Eph 6:19-24

Eph 6:19-24

19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,

20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

Paul loved to talk about Jesus.  Everywhere he went, he would find people to tell them about Jesus.  In the synagogue, in the open market place, or finding a place he could stand and preach.  It didn’t matter – Paul would preach and let people know the mystery of the gospel.  He was bold with the gospel at all times.

I want that kind of boldness.  My brother-in-law died a last week in a car accident.  He was bold for Jesus.  No matter where he was or who he was talking to, he would tell them about Jesus.  He would talk about the blessings of God.  He would ask them if they knew Christ.  There was no doubt he was a man of God, and that he loved the Lord, if you ever stopped  to talk to him.  You knew he loved the Lord.  Give me that kind of boldness – that I may always talk about Jesus!

21 But that ye also may know my affairs, and how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things:

22 Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that ye might know our affairs, and that he might comfort your hearts.

Another messenger from Paul, Tychicus, was sent to update the people on what was going on with Paul.  They knew he was in prison, but dd not know about his health, or his mood, or what was coming to him from the Romans.  They were concerned with how Paul was doing.  The people of Ephesus really cared about him, as he had planted the church there, and he was the one who led many of them to Christ.  Paul knew this, and wanted to make sure they knew he was doing fine.

People care about you, too.  I have been out of church now for almost a year due to the chemo and cancer I have been going through.  And my church has some mold in it, so I can’t go there for risk of getting sick.   People are asking all the time how I am doing, so my wife and the pastor keep the updated.  If you are a member of a local church, and you have not been lately, I would guess there are some who wonder if you’re okay.  They may not call, but they are thinking about it.  Make sure you attend regularly if you are able so people know you’re okay!

23 Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

24 Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.

Paul leaves with comforting words.  Peace, Grace, faith and love to all.  Paul was always concerned that  the people were well grounded in the things of God.  he desires peace in the church, that there will not be arguing, disputes or disagreements among thee brethren.  He wanted them to have love with faith – I like that combination!  Have love to one another, and have faith that love will return to you.  Never worry if someone may not show you the love you need – have faith it will come.  Love with faith!

Lastly, grace to all them that love Jesus.  Grace to all of you, my friends.  This brings an end to our study in Ephesians.  I have enjoyed going through this book,and I hope you have as well.  I am not sure what book  will do next – I am open for suggestions.  I am going to take a short break from this blog, and I will let you know through my other blogs when it will start up again

Thanks for reading!

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All About Love

Ephesians 3:17-19

17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,

Christ dwells in our hearts by faith. I have talked to so many people and told them how Christ changed my life. Some of them will tell me that they were glad that I found religion, but it was my decision to make these changes that made the difference. That is so untrue. They just don’t understand the difference that Christ makes when we accept him into our hearts by faith. Faith in the transforming power of Jesus Christ, and the fact that he comes and dwells within us when we ask him to, is the power behind the transformation in a Christian. And it doesn’t just last for a few days. It lasts the rest of our lives. As long as we have a desire to grow, God will continue to move in our lives and increase our faith and our knowledge of Him. By faith Christ lives in our hearts.

 We Are rooted and grounded in love. If your spiritual walk is not rooted and grounded in love then you’re going the wrong direction. Jesus and God are all about love. It was God’s love that sent Jesus to this earth. And it was Jesus love that brought Him to the cross. We need to be all about love. Everything we do for Christ needs to be about love.

18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;

Do you comprehend what is a breath, the length, the depth, and the height of that love? How far do we really need to reach in love?  God reached all the way down from heaven! Should we do any less?  Can you tell me anybody that you know that doesn’t need love?  Our mission, and God’s will, is that we spread the love of Christ to all we meet.If we don’t understand how far we need to reach out and love then we will never reach far enough. God requires us to reach out to everybody and share His love. That’s what we have to comprehend. Now I don’t know that I will ever be able to fully comprehend why he loves us so much. I mean, we are His creation but we are so undeserving of His love. I was a wretched sinner before I came to Christ. I did not deserve any bit of His love. But He loved me while I was still a sinner. How much more should I love others on this Earth with the love He has given to me.  He did not give me His love to just hold onto it.  He gave me His love to share!

