I don’t know about you, but when I read Paul’s passionate letters to reconciled believers, the Body of Christ, my heart is stirred to the point of beating a bit faster, my emotions come to surface with tears of joyful thanksgiving for the gift of Life given to us by God through His Son, Jesus! Our Messiah came to save us, once and for all, from the punishment for our own sins. How great is our God! How great is the love of God?
For God so loved He sent His Son to save us. His Son was Jesus, stood in our place, took our beatings, sarcastic harassments, slaps across his face until he was no longer recognizable, then nailed to a cross. Jesus did it willingly all because of the great love He had for us. We were on God’s mind before the world was created. We were on Jesus’ mind as He walked the earth, showing us the full extent of real love and compassion. We were on His mind while he hung on the cross. We were the ones who held him there, gasping for air, when He had the power to call in armies of angels to rescue Him. But He didn’t. He chose to rescue us instead. How great is our God?
Paul begins by telling the Body of Christ, called church, WHO we are in Christ individually. Paul’s letters generally begin telling us who we in relationship to God because of our Messiah, Jesus, His Son. Then Paul will lead us from who God is to who we are in Him to “here’s what you need to do.” This is masterful teaching that merits our keen listening with understanding. This teaching leads us to BE then DO.
Even Jesus would leave people to get alone with God, The Father. Jesus would be with God in communion. He also praised God and then asked God for His will to be done. He asked for His Father’s instructions on what to say and do. Then Jesus did exactly what God said to do. Everything done—led by God, His Father.
To be Christ-like, we must first BE with God, In Jesus Name, who brings everything together for the good of those who love and trust Him before DOING anything in His Name.
Paul teaches us a wonderful prayer to pray as we seek to BE before we DO:
“…ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory—to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for his followers, oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him—endless energy, boundless strength!”
Wow! What a powerful prayer! How great is our God?
Praying in Jesus Name, for His glory, Amen! I believe! I trust you, dear Jesus!
EPHESIANS—RECONCILED TO BE
Ephesians 1, The Message
1-2 I, Paul, am under God’s plan as an apostle, a special agent of Christ Jesus, writing to you faithful believers in Ephesus. I greet you with the grace and peace poured into our lives by God our Father and our Master, Jesus Christ.
The God of Glory
3-6 How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.
7-10 Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we’re a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free! He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth.
11-12 It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.
13-14 It’s in Christ that you, once you heard the truth and believed it (this Message of your salvation), found yourselves home free—signed, sealed, and delivered by the Holy Spirit. This down payment from God is the first installment on what’s coming, a reminder that we’ll get everything God has planned for us, a praising and glorious life.
15-19 That’s why, when I heard of the solid trust you have in the Master Jesus and your outpouring of love to all the followers of Jesus, I couldn’t stop thanking God for you—every time I prayed, I’d think of you and give thanks. But I do more than thank. I ask—ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory—to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for his followers, oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him—endless energy, boundless strength!
20-23 All this energy issues from Christ: God raised him from death and set him on a throne in deep heaven, in charge of running the universe, everything from galaxies to governments, no name and no power exempt from his rule. And not just for the time being, but forever. He is in charge of it all, has the final word on everything. At the center of all this, Christ rules the church. The church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church. The church is Christ’s body, in which he speaks and acts, by which he fills everything with his presence.
Thank you for holy presence in our lives. Thank you for teaching us to pray. Thank you for showing us your example of seeking God’s will and then doing it! YOU are in charge. YOU are above all, in all, with the final word on everything. Thank you for being with me this morning. Help me to do what you have invited me to do in your Kingdom work which is my Life in you. I love you, Lord, with all my heart, mind and soul. There is no one like you!
In Jesus Name, For His Glory, Amen