Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ(Eph. 1:3)
Good morning Saints,
Today, we start a new series of devotional reflections based on the book of Ephesians. This book will compliment well our sermon series through the book of Colossians. Ephesians is one of the best letters written by Paul for comprehending the great work of Christ in delivering the believer from sin, hell and death, and what our response should be as the Church, unified under Christ. It has been said that the Church today is quite biblically illiterate and void of true Christian Doctrine. This devotional series may be more theological than others, but it is time for the Church to firmly root itself in the truths of scripture as heresies and false teachings increase. Can I remind you that our purpose as followers of Jesus is to know Him and what He has done for us. Theology is literally the study of God! One cannot separate God from His works. And we are to devote ourselves to the Apostle’s teaching! It is time for the church to make Jesus the Center of everything we do and believe.
Praise God: After the salutation (greeting), Paul immediately Praises God, as he reflects on the great benefits of salvation in Christ. At the time of writing this letter, Paul is in a Roman jail, so he has had lots of time to contemplate the amazing grace of God revealed in Christ. This alone should speak to us: in jail yet praising God! (See Acts 16:25) Why? Because he has chosen to focus on heaven not earth: “Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits at God's right hand in the place of honor and power. 2 Let heaven fill your thoughts. Do not think only about things down here on earth”(Col. 3:1-2).We are to praise God no matter what the circumstances. How often do we do that? Are we rooted in Christ, and is our confidence in what He has done for us? Filling our head with all the truths of what God has done for us is one of the best things we can do to experience true joy and peace in the middle of any chaos. Was Ephesus a crazy place? It was for the believer in a city that worshipped the goddess Diana (Artemis). In a pagan, unruly world of gross immorality and depravity, what is a believer to do but focus our thoughts on heaven rather than earth. “Bless God” means give Him praise and thanks. As the psalmist writes, and I am sure Paul is alluding to: “Bless the LORD, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! 2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits” (Psalm 103:1-2). Can I encourage you to read Psalm 103? You will discover that David focusses on the “benefits” of his salvation, just as Paul focuses on his “spiritual blessings” in Christ.
Praise God for Salvation: Like Paul, David chooses to focus on God and His great plan of salvation – forgiveness, redemption, love, grace, election, etc. It is hard not to focus on God and think of all He has done in saving us. Actually, the reason we can even think of God and thank Him is because He has saved us. The unregenerate mind does not think of God. His benefits - His “spiritual blessings” are found in Christ who resides in Heaven. He paid the price; we reap the reward. Spiritual blessings come from Holy Spirit. He is the one who convicts of sin, opens our heart and mind to the good news of Christ and His atoning work, causes us to be born again, washed, cleansed, renewed, etc. Holy Spirit is the one who raises us from spiritual deadness to new life in Christ. Salvation is so incredible! And…it is all God. We had nothing to do with it, but receive it, and believe it. In the original Greek, Ephesians 1:3-14 comprises one long sentence. It may just be the greatest sentence ever written, for it contains and incredible amount of truth – truth found only in the person and work of Christ! Can I encourage you to read Ephesians 1:1-14. Meditate on it… ponder it… study it. It will encourage you beyond words and cause you to praise God, thanking Him for your salvation.
Friends, in the last month or so, I have witnessed several serious accidents. One motorcyclist who was cut off by a car, was sent flying through the air on a major highway. I saw his huge Harley tumble end over end. The guy was “lucky” to be alive. I stopped to assist him. Of course, the first words out of His mouth were not “praise God”, but profaning the name of Jesus. Saturday, coming home from our church beach trip, we witnessed two serious accidents that forced us to detour. In the first one, seven people were taken to hospital, including 3 children. In the second one, one person was killed, and two seriously injured. Death is all around us. We don’t know where nor when. How many of those involved know Christ, and have assurance of Heaven. Surely, we who know Him, love Him and are saved by Him can be thankful and BLESS the God of our salvation. Do you want to Bless Him more? Focus on your “spiritual blessings” in Christ.
(For you keeners out there, you can read Acts 18-20 to learn about Paul’s missionary work in Ephesus.)
Have a great week!