Thursday, February 22, 2018

Ephesians 6:10-20

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes."  Ephesians 6:10-11

We live in a society which emphasizes self-worth and self-effort.  Our passage today, however, says that we need to live not in self-reliance but in God-reliance.  We need to live our lives not in our own perceived strength but in the Lord's strength.  Ephesians 6:10 tells us that we need to "be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power."  Our self-effort is inadequate and will fail, but the Lord's strength will never fail us!

In Ephesians 6:11 we are told to "put on the full armor of God."  Roman soldiers in Biblical times put on a full armor before they went out to battle.  They wore a belt to hold up their long flowing robes, so their robes would not get in their way in fighting their battles.  They also wore breastplates and helmets.  Soldiers had their feet protected with supportive and proper footwear.  They further held shields and carried swords.  We as children of God are to be soldiers in God's army.  Ephesians 6:11b instructs us that we are to put on God's armor of protection, so we can take our "stand against the devil's schemes."

The Christian life is a warfare.  God promises us His unlimited resources of power in the battle, however!  The Lord desires for you and me to be strong and empowered by Him!  Only in the Lord is there strength to meet the demands of the Christian life!  You and I do not have sufficient strength in ourselves.  We need to be strong in the Lord alone.

Ephesians 6:12 tells us that we are not just fighting against human strength but against the devil himself and his schemes!  We are inadequate to do that in our own puny strength.  We need the Lord's strength and power!  We need His armor of protection, and then we need to stand against the devil and his schemes.  We need to be prayerfully dependent on the Lord alone.  We must listen to the Lord's battle plan and go forth in His strength.  We must put on His full armor so that we can stand our ground against the devil.  If we truly do this; we will live in freedom and joy instead of apprehension, guilt, and doubt.  This is because we are living our lives in the Lord's strength.

Ephesians 6:14 tells us that the first piece of armor we must put on is the Lord's "belt of truth," so we are prepared for action.  We must at all times be prepared for what the Lord wants us to do and for where He wants us to be.  Ephesians 6:14 goes on to say that we also need the Lord's "breastplate of righteousness in place."  As His children we have Christ's righteousness given to us because of Christ's sacrifice on the cross.  We must also seek to show practical righteousness in our day to day lives.  Then we we must have our feet ready for anything necessary for the cause of the Lord and for fighting the devil.  We can do this because of our confidence in the Lord's love for us.  The Lord grants you and me His peace.

Ephesians 6:16 instructs us that the Lord further desires that His children take "the shield of faith" with which we can "extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one."  We need practical day to day trust and faith in the Lord.  We need to fight against Satan's "flaming arrows," the temptations in our lives.  Next, we need to take "the helmet" of His salvation (Ephesians 6:17).  Satan wants to attack our minds and thoughts, so we become discouraged and want to give up.  Therefore, we need the Lord's "helmet" for the assurance of our salvation!  We need a mind truly controlled by the Lord.

Finally, Ephesians 6:17b reminds us that we must not neglect "the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God."  This is so important, because we are fighting a spiritual battle.  This spiritual battle must be fought in the Lord's strength and not in our own strength.  We must depend on prayer and on the Lord's promises and commands in His Holy Word.  In our own strength we will fail.  In God's strength we are victorious!

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Ephesians 4-5

"As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worth of the calling you have received."  Ephesians 4:1

"Be imitators of God, therefore, as deeply loved children."  Ephesians 5:1

In the Lord Jesus we have full forgiveness of our sins through His precious blood!  Our forgiveness and salvation had been fully attained for us on the cross.  There is nothing we can and need do to earn our salvation.  It is all of grace!  Praise His name!  If we are His children, however, we will show evidence of it in our lives.  This is because Christ sends His Holy Spirit into our lives to give us the power and desire to live for the Lord.

God chose us from all eternity to be His child!  As His children we were chosen for a purpose, however.  That purpose according to Ephesians 1:12b was that we "might be for the praise of His glory."  We were put on this earth to bring glory and praise to the Lord.  Ephesians 2:10 says, "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."  Christ redeemed us and washed away our sins.  The Lord then recreated us and is shaping us to become more like Him.  This is so we can serve Him and bring glory and honor to Him in our lives.  This is the purpose and goal for our lives.

