Jesus is doing in you. The church is not pushing an agenda when we declare the gospel. We are being honest to the One who has saved us.
Take just a few moments to thank the Lord for his salvation. He is equipping you to be a blessing to our house. Celebrate this in your prayers today.