For This Reason

Discussion in 'Bible Study' started by SueJLove, Jul 18, 2013.

  1. Thursday, July 18, 2013, 6:30 a.m. – the Lord Jesus woke me with the song “Believe Him” playing in my mind. Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Ephesians 2-3 (NIV):;

    You Used to Live (2:1-10)

    A whole sermon could be preached just from this short passage of scripture alone. There is so much here! Basically we have a picture here of the transformation of heart and mind (resulting in a change of behavior) which takes place in the life of the one who says “Yes” to following Jesus Christ with his or her life. This transformation, and even the desire to have this change, is the working of the Spirit of God in the life of the believer in Jesus Christ, as the believer surrenders his or her life and will over to Jesus Christ.

    We can’t just do good things or even try to stop doing bad things and somehow earn merit with God. We will always fall short of meeting his standard of perfection. So, he sent his Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our sins so that “in Christ” we might be delivered from slavery to sin, from the ultimate punishment of sin in hell, and so we might be set free to love, honor, worship and obey our Lord Jesus in the power of his Spirit within us. For Christ did not save us just so we would escape hell, or so we could go to heaven, but he saved us and he called us with a holy calling, and he has “good works” which he has prepared in advance for us to do. All we have to do is to surrender our will to him and to let him work his will through our lives.

    Via the working of the Spirit of God in our lives in setting us free from imprisonment to sin, we no longer should live the way we used to live when we followed the ways of this world and Satan. We died to sin. How can we live in it any longer? Satan is who is at work in the disobedient. Once we lived to gratify the cravings of our flesh and we followed its evil desires, but because of God’s great love for us, he who is rich in mercy set us free! Amen! So, I now choose to walk in his truth and in his love, and to no longer follow the ways of this world. We are to live in the world, but we should not be of the world, i.e. we should no longer conform our lives to its mold. We should come out from the world of sin and be separate. And, we should go out into the world of people with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

    The Chief Cornerstone (2:19-22)

    In Christ we become members of his body along with other believers in Jesus Christ. We are not just independent followers of Christ, but together we form one body, and we are to work together as a body for the strengthening and encouragement of the body of Christ in their walk of faith in Jesus Christ. We are a family. And, we should work together as a family. Yet, it doesn’t always work that way, especially in today’s church culture here in America. The church is marketed just like a business. So many congregations have gone the way of the world and there is little distinction now between the church and the world. The church participates in the things of this world because it believes that somehow that participation in the world is going to help it to reach the world, but what then are we reaching the world for? – A cleaned up version of what the world is already offering? – Or are we teaching the cross of Christ, death to sin, and lives free in Christ from our enslavement to sin?

    We need to make the distinction between what is of man and what is of God. Not every leader in today’s institutional church is a true follower of Jesus Christ. Many are followers of man, business marketing schemes, man-made religion and the ways of this world. And, they operate the church like a business, not like the body of Christ. We need to know what the word of God teaches with regard to the church, his body, and how it is scripturally to function. Yes, it is built upon the apostles and the prophets, and God still uses people with the spiritual gift of prophecy within his body today for their strengthening and encouragement, yet not everyone who claims to have this gift or who calls himself or herself a prophet is truly of God. We should not despise prophecies supposedly coming from God, i.e. we should not automatically just write off everything or everyone who doesn’t fit inside our institutional box called religion. Yet, we should test everything we hear against the word of God to make sure what is being said does not contradict God’s word or his character. And, we should make sure to always remember that Christ is the chief, not man.

    Because He Obeyed (3:1, 7-13)

    Paul was literally a prisoner on house arrest because of his testimony for the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was because he obeyed Jesus in sharing the true gospel of salvation that he was placed under house arrest. And, it was usually the religious leaders of his day, who claimed to serve the same God as him, who opposed him the strongest. And, that may be true of some of us today. Some of our fiercest opposition may be coming from institutional religion (man-made) which may be threatened by our testimony for Jesus Christ and his gospel of salvation. Many churches today have gone to diluting the gospel in order to make it more agreeable to humans, and so they (the worldly) will feel more comfortable in church. Yet, the cross is supposed to be an offense, and Jesus said that because he was hated, if we are his true followers, we too will be hated for the sake of his name and for the sake of the truth of the gospel, and some of us may even be “arrested” because we bore testimony to that faith, even by leaders within our churches.

    Immeasurably More (3:14-21)

    Here is the encouragement, though. First of all, although we may have to suffer all kinds of rejections, persecutions and even imprisonments because we stand by the truth of God’s holy word, and for the true gospel of salvation, which frees us from slavery to sin, we should rejoice that we share in the fellowship of the sufferings of Christ, and we should be humbled that he would even choose us for such an awesome task as preaching the gospel. So, we should not be discouraged by our own sufferings or by the sufferings of our brothers and sisters in Christ throughout the world who are also standing firm in their faith.

    Instead, we need to lift one another up in faith, and pray to God for our strengthening, courage and determination to keep on sharing the true gospel of salvation and the truth of God’s holy word despite all opposition, even coming from within institutional religion. Remember that Christ’s opponents were the religious leaders of his day who claimed to follow his God and his Father, but who did not like him because he operated outside their box of institutionalized religion, tradition and culture.

    God has been reminding me much these past few days that he has it all under control. The encouragement here is that we grasp how wide and deep is his love toward us, and to believe that he can do immeasurably more than we could ever ask or imagine. It may not be in a way that will bring immediate comfort to our lives, and we may not even see the results in our lifetime, yet hope that is seen is not hope. We must trust in Christ even when we don’t see what he’s doing. He just asks us to trust him. He will work it all out for good.

    Believe Him / An Original Work / July 15, 2013

    My heart cries: Lord, won’t You hear me
    Seeking You for the answers
    To my heartache and questions
    I have concerning my life?
    Speak, Lord, to me right now.

    “Oh, dear one, why don’t you trust Me
    With your life’s circumstances?
    Give your all on the altar
    In submission of your will
    To My purpose for you.

    “Surrender your life completely
    To your Lord and your Savior.
    He has all things planned for you
    For His glory and honor.
    He’ll work all things for good.

    “Believe Him. He will fulfill all
    Of His promises to you
    For your life and your future.
    Trust Him. Rest in His love.
    He’ll give you peace from above.”

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