19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

I need to know the love of Christ. It is much more important than knowledge. I was one who strove after knowledge when I got saved. I started reading the Bible and reading all the books. I started studying my Bible, doing word studies and history studies. I started listening to all kinds of preachers to learn more and more. I got so stoked up with knowledge that I also got full of pride. I was so concerned with gaining knowledge that I forgot to apply the love that God told me to have for those around me. See it’s much more important to know the love of Christ and to practice love with those around us then it is to have knowledge. If you are striving after knowledge I suggest you start striving after love instead.
If we know the love of Christ then we can be filled with the fullness of God.  That is because God is all about love. I want to be filled with God’s fullness. I want everything I can get from God and sometimes that will mean getting into difficult situations. Those situations are my proving ground and my training ground. That’s where God sees what I’m made, and He can see if I would treat other people with love even if they’re coming against me. Those are the times that God really knows what we’re made of.

If We Are The Body

20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,

21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:

Notice again here that it’s the Father who did the work in Christ. Christ didn’t pull this off by Himself. He had the help of the Father and the Holy Spirit when he was raised from the dead, and He was set in the highest place of authority, on the right hand of God. That places Jesus in the position of the highest authority in heaven, except for God. And we know that in heaven, Jesus is our mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5). When a prayer rises up as incense before God (Rev 8:4) Jesus takes them to the Father as a mediator, and they talk about an answer to our prayer.  I can’t imagine hearing the conversations while millions and billions of prayers are going up and they’re deciding which ones to answer now, which to delay the answer,and which to say not now! They are definitely on a different timetable than we are.

This places Jesus in a position far above anything on this earth and any name on this earth.  Nothing in this world today or in the world that is to come, which is heaven. The only one He’s not above is God. That means that eventually every knee shall bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord (Phil2:10). God The Father’s Son will be exalted, even by those He who do not exalt Him now. That is why we praise Him on this Earth. That is why we give Him glory and honor everyday of our lives, even when the bad times come.  Our circumstances should never dictate our  praise. He deserves our praise no matter what is going on in our lives. I hope you will learn that lesson and practice it well

 

22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,

23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all

God has placed all things under Jesus feet. That means you, me, all of our friends, and all of our enemies. Jesus is authority over all of them. He has the ability to stomp them out anytime He wants to. And have you noticed that usually He doesn’t? Do you ever wonder why? Could it be perhaps that He’s put them there to teach you a lesson, to change you? To bring your attitude in line with what the Father would like to accomplish in your life? And I believe that’s true. He hasn’t removed an enemy, and by enemy I mean somebody who abuses you either physically or emotionally or spiritually, then perhaps He’s using that enemy to make a change in your life. Now I’m not condoning anybody stay in a relationship that is physically abusive.  Never should you stay in that relationship. That’s the devil at his worst. But we do need to do all we can in a workplace environment or church or someplace else, if somebody is emotionally attacking us, seek the Lord to see if we should be changing. Is our attitude towards them correct?  Do we love them as we should?  Pray for them?  It is something to consider.
Jesus is also the head over the church. God is giving him that authority is well. And the church is His body. What kind of a body are we? I like the song by Casting Crowns and I’m putting the YouTube video link of that song at the end of this post.  “If we are the body why aren’t His arms reaching,  why aren’t  His hands healing, why aren’t His words teaching?” The church if His fullness.  It is what He came to do. Not only to save the world but to establish that church. The church is Jesus Legacy you might say. We need to keep it alive. The church needs to rise up and fulfill its mission. We have talked about this before in the previoes Philippians study and I’m sure we’ll talk about it more. God help us if we don’t rise up as a church and start to love the way we’re supposed to love.  Put aside our foolish pride and humble ourselves. God hates pride and He wants us to love all people. Christ loved all people and we are supposed to be an extension of Him as His church. Do you know that even if you’re not attending a church, you are still a part of the church? The church consists of all the saved, and we all need to fulfill this mission that he has given us because that is what fulfills Christ’s mission. Let’s just do it, Church!

