5 April 2009 – Denis Meakin – Redditch Ecclesia, England
Reading: Ephesians 1 and 2
Beloved Brethren and Sisters, what better way to start an exhortation than with words of the Apostle Paul himself? “To the faithful in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 1v1). Very wonderful words because they express to you and me the magnificence of our special relationship with our Heavenly Father through His Son our Lord. It also unites you and me because we share in that same faith. One True GOD, the only Son and the unity of one faith provided for you and me in the saving name of Jesus the Christ.
verses 3 - 5 of this first chapter:-
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.”
We, you and me, Bless God day by day don’t we? Do we need to remind ourselves of the words of loving comfort, from our Lord! Matthew 18 verse 20 “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
We only need to open our Bibles and be with Jesus, we have just read these words “who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” (Ephesians 1:3) Our Bible is our heavenly place in Christ! We are with our Lord every time we open our Bible or think about what our Lord has done for us, he is with us every moment of our life if we are faithful.
Ephesians 1 verse 15, Paul says:-
“Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints”.
I know Paul here is talking to the Ecclesia in Ephesus but these words apply as well to you and me. We are faithful, we love each other, ours is a saintly inheritance, Paul tells us this in verse 18 ; “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints”.
This is where our faith is leading us; onwards to our inheritance! Our inheritance is in our Lord, no other in this world can provide this for us. Last year we experienced the downfall of the global monitory world, men’s hearts did indeed fail them for fear! Their faith in the world’s banking systems was being shattered; all hope for them was disappearing as fast as they watched the stock markets of the world fall, one after another; from one end of the earth, to the other. The world’s leaders begging the ordinary man’s representatives to bail out the banking system. Their false god mammon was fast becoming their downfall!
Our faith; in our God; provides us with a much better hope than this world can provide, with it’s reliance on mankind. In verses 10-12 Paul expresses this hope for us.
“That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.”
We know don’t we of faith; we only have to open our Bibles to the book of Hebrews and read of a list of faithful people whose lives we can follow; walking in their footsteps. Faithful men of all ages! Abel, who worshipped in faith, by providing the acceptable sacrifice, Enoch who walked in faith, lived his whole life to God, Noah who witnessed in faith, with 120 years of preaching before the flood came, Abraham who wandered in faith, doing all that God asked of him till he could find a true place to rest in. The writer (probably the apostle Paul) tells us of this in the book of Hebrews chapter 11 verses 15 & 16 what Abraham was really looking for! Abraham’s faith and all those other faithful people died in faith all looking forward to their hope in God’s promises, that they would be raised to life again when they died.
This is the true HOPE OF ALL FAITHFUL FOLLOWERS who believe in God’s true word and follow His Son as the perfect example of that true faith. Paul, in verses 13 - 16 assures us with his words because of two key words, they are persuaded and embraced: as we read:-
“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.”
Is this not true for us also; we are persuaded; we are embraced in truth by our faith, so much so that we seek that same country. If at any time our faith seems to falter, we only need to read verse 16 time and time again. This verse alone does, and should strengthen us in our endeavour to walk in the footsteps of Jesus and follow him in faith and hope all our lives. God is called our God, he is not ashamed of us neither should we ever be ashamed of him! We can stand tall we are upright in our faith we are in fellowship with Jesus by that same faith. WHY? because God loves us, yes that is you and me, nothing wavering, nothing to shake our faith free from us! It is sure and firm. God so loved this world that He gave His only Son to die; that you and I have hope in this dark world.
Paul, in this second chapter of Ephesians reminds us of how we were in our lives before we took on the saving name of Jesus we were dead in trespasses and sins. In the second verse he reminds us of how in the past we walked according to the way we lived our lives in the world and that this was in line, with that as he expresses it; the children of disobedience. Verse 3, really brings this home to us how we lived and would continue to live, had we not taken on the saving name of Jesus, so let us read it together:-
“Whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”
This lowers human nature down to its very base level, and shows to us how far our faith in God has projected us into a hope of a better faithful life. The next 4 verses explain to us how this was accomplished for us:- (verses 4 - 8)
“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:”
In verses 10 - 12, it shows us how this love came to us:-
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.”
Verse 13 now; at the time of exhortation, shows how faith unites us all throughout this world and gives us all hope in our time of need:- “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.”
God bless you all in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Keep the faith alive!
Voorkeur gevende aan het Woord van God in plaats van aan het woord van mensen en aan tradities.