Sunday, May 01, 2016

Ephesians 1:8-10

Which He lavished upon us in every kind of wisdom and understanding (practical insight and prudence), Ephesians 1:8

Lavished, that is such a great word. Our Father has lavished on us every kind of wisdom. We don’t just have book smarts, we have wisdom. Wisdom into the secret motives of those who would come against us, just as Jesus did. Wisdom on the unspoken fears of those who we are called to serve. Wisdom of when to talk and when to listen. Our glory is that every kind of wisdom has been lavished on us by the Creator of everything.

But the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall (will remind you of, bring to your remembrance) everything I have told you. John 14:26

There is nothing too big for us to understand, because we now have the Mind of Christ and we now have the Holy Spirit. People say all of the time that God’s ways are higher than our ways, well of course they are, but that doesn’t mean that our Father doesn’t want us to be wise about what is going on. Our Father’s will is not meant to be a mystery to us. His plans and His purposes are for us and it is His pleasure to let us in on everything. Our Father takes great pleasure in keeping us in the loop. 

Making known to us the mystery (secret) of His will (of His plan, of His purpose). [And it is this:] In accordance with His good pleasure (His merciful intention) which He had previously purposed and set forth in Him, [He planned] for the maturity of the times and the climax of the ages to unify all things and head them up and consummate them in Christ, [both] things in heaven and things on the earth. Ephesians 1:9-10

Now we have not received the spirit [that belongs to] the world, but the [Holy] Spirit Who is from God, [given to us] that we might realize and comprehend and appreciate the gifts [of divine favor and blessing so freely and lavishly] bestowed on us by God. And we are setting these truths forth in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the [Holy] Spirit, combining and interpreting spiritual truths with spiritual language [to those who possess the Holy Spirit]. 1 Corinthians 2:12-13

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Ephesians 1:7

In Him we have redemption (deliverance and salvation) through His blood, the remission (forgiveness) of our offenses (shortcomings and trespasses), in accordance with the riches and the generosity of His gracious favor, Ephesians 1:7

Its been a while since we have studied on exactly what salvation means. The first thing to establish with salvation is that we have it right now, as we just studied, we enjoy all of the glory of Heaven right now. We do not have to wait for any of it; if Jesus has it, so do we. 

For He says, In the time of favor (of an assured welcome) I have listened to and heeded your call, and I have helped you on the day of deliverance (the day of salvation). Behold, now is truly the time for a gracious welcome and acceptance [of you from God]; behold, now is the day of salvation! 2 Corinthians 6:2

The Greek Word for salvation is Soteria and it means:

deliverer, health, rescue, and safety. Fourfold salvation: saved from the penalty, power, presence and most importantly the pleasure of sin. Deliverance from the molestation of enemies, future salvation: the sum of benefits and blessings which the Christians,        redeemed from all earthly ills, will enjoy after the visible return of Christ from heaven in the consummated and eternal kingdom of God.

The Greek Word for saved is sozo and it means:

to keep safe and sound, to rescue from danger and destruction. To save one from perishing, to save from disease, to make well, to heal, to restore. To preserve, to deliver from the penalties of sin and judgment and finally to save from the evils which obstruct the reception of deliverance.

So right now, today, we are delivered from any and all things that could ever harm us. We are safe right now, we have health right now. We are free from the presence, pleasure, power and penalty of sin right now. We do not have to wait for Jesus to return to enjoy these things, we have them right now. Right now Jesus keeps us safe and sound. We are always free from danger and destruction, we cannot lose! We are sealed with the Holy Spirit and preserved and delivered from all judgment right now. We have been delivered from any and all evil that could ever hinder us in any way at all.

Faith comes from us hearing these Truth’s. We cannot be defeated. We cannot fail. We cannot fall short. Jesus will never allow us to fail. We have not been created to fail. It is impossible for us to fail. There are no maybe’s about it. There are not “but’s.” We have no battle to win to secure these blessings. If there is any battle to be fought,  it is Jesus’ battle, not ours. We have been created to only enjoy the victory!

I am preaching to myself here, every bit as much as I am to you. I need to hear this so badly each and every day.  

Friday, April 29, 2016

Ephesians 1:4-5

Even as [in His love] He chose us [actually picked us out for Himself as His own] in Christ before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy (consecrated and set apart for Him) and blameless in His sight, even above reproach, before Him in love. For He foreordained us (destined us, planned in love for us) to be adopted (revealed) as His own children through Jesus Christ, in accordance with the purpose of His will [because it pleased Him and was His kind intent]— [So that we might be] to the praise and the commendation of His glorious grace (favor and mercy), which He so freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. Ephesians 1:4-5

Before our Father ever created anything, He foreordained us to be blameless and above reproach. God actually picked us out of all that He was going to make to be perfectly one with Him and be His Own Body. We are flesh of His flesh and bone of His bone. He set us apart before we ever were. God knew exactly how He was going to make us before there was anything. He chose us, we did not choose Him. We cannot fail or ever fall short because we have not been made to. We are in Christ and that super power is the force that insures our success 100% of the time. It is God’s will that we are to the glory and commendation of His Grace and God’s will is always fulfilled.