 

In My Right Mind

Philippians 2:5

” Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus”

In the verses that follow this one, Paul explains to us how Jesus put our concerns before His own, how He gave His life for mine – let each look on the things of others.  We will be discussing that in the coming days.  I want to center here on this verse by itself.  I know it is important to keep things in context and I will do my best to keep it there, but there is so much packed in this little verse that I have to pick it out separate.

The mind of Christ.  Let’s look at His life here on this earth to get a glimpse of what this looks like.  He taught the people with love and compassion, doing His best to put ii together in simple stories the people could understand.  He spoke their language, not as some scholar or Master, even though He had all knowledge.  And the people flocked to hear Him because they knew t was coming from His heart – His words were spoken with conviction and authority.  I have seen preachers who did not speak with authority, and I have seen those who do, and there is a world of difference.

He healed all who He came in contact with.  Read through the 4 gospels. Every time it says the people came to Him to be healed, it also says He healed them all.  He was genuinely concerned with people, and it showed.  Over and over again, He put aside His own desire for some private time and ministered to the people instead.  Their needs superseded His own.

He took care of a band of men who followed Him and gave Him their lives.  They were totally devoted to Him, and He taught them the ways of the kingdom.  He gave Himself completely to them.  His life in many ways was not His own, but belonged to those who followed Him.  Common people, desiring to learn more about their God and His dealings with His people.

The mind of Christ is what I desire here on this earth.  I want to be the kind of minister who people look at and they know I genuinely care for them.  I want them to know I will do what I need to do to help them get through a hard time, to pray for them when they need prayer, to love them when they feel unloved.

The mind of Christ is not just about sacrifice.  It is also about humility and giving of oneself to others while I am able to.  It is possible to have that mind of Christ in us so that we can touch others for God’s glory

 

 

Oh, how I long to have the mind of Christ.  To not be motivated by anything but my love for my brothers and sisters, and even more my love for the lost.  Help me to be a light to the world, and salt to those who are seeking.  Help to show love and mercy to all I come in contact with.

We Must Be Merciful

Philippians 2:1

” If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,.

Having outlined the need to continue preaching the gospel in chapter 1, Paul now turns His attention to the reaction we should have once we have heard the gospel and accepted Christ.   We have to keep in mind that these Philippian converts were coming out of Hinduism and Buddhism for the most part, so they have to be taught what is now expected from a Christian point of view.

 

I remember when I first got saved.  I had traveled to my friend’s house in Iowa on vacation, and got saved the last day I was there.  Driving the 1,500 miles home was quite a trip – but not much different for me.  I still drank and smoked weed all the way home.  I knew something had happened to me that night before I left – I felt it.  But I did not know how or when I was supposed to change.  When I got home, I started watching the 700 club, and learned I was supposed to read my bible, so I did.  I knew I was supposed to go back to church, so I did.  Long haired hippie sitting on the back pew – many knew who I was because I went back to the church I grew up in.  Many people came up and greeted me, and it felt good.  I had been an outcast for years, and now people were shaking my hand.

Changes came slowly, but they came.  I became tamer, even though the drugs and drinking remained.  2 years later, God picked me up and moved me to Iowa to get married, leaving behind the bad stuff.

The thing is, there is consolation in Christ.  He walks with us and sees us through the difficult areas in our lives, wanting us to change, but knowing it has to come in pieces.  Some people are fortunate, and all that old baggage goes away at once.  But most have to shed these things a little bit at a time.  And Cist is there to console us, either Himself or through other believers.

And there is comfort of love.  While I was gaining in my Christian walk, the love those people showed me as single guy was amazing.   They really made me feel I was a part of the church, and welcomed me into some activities that were usually just for married folks.  It was a great comfort to me, and kept me wanting more of this Christianity.

