Saturday, June 28, 2008

S.O.A.P. - Ephesians 1 and 2

Scripture (The Message Version):

Ephesians 1:4-6: Long before He laid down earth’s foundations, He had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of His love, to be made whole and holy by His love. Long, long ago He decided to adopt us into His family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure He took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of His lavish gift-giving by the hand of His beloved Son.

Ephesians 1:11-12: It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, He had His eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose He is working out in everything and everyone.

Ephesians 1:17-19: But I do more than thank. I ask – ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory – to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing Him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is He is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life He has for His followers, oh, the utter extravagance of His work in us who trust Him – endless energy, boundless strength!

Ephesians 1:1-6: It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It’s a wonder God didn’t lose His temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, He embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on His own, with no help from us! Then He picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah.

Ephesians 1:19-22; That’s plain enough, isn’t it? You’re no longer wandering exiles. This kingdom of faith is now your home country. You’re no longer strangers or outsiders. You belong here, with as much right to the name Christian as anyone. God is building a home. He’s using us all – irrespective of how we got here – in what He is building. He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation. Now He’s using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together. We see it taking shape day after day – a holy temple built by God, all of us built into it, a temple in which God is quite at home.


Observation:

Long before the foundations of the earth, God had a plan for His children. It’s in Christ that we discover these plans. It’s in Him that we find out who we are and what we are living for. We have to be discerning and seek to know God so that we can see exactly what it is He is calling us to do. If we follow and trust Him, He gives us endless energy and boundless strength to do what He has purposed for us.

I let the world, “which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell [me] how to live. [I] filled my longs with polluted unbelief and then exhaled disobedience”. Any time I’ve chosen to sin, it’s because the way of the world seemed easier or more enticing than God’s way. But God, through Christ has mercy on me. I am no longer a stranger or an outsider, but I am at home in Christ. It is in Him that I find a place where I belong. I am being used as a brick in the building of His church that will stand forever, the place He calls home.


Application:
I need to know Christ in order to know God’s plan for me. I need to be seeking Him daily…continually. I am a child of God and I have been bought with a price. I ought to live like it. Once I have been given eyes to see His purpose for me, I must believe that He will carry me through it. I must lean on His grace to get me through. I need to remember that this world has nothing for me and nothing it can offer is worth putting distance between me and God.


Prayer:

Father, help me to be more like Jesus. Open my eyes to the purpose You have for my life and give me the strength and courage to fulfill that purpose. Thank You for being the place where I belong. Thank You that I did not have to earn my place in Your family and I don’t have to work for my salvation. Teach me to not take Your blessings for granted and give me the strength to continue running this race until I am truly at home with You.

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