Now about predestination. A lot of people struggle with this glorious Truth, but we shouldn’t. Most all Christians will confess that God knows the beginning and the end. Most of us believe that He is our Shepherd, our Gardener, our Vine, and our Potter. All of these descriptions our our Father show leadership and control. So if our Father knows what the beginning and the end will be and He is the leader of us, why would we ever doubt that He had a plan and a purpose for all of us? Predestination only makes sense.

For we are God's [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live]. Ephesians 2:10

Declaring the end and the result from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure and purpose, Isaiah 46:10

For in this city there actually met and plotted together against Your holy Child and Servant Jesus, Whom You consecrated by anointing, both Herod and Pontius Pilate with the Gentiles and peoples of Israel, To carry out all that Your hand and Your will and purpose had predestined (predetermined) should occur. Acts 4:27-28

But when He, Who had chosen and set me apart [even] before I was born and had called me by His grace (His undeserved favor and blessing), saw fit and was pleased. To reveal (unveil, disclose) His Son within me so that I might proclaim Him among the Gentiles (the non-Jewish world) as the glad tidings (Gospel), immediately I did not confer with flesh and blood [did not consult or counsel with any frail human being or communicate with anyone]. Galatians 1:15-16

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Ephesians 1:3

May blessing (praise, laudation, and eulogy) be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah) Who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual (given by the Holy Spirit) blessing in the heavenly realm! Ephesians 1:3

We have been blessed with every, not just some, not just many, but every blessing that is in Heaven. There is not one single blessed thing in Heaven that we do not have right now. If Jesus has it, so do we. If God has it, so do we. If the Holy Spirit has it, so do we. Our Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are all One, and we are now one with all that our Father is and has. Faith comes from hearing the Truth and the Truth is what sets us free. 

I have given to them the glory and honor which You have given Me, that they may be one [even] as We are one: John 17:22

In this [union and communion with Him] love is brought to completion and attains perfection with us, that we may have confidence for the day of judgment [with assurance and boldness to face Him], because as He is, so are we in this world. 1 John 4:17

Because we are members (parts) of His body. For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is very great, but I speak concerning [the relation of] Christ and the church. Ephesians 5:30-32

We now have Jesus’ Spirit and are one with it. We have His Mind. We have His Glory. Jesus is the Author and Finisher of our faith. Jesus has given us His peace, His joy, and by His stripes we are healed. We have been raised up together with Him and we are now seated with Him at the right hand of God. Nothing has been held back from us and there is nothing that will ever cause any of it to leave us or forsake us. The gifts that our Father has given to us will never be taken back. Our sins will never be remembered by God and they will never be counted against us. We have complete victory because of Jesus’ success. It’s all free, it’s all unearned, and it is all unmerited. We never have to take thought for being more than a conqueror.  

So because we have all of this and we don’t have to do anything to receive it, we can now completely live to serve others. We do not have to take one single thought for our own life’s, so that we can always be thinking of others. We can now completely live to bless those who curse us and pray for those who despitefully use us. We can now live to intercede for others so that they can have life and have it abundantly. 

Monday, April 25, 2016

Ephesians 1:2

May grace (God’s unmerited favor) and spiritual peace [which means peace with God and harmony, unity, and undisturbedness] be yours from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 1:2

Here is a great Truth, our Father has to give us peace with Him. We can’t really be comfortable with God unless He gives us peace with Himself. He gives us peace by giving us unmerited favor. That means that we can’t earn His peace, it is all just a free gift and it is all given to us in spite of ourselves. 

Religion never really gave me that understanding, but the Bible sure did. The Word of our Father allowed me to see that God was responsible to make sure that we had peace. Then He really drove the Truth home when He gave me two children. It was through my kids that I realized exactly how it all worked. As babies my two daughters did nothing to earn peace with me. They did no works, they followed no rules, and yet Beth and I still insured that they trusted us and had peace that they were loved and fully taken care of, and it was all unmerited. They did nothing other then being our kids, just as we can do nothing other than be God’s kids. They threw tantrums and we were still responsible for them. They yelled at us and we were still responsible for them. They got in trouble and still freely and graciously Beth and I insured that they were protected and felt safe. We were even responsible to insure that they felt safe while being corrected. 

Jesus tells us the same things are true with Him and God as well when it comes to us. 