The Lord's love for us is infinite and unmeasurable.  He seeks to live and work in our lives.  The Lord wants us to grow in our passion for serving Him and in bringing glory to His name.  Ephesians 4:1b tells us that the Lord desires that we "live a life worthy of the calling" which we have received as His children.  Our lives must be filled with humility, patience, gentleness, and love.  Our characters must be maturing to be more like the character of Christ.  Ephesians 4:13b says we must "become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ."  We need to live as children of the light.  Ephesians chapter four verses twenty-two through twenty-four tells us we must put off our old selves of sin and self-absorption,  "be made new in the attitude" of our minds, "and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness."

With the Holy Spirit's help we need to eradicate anything in our lives that is not pleasing to the Lord.  Instead we need "to put on the new self."  We need to act like children of the Lord instead of children of the world and of the devil.  Ephesians 5:1 says we need to "be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children."  Our lives and speech should be filled with thanksgiving for His grace to us.  Ephesians 5:8-9 reminds us that we need to show we are the Lord's children by our kindness, compassion, love, and forgiveness for each other.  We must also show we are the Lord's children by our righteous living and by our personal integrity.  Our lives need to show that we are children of God!

Our salvation is all of grace.  We can not add or contribute to our salvation.  We were not saved, however, to go on with our empty, selfish lives of sin, as if nothing was changed in our lives.  We are to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in His work to conform us to become more like Jesus.  We are to seek the Holy Spirit's power to always live our lives for the Lord's glory.  This is the purpose for which we were placed on this earth.  It must become our passion and joy to serve the Lord with all our hearts!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Ephesians 3

"I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ."  Ephesians 3:17b-18

We as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are part of the family of God!  We are His children! Ephesians 3:7 tells us that we are servants and children of God because of "the gift of God's grace" and "through the working of His power."  Ephesians 3:8b goes on to say that we are recipients in Christ of "the unsearchable riches of Christ."  The riches of His grace and His blessings to us are so bountiful that they are far beyond our total comprehension in their magnitude!  Isn't that an awesome thought?

Another blessing we have in Christ is our ability to approach God with confidence in prayer.  Ephesians 3:12 says, "In Him and through faith in Him we approach God with freedom and confidence."  For this reason we need to pray the prayer of Ephesians 3:16-21.  It is a prayer that the apostle Paul prayed for the Ephesian church and for all believers.  It is a prayer that we need to pray for our fellow believers and for all believers.  Paul prayed, "I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith." (Ephesians 3;16-17)

Paul's prayer and our prayer should be that Christ will live in our hearts as believers in a powerful way.  It should be our consuming passion and prayer that Christ will be at home in our lives and hearts.  It should be our consuming passion that we will grow in our faith and that the power of the fruit of the Holy Spirit will be ever more evident in our lives.  It should be our prayer that sin will be eradicated from our lives and that Christ's character in us will be ever more evident.

Paul's prayer for believers continued.  Paul said, "I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." (Ephesians 3:17b-19)

Paul's prayer was that we would begin to comprehend the magnitude of the love of Christ for us, His children.  We will never fully comprehend the greatness of His love, because it "surpasses knowledge" in it awesome greatness.  In the measure we begin to grasp Christ's love for us, however, the greater will be our love for Him and the greater will be our desire to serve Him.

The way we can begin to understand Christ's love for us is by being "rooted" or foundationed in His love.  He increasingly needs to become Lord of every area of our lives.  We increasingly need to become "rooted" in Him by spending daily time in His Holy Word and in prayer with Him.  The more time we spend developing our relationship with the Lord and the more time we spend serving Him, the better we will be able to grasp the greatness of His love.

Ephesians 3:19 reminds us that our passion and desire for our lives must be to "be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."  Our passion must be that we be emptied of self and filled with Christ's character.  Our passion and prayer must be that Christ will dominate our lives more and more and that our eyes will be open to Christ's blessings and love in our lives.  There is no room for becoming complacent in the Christian life.  We need to grow in our love and passion for the Lord.  We need to grow in our understanding of His love and power in our lives.  May this be our prayer and desire.  Praise to Him "who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us." (Ephesians 3:20)