There is fellowship of the spirit.  You can feel it anytime you run into another believer.  There seems to be a bond right away, and the conversation can get started easily.  Even as a new Christian, I could sense that Spirit n people.  And the mercy they showed me from the depth of their hearts was amazing.  They knew my past.  I was pretty well known around town as a trouble maker and druggie.  My mom had been the secretary of that church for years, and they knew what had happened to me.  I was the bad egg, yet they showed me mercy and accepted me back without question.

I am forever indebted to the First Congregational Church of West Boylston, Mass for their love and support those 2 years.  It was their love that has me where I am today – still serving Christ.

 

Lord, help me not to judge any new convert in Christ, but to love them as my church loved me.  I was far from perfect, and God had a lot of work to do with me.  But they took me in and loved me and showed me mercy, and that kept me going for you.  Help me display that same kind of love to those I might come in contact with who are just starting to walk with you.

Philippians 1:9b

“…that love may abound more and more in knowledge and in all judgment.”

It is not enough to just have love in knowledge. This is superficial love that will never help another Christian grow into maturity. Don’t get me wrong. Love is the all important thing, and understanding how to love each other is of utmost importance. We must learn to Follow the summary of love found in 1 Corinthians 13:7-8 – Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails”. When we arrive at this point in our walk with Christ, we are in a good place.

But there is a higher plane, one which brings us even more in line with the love God has for us – loving in all judgment. This kind of love is ignored in our churches today. It is skipped over as if there should be no judgment at all. We should bear all things, believe all things, hope all things and endure all things while never even contemplating judgment. Grace, grace, grace – that is the message that prevails today.

Yes, our Lord is a God of grace – abundant grace that forgives our sins despite our wretchedness. But He is also a God of judgment, and we must never forget this. We must always preach this. There will be judgment for the unrighteous, just as there was for the enemies of Israel in the Old Testament. There is a heaven to gain and a hell to shun.

Jesus spoke of judgment as much, or more, than He spoke of mercy. He said the fool is in danger of hell fire, that the Pharisees were wretched, that many who call Him Lord he doesn’t even know. He talked fo weeping and gnashing of teeth, and the judgment to come, as much as He talked of heaven.

It is good that we love the unbeliever and the babe in Christ with knowledge – this is a necessary thing while they are still growing in their faith. But as they mature, judgment must be used to keep them from turning to the right or to the left. Love with the love that Jesus had!

 

Lord, I have long struggled even to love as Paul taught us to. I can’t do it on my own. I need your love to shine through me into others people’s lives. Help me to bear all things, believe all things, hope all things and endure all things, but help me to do it with discernment, with judgment. Help me to fully love those around me.

Philippians 1:9a

“And this I pray, that your love may abound more and more…”

If love is not growing within us then it is dying within us. God’s love is never stagnant. It is always searching for ways to manifest itself in our lives so that we can touch the lives of others. His love radiates from within us if we allow it to. If we don’t, then we become ineffective in our witness to the world.

So how do I keep this love that God has shown me active and alive? How do I keep from being like the Ephesian church, which lost their first love? It is essential to keep in mind that love is one of the fruits of the spirit. Fruit only multiplies one way – by the planting of the seed that is within the fruit. The fruit of the spirit is no different. We experience growth in our love relationships with others by giving love at every opportunity.

So when the world seems to come against you, and you wonder if you can endure through it, give love. When all seems to be going wrong, and you’re not sure which way to turn, give love.   When someone wrongs you, give love. When someone uses you, give love. When someone gossips about you, give love. As you give love, the seed will not only start to grow in others, but it will also grow in you.

The golden rule has been forgotten in our society today. Do unto others as you would like them to do unto you has been turned into Do unto others as they do unto you. This is the wrong reaction every time. If we remain in our first love, we will always treat others with respect, with empathy, with love. There is never a time we should react out of anger or revenge. This is how love will abound.

Father, there have been so many times I have not reacted with your love to a situation. I have given in to my own selfish desires to see that person who wronged me also suffer wrong. I have gossiped about someone else because they gossiped about me. I have wished ill will on someone because they treated me with disrespect. Help me to love in all sitautions. Help me to show your love to the world.