Belief and Behavior…WHO are we?
As Paul opens Ephesians with the words, “I, Paul, am under God’s plan as an apostle, a special agent of Christ Jesus…” I think of my favorite TV show, NCIS. Yes, I know my mind goes in funny places at 5am sometimes. But, seriously, I think of how Tony introduces himself in almost every episode of solving crime. “Hi, I’m VERY special agent, Tony DiNozzo, Even though the character Tony confidently states how special he is, he would die for his team. Paul will do anything so we will know WHO we are in Christ. Paul will spend the first half of his letter telling believers WHO they are and then tell all of us HOW we should behave. Let us relish and be encouraged in WHO we are today.
Ephesians 1, The Message
1-2 I, Paul, am under God’s plan as an apostle, a special agent of Christ Jesus, writing to you faithful believers in Ephesus. I greet you with the grace and peace poured into our lives by God our Father and our Master, Jesus Christ.
WHAT do we learn? Peace and grace is poured into our lives by God and Jesus, His Son!
The God of Glory
3-6 How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. 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.
WHAT do we learn? How great is our God! Sing with me, how great is our God! God had us in His mind before the world began. He STILL has us on his mind, our names written on the palm of His Hand! We are the FOCUS of His LOVE! Yes, how great is our God? He gave us Jesus, the best gift He could give!
7-10 Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we’re a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free! He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth.
WHAT do we learn? Because of the gift of Jesus Christ, we are FREE, seriously free! No matter what is bothering us right now, it pales to what Christ as done for us! We are free. Everything, everyone is summed up in Him. EVERY knee will bow someday. How great is our God?
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.
WHAT do we learn? We know Whose we are so we know who we are in Christ. We know Who we are living for and it is no one on earth or under the earth. Jesus has His eye on us and wants us to live victorious in glorious living for Him. He works out everything for those who believe without seeing.
13-14 It’s in Christ that you, once you heard the truth and believed it (this Message of your salvation), found yourselves home free—signed, sealed, and delivered by the Holy Spirit. This signet from God is the first installment on what’s coming, a reminder that we’ll get everything God has planned for us, a praising and glorious life.
WHAT do we learn? Christ lives in us! We are saved, signed, sealed and delivered by the Holy Spirit. AND the best is yet to come!
Dear Heavenly Father, I was a bit overwhelmed by current circumstances and now I have been lifted up to where You are in Your way of thinking about us and I am encouraged. How great You are, Father and greatly to be praised! I give you my day, my life, my love and my soul. Teach us still. Encourage us throughout this day that You have made while we rejoice in it.
In Jesus Name, and by His power, Amen. I believe.