In the tradition of those who followed God, when Jesus came, there were two divisions - the Jews, who were on the inside as God’s chosen people; and Gentiles, who were everyone else. Paul tells the church at Ephesus that these two divisions no longer exist, because Jesus Christ has torn them down. His death is the instrument that brings us peace, and through Him, we can find wholeness and move beyond the barriers our world continues to erect today.
In our message from the Book of Ephesians this morning, Brother Danny explains what Paul means in chapter 2, verses 11 through 13. As Paul has just concluded his exclamation that believers are God’s masterpiece, he goes on to explain that, though the Gentiles were once NOT in covenant with God, were once NOT in relationship with God, by His will and through His Son, they are now His people. And, just as those Gentiles in Ephesus have been adopted into God’s family, so have we.
Brother Danny continues taking us through Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, today in chapter 2, verses 8 through 10. In these verses, Paul expresses first the nature of our salvation; that God alone is responisble for every aspect of our salvation. Second, Paul wants his readers to understand how dear we are to the Author of our salvation. As His masterpieces, God looks at us with love and joy. Finally, Paul explains that the Christian isn’t merely saved FROM something; as Christians, we are saved FOR the good works that God has prepared for us to do.
As Brother Danny takes us into chapter 2 of Paul’s letter to the Ephesian believers, he explains Paul’s statment in verse 1 of chapter 2 that all believers were, at the first, dead in ther sins. There is nothing they, or we, could do to effect our salvation. Without Christ, we would be doomed to a life of slavery. But, through an act of mercy, God reached out and changed us through His Son, Jesus Christ. Because of this salvation, believers everywhere should commit to letting our lives and our voices proclaim the good news wherever we go.
As Brother Danny continues taking us through the book of Ephesians, he shares chapter 1, verses 15-23 this morning. In these verses, Paul expresses his prayer of thanksgiving for the Ephesian believers. Paul thanked God for their growth, their love for other, and their love for God. As we examine this prayer of Paul’s, it would be healthy to consider whether our lives would inspire such a prayer from Paul.
As Brother Danny wraps up Paul’s introduction in the book of Ephesians, he reminds us that our salvation was planned by God before the foundation of the world. Gentiles were not “plan b” in the kingdom of God. Also, he shows us that it is Jesus the Son who makes the gospel of salvation, and the fulfillment of God’s plan, possible. Finally, we have the presence of the Holy Spirit as the downpayment of our salvation and the glory which we will recieve. In this the whole Godhead is present, and our response should be praise and worship.
In this morning’s message, Brother Danny explains what Paul means when he says that we are in Jesus. Being in Jesus means that we are redeemed, paid for, at a very high price. Being in Jesus means that we are forgiven, the wall of sin is destroyed. Finally, being in Jesus means that we are part of His plan. From the foundations of the world, God had a plan for each of his children.
Brother Danny explains the opening benediction in the book of Ephesians, beginning with verses 3 through 6. In these verses, Paul gets caught up in expressing the greatness of God’s love for his people. Before the foundations of the world, God chose his people for adoption into the family of God. With that adoption comes the command to be set apart, holy for God’s plan. This doctrine of elections shouldn’t be something that God’s people ignore, rather it should cause us to glorify God even more fully.
Today, Brother Danny shares with us from Ephesians 1:1-2, a passage that is often overlooked for anything of spiritual significance. This salutation from Paul to the churches in and around Ephesus, serves as a reminder for us that God calls us into His purpose to live as saints, holy ones set apart. We are called to be set apart for the service that he commands of us, a service to reach the lost with the gospel of Jesus Christ. And he equips us with the community of the church, to uplift and encourage each believer.
Brother Bill begins a series on the book of Hebrews with a look at the message given to God’s people through the ages. Though the messenger may change, the message has never changed. God desires our obedience, our worship, and our active ministering to those around us.