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.] Matthew 11:28

I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.] John 16:33

We are little kids. That means that our Father is totally responsible to make sure that we feel comfortable with Him. When I was growing up in Church the preachers were like my big brother. He would tell me that I was adopted. He would try to play tricks on me to cause me to doubt who I was. He would even tell me that I was invisible and that people couldn't see me, but I had mom and dad there proving to me that I was completely theirs and I knew, regardless of what Dave said, that I was safe. My parents were responsible for insuring that I had peace, not my brother. Far too many preachers will try to tell us what we need to do or how we have to act to have our Father accept and be with us. Don’t ever listen to them. We are never left alone and we are never forsaking and our relationship with God is all unearned and undeserved. 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Ephesians 1:1

Paul, an apostle (special messenger) of Christ Jesus (the Messiah), by the divine will (the purpose and the choice of God) to the saints (the consecrated, set-apart ones) at Ephesus who are also faithful and loyal and steadfast in Christ Jesus: Ephesians 1:1

Our Father knew that there was going to be a Bible. He knew that He was going to have many of the letters that He had Paul write put in the Bible and our Father has inspired every last Word of the Bible.

Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action), 2 Timothy 3:16

So God had Paul start of His letters with the Truth that he was only an Apostle because our Father willed it. Herein lies one of the greatest Truths that there is and one of the greatest inspirations of our liberty and freedom: our Father willed our salvation and our callings. Whether He called us to be apostles, pastors, elders, or just servants without a title, God is the reason that we are who and what we are. He knew all of our faults before the world ever was and He still called us and because He did call us, we can never lose the gift of being the Bride of Christ.

For God’s gifts and His call are irrevocable. [He never withdraws them when once they are given, and He does not change His mind about those to whom He gives His grace or to whom He sends His call.] Romans 11:29

We have been set apart for Holy use. We have been chosen to serve in the full and glorious power of Christ. You and I are consecrated and filled with the Holy Spirit. Whether we completely understand all of it or not makes absolutely no difference. We are not the source of our success, Christ is and He never leaves us or forsakes us. Our Father will never let us be anything other than victorious. We never have to worry or take thought for our success, it is just going to happen. Our Father will cause us to love and serve and He will cause us to fulfill His will. If there is anything that needs changed in us, our Father will cause that to come to pass as well. God is always greater in us than anything that is in this world. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Colossians 4:5-6

Behave yourselves wisely [living prudently and with discretion] in your relations with those of the outside world (the non-Christians), making the very most of the time and seizing (buying up) the opportunity. Let your speech at all times be gracious (pleasant and winsome), seasoned [as it were] with salt, [so that you may never be at a loss] to know how you ought to answer anyone [who puts a question to you]. Colossians 4:5-6

“God Hates Fags.” “You’re Going To Hell.” “Sinner.”  I hear these words from so called Christians all of the time. There are whole denominations that devote their entire existence to expressing these kind of phrases. Yet, the Holy Spirit tells us here in Colossians that our speech should at all times be gracious and pleasant. Some would say that these kind of phrases are gracious. I have had the wolves in sheep’s clothing tell me that these phrases, and the others like them, are loving so many times that it makes my head spin. To see if these kind of words are truly gracious and pleasant, we can look at Jesus and see how He spoke.

When Jesus raised Himself up, He said to her, Woman, where are your accusers? Has no man condemned you? John 8:10

The woman here in John was caught in the very act of adultery, she was what so many religious wolves today, and then, would call a whore. This woman was dragged out into a public place and was being used as an example by the religious leaders to keep the people in fear. The leaders showed her no compassion, their words were not gracious and pleasant towards her. Their hope was also to get Jesus at the same time that they got her. Yet, Jesus didn’t threaten her with Hell, or publicly ridicule her to side with the religious wolves, even though the woman was guilty. Jesus was pleasant to her, He was kind, and merciful and as He was, He ran the religious bullies away, humiliating them. These so called leaders would later have Him killed for it, just as the religious wolves today will try to destroy us as we are gracious and kind towards notable sinners.

Whenever someone wants to talk about another’ person’s sin, remember how Jesus acted towards sinners. Remember how His Grace abounded towards everyone, even the leaders who would call for His death. Also remember this Truth: our righteousness is as filthy rags. Remember too how Jesus said that even He wasn’t good when the people called Him good. Remember how the Holy Spirit had Paul write that no one is good, not even one us. And when we are empowered to understand these things, our words will always be gracious and pleasant. 

The Truth is that we all screw up and thank God that our righteousness is not based on ourselves. Our righteousness is only based on the free and complete mercy of our Father. We are blessed because our Father will never remember our sins and He has given us righteousness apart from our works. Our liberty and righteousness does not have to be understood or even believed by us to be active for us. God’s Grace is never dependent on us. Grace is not reactive to us, we are reactive to it.