Ephesians 1- God Includes Us in His Work

Yesterday we saw that God shares his plans with us in- God Lets Us Know His Will. His plan being for all things to come under the authority of Jesus. We do not know when Jesus will return, but we do know that he will return. Today we ponder the wonderful truth that God includes us in his work.

When I was a boy, we would have baseball, basketball, and football games in the neighborhood. A group of us boys would get together to play. Two of the boys would be the captains and one by one pick who they wanted on their team. I was good at sports, so I got picked early. But I always felt sad for my friends who were picked last. They were not athletic, so they faced the embarrassment of being picked last.

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In Ephesians, Paul writes about being chosen among the others who were the first to believe for the purpose of Gods will which was to take the gospel out to others.

In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation.

The encouraging thing to me is when I think about the early believers and who God chose to do his work through. Paul was a murderer seeking to put to death Christians before his conversion. Matthew was a tax collector, Peter, Andrew, John, and others were fishermen or in modern day terms blue collar workers. Mary Magdalene was an outcast.

Jesus did not call people who would have been in a 1st Century Who’s Who.

Jesus chooses to do his work through people that surprise us. It would be like the boys who were not athletic being picked first to be on Jesus’s team and Jesus leading them to win.

Anyone who believes in Jesus is on his team. He includes us in his work of sharing the gospel with others.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Ephesians 1- Because of Jesus, We Can Be Forgiven

Becoming a Christian is a humbling thing because we have to acknowledge we have sinned and need our Savior Jesus. At the foot of the cross is the one place where we are all equal, equally guilty of sin and equally in need of Jesus. Jesus himself said in John 14:6:

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Because of Jesus, we are not only forgiven when we trust in him, God lavishes his grace upon us. In Ephesians 1 we see:

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding

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It is not a matter of God saying, well you don’t deserve it, but have eternal life because of Jesus. That is not at all what God says and does. He LAVISHES his grace upon us. He LAVISHES his love upon us. We do not deserve it, but he LAVISHES upon us his grace, mercy, and love because of Jesus. He chooses to love us. That is worth more than all the gold in the world.

If we have come to know Jesus and trusted in him, we can say with all certainty, “God has lavished his grace upon me.”

Ephesians Chapter 1- Truths to Tell Ourselves

Two common misconceptions about God are that he, 1-is a killjoy who doesn’t want us to have good things, 2- he wants us to be prosperous in this life. Both misconceptions can be problematic. If a person thinks God is some kind of stern old man withholding the goodies, who would want to come to God if that were true. If a person buys into the prosperity gospel, disappointment can set in when the realization sinks in that what is being taught doesn’t work for everyone.

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We are sojourners in this life. We are not exempt from problems. We are, however, given beautiful promises. They are ours in the here and now, but we will not fully realize them until we are in heaven. As Hebrews 11 says:

All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return.  Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

Even though what we long for is in the future, we can remind ourselves of truths, so we do not lose heart. Ephesians chapter 1 has many wonderful truths. If we remind ourselves of these truths, they are affirmations that are based on God and his power, not on ourselves. The difference is an affirmation based on God is eternally certain because God has all power and fleeting affirmations are based on temporary things that can fade away.

With that in mind, let’s look at the truths we can use for affirmations from Ephesians 1 starting with verse 3:

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

A word to focus on here is- EVERY. God holds nothing back from us. He blesses us in the heavenly realms with EVERY spiritual blessing. He is not some stern old man holding back on us.

The blessings are for us now in this life. Jesus promised to always be with us in Matthew 28:

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

We can have fellowship with God now. We can experience his presence now. Yes, we will experience that fully in heaven, but his presence is for us in the here and now too. We can say to ourselves, “I am blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms” because it is based on God and can never be taken away.

Tomorrow we will look at another spiritual blessing from Ephesians 1.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.