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Ephesians 1

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

THURSDAY, MAY 4

SCRIPTURE: Ephesians 1

I suspect some of you thought we would go right on into Mark’s Gospel.  I actually thought about that.  But I decided that I would skip around a bit.  I have no special reason for going to Ephesians other than I really like this book and I wanted to walk through it with you.

With that said, now that we are in one of the letters, there won’t be stories to learn from like when we were reading in Matthew.  But there will tons of doctrine and theology and Bible stuff to unpack.  (I think I just slobbered a little bit.)  There is so much of that in this letter we could spend weeks, if not months, here and never get to all of it.  But we will get to some of it.  So, let’s go.

In verse one, Paul identifies himself as the author of this letter and then identifies his audience.  He said that he was writing to the saints who are in Ephesus.  We absolutely have to talk about this a little bit because I think there is a lot of misunderstanding over this whole saint thing.

First of all, let me assure you that Paul is not writing this to a football team in New Orleans.  Secondly, he is not writing this to a special class of Christians.  Regardless of what some tribes might teach, a Saint is not a super Christian.  Instead, Paul is writing this to all believers at Ephesus as well as here.

That’s right.  All Christians are saints.  Now I realize that all Christians may not appear very saintly.  But by definition, all Christians are saints.  The Greek word for saint means holy one.  So now not only are you a saint but you are a holy one.  If that has your head spinning a bit, think about it this way.

The word holy is a very difficult word to define.  But at its essence holy can mean different.  When we say that God is holy we are saying He is different from all the rest of creation.  So when the Bible says we are holy ones or saints, it is implying that we should be different as well.

That doesn’t mean different as in weird.  It means different as in different.  The way we live as Christ followers should be different from those who don’t follow Christ live.  We should have different goals, different priorities, different ways to evaluate life, and different eternities.

None of those differences mean we are better than anyone else.  We are just different.  One of the reasons we are different is we are already blessed with every spiritual blessing (look in verse 3).  I want you to slow down here just a second and think about what I just wrote.  We are already blessed with every spiritual blessing.  Verse 3 doesn’t say Jesus will bless us.  It says Jesus has blessed us with every spiritual blessing.  So we should live as blessed people.

If you glance down the next few verses you will see that Jesus has blessed us with adoption into the family of God.  He has blessed us with His glorious grace.  He has blessed us with redemption and forgiveness.  And He has “lavished” all kinds of wisdom and insight on us.  The concept of lavishing here refers to a superabundance.  And all of that is just in a few verses.  Imagine what other blessings Jesus has already blessed us with.

This Jesus has done much for the likes of you and me.  And as the rest of this chapter proves, He has much more that He wants to do for us.

 

Matthew 28

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

WEDNESDAY, MAY 3

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 28

Well… who would have thought it?  Today we finish the Gospel According to Matthew.  I have absolutely no idea how many have made this journey with me.  I know it is at least a few because I periodically get an email, or a text, or a Facebook post from someone.  But regardless of how many are on board, I am committed to continuing.  I guess if we get to where no one is reading these I will have to reevaluate.

So, let’s take a look at this last chapter.  This chapter starts at dawn on Sunday morning.  By the way, the fact that Jesus was raised on Sunday is one of the main reasons the New Testament Church meets on Sundays.  Meeting on Sundays was quite a novel idea at the time.  Remember for the Jewish people it was all about Saturday being the Sabbath.  Actually the Sabbath started at sundown on Friday and ended at sundown on Saturday.  They recognized the Sabbath in an attempt to keep it holy.

The question then is what about us.  Why don’t we “Remember the Sabbath (Saturday) to keep it holy”?  As I just said, part of that has to do with the timing of the resurrection of Jesus.  The other part has to do with the fact that Jesus said He is our rest.  He is our Sabbath.  It is in Him, not a day of the week, that we find our rest, our refreshing, our refocusing, and our worship.  

That doesn’t mean that the concept of Sabbath is no longer important.  It is incredibly important to remember that God established a rhythm to life that included work and rest.  Too much work will eventually wear you down to nothing.  Too much rest will eventually end up in accomplishing nothing.  Every one of us needs to find that Sabbath rhythm to our lives.

As you have probably heard me say, I had the privilege of being at the tomb where Jesus was placed after His crucifixion.  In the same way that it was empty on that Sunday morning, it was empty when I was there.  It is still empty.  

The Christian faith and the reality of Christianity hinges on one thing and one thing alone: the resurrection of Jesus.  If Jesus is not raised from the dead then our faith is useless and we are without hope.  If Jesus is not raised from the dead then He pulled the greatest hoax in the history of humanity.  If Jesus is not raised from the dead then the Bible is useless, church is a waste of time, and living by a moral code makes absolutely no sense.

But if Jesus is raised from the dead we have a risen Savior to place our faith in and we have great hope.  If Jesus is raised from the dead then He spoke the truth.  If Jesus is raised from the dead then the Bible is true from cover to cover (even including the Book of Maps and the Concordance ;).  If Jesus is raised from the dead, then church is a vital part of our existence and living by a God given moral code makes all the difference in the world.

Posted by Joe Ligon with 0 Comments

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