Ephesians 3:6-9. “And this is the secret plan..”

 

Ephesians 3:6-9.

“And this is the secret plan: The Gentiles have an equal share with the Jews in all the riches inherited by God’s children. Both groups have believed the Good News, and both are pare of the same body and enjoy together the promise of blessings through Christ Jesus. By God’s special favour and mighty power, I have been given the wonderful privilege of serving Him by spreading this Good News.

Just think! Though I did nothing to deserve it, and though I am the least deserving Christian there is, I was chosen for this special joy of telling the Gentiles about the endless treasures available to them in Christ. I was chosen to explain to everyone this plan that God, the Creator of all things, had kept secret from the beginning.”

Knowing that Paul is imprisoned, isn’t it amazing the attitude Paul has? Despite his circumstances, he is not defeated! In fact he sees it a privilege to serve Jesus, despite the cost to himself, and to his freedom. His words sound like the words of a man who is completely free!

Question: How do you feel about yourself? Do you feel small? Insignificant? Stupid? Not good enough? Everyone else is better than you, cleverer than you, more attractive than you, has more confidence than you, seems more able than you, always picked before you? If you were in a line up to be picked for a team, you would be the last to be chosen? Is this you? Do you feel un-loved? Pitied? Under valued? Misunderstood? Is that you? Do you feel guilty, undeserving, the worst of the worst? Is that you?

You are not alone, even Paul says in verse 8, ” though I did nothing to deserve it, and though I am the least deserving Christian…. I was chosen”. God does not look at what YOU can do, HE looks at what HE CAN DO IN YOU! HALLELUJAH ! He can do anything in you if you are willing to be used. Before Jesus came into Paul’s life he would never have taken the journey he did, and he knew it. When he came face to face with the risen Lord Jesus on the road to Damascus,(Acts 9:1-12) and placed his life completely into the hands of Jesus from that moment on, it changed Paul’s destiny. His life took on the plans of Jesus, rather than the plans he once had for himself. He now lived a life that God had mapped out for him way before he was borne, all Paul had to do was choose, to go the way of Christ, or not. Just think if he had rejected Jesus that day on that road to Damascus, we today would not be reading about him, he would be a stranger to us.

Question: Will you let Jesus take complete control of you? Are you brave enough to give up your hopes and plans, and go on the adventure Christ has for you? Are you brave? Do you trust Him, that He has the best plans for you. (Jeremiah 29:11).

Are you prepared through prayer, to consult The Lord before you make decisions for your life? If yes, welcome to the adventure!

Worship Moment:

Israel and New Breed – To worship you I live.

Kari Jobe – You are for me

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Ephesians 3:1-5 – “I, Paul am a prisoner of Christ Jesus..”

 

Ephesians 3:1-5.

“I, Paul am a prisoner of Christ Jesus because of my preaching to you Gentiles. As you already know, God has given me this special ministry of announcing His favour to you Gentiles. As I briefly mentioned earlier in this letter, God himself reviled his secret plan to me. As you read what I have written, you will understand what I know about this plan regarding Christ. God did not reveal it to previous generations, but now He has revealed it by the Holy Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets.”

Thought: Paul was being held under house arrest in Rome for preaching about Jesus. The religious leaders in Jerusalem wanted him put on trial for treason, because of his faith, and his boldness in telling others. He was awaiting his case to be heard by the emperor. Dispute his imprisonment he continued to serve his saviour, and would not keep his mouth shut.

Question: Think very carefully about this. Have things in your life always got to go well for you to follow Jesus? Put yourself in Paul’s shoes, Are you prepared to endure for the sake of your salvation?

When you read these words of Paul, he knew without doubt, that God had specifically called him to serve as he did. Even though he found himself a prisoner this did not deter him. He did not hold a pity party, and say” poor me “, and give up because things did not tern out the way he thought. Amazingly he saw being a prisoner as a new opportunity.

Question: From today, how about taking a new stand? Whether life is good, or whether life throws up unexpected and uncomfortable challenges, what if we follow Paul’s example and see them as opportunities, just another way to share Jesus? Turning something which was meant to have a negative affect into something good and positive!

Worship Moment:

Christy Nockles – Let it be Jesus.

Jefferson Bethke – young man gives an unforgettable speech about Jesus-inspirational.

Ephesians 2:20-22. “We are His house, built on the foundation..”

 

Ephesians 2:20-22.

“We are His house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. We who believe are carefully joined together, becoming a holy temple for The Lord. Through Him you Gentiles are also joined together as part of this dwelling where God lives by His Spirit.”

Worship Moment: Hillsong – Cornerstone.

Dictionary: Foundation- solid ground, solid base, lowest part of a building generally unseen, below ground-level, to be overplayed by others. Heritage – something passed on by parent or someone. Legacy – Gift left by will, or passed on to appropriate person, something handed down by predecessor.

What Paul is wanting us to know here is that we are part of a long line of significant people who have carried the message and hope of God. People whose faith propelled them to do what appeared to the non believer to be impossible. (Look at Hebrews 11&12. Take your time, and read carefully about these people of faith, because you are part of their family line, or tree, if you are a child of God).

These people were no different to you and me, they were not superstars, they were just obedient to what The Lord had called them to do. Of themselves they were not super talented or qualified to do what they had been called to do but that was not a problem, because   what enabled them to accomplish the task was the power of Almighty God in their lives. And it is just the same for us today!

Think about:

Moses, had a speech impediment.

Abraham, was called to go and he didn’t know where he was going.

Moses, had to build an arc, when up until then he had not experienced rain.

Gideon, was called to rescue Gods people, but at the time he was called a hero, he was hiding.

David, felt he could kill a giant, he was a child, who’s only weapon that was visible was a sling and five stones.

Peter, was compelled to speak by the Holy Spirit within him, but he was an un-educated fisherman, and yet 3,000 people became Christians at one gathering.

In all of this the most important part of our heritage and legacy, is that the one holding us up and in position is Jesus Christ. Here He is referred to as the cornerstone. A cornerstone is the most important part of any building as all the other stones are set in reference to this particular stone, so it is important the cornerstone is set in the correct position, the right angle, because all other stones take their position from it.

Question: What is the purpose of a “holy temple for The Lord”? We are the place where God dwells, abides, lives. A temple is also a place where God is worshiped. Like it or not, we are to be worshipers. It is not about how we feel, or what we would rather do, this is all about pleasing God. We are part of this dwelling where God lives by His Spirit.” Wow! (Read this again, let this line sink in, and be overwhelmed and amazed).

Worship Moment:

Jesus Culture – Rooftops.

Jefferson Bethke – Do you believe God loves you?

Jon Jorgenson. The Animaseries – Not Qualified. (Spoken word)

Ephesians 2:18-19. “Now all of us.. may come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit”

 

Ephesians 2:18-19.

“Now all of us, both Jews and Gentiles may come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us. So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s people. You are members of God’s family.”

Question:

I wonder how many of us in the past thought of God as being angry with us, or unapproachable?

Here Paul indicates to us, that we can come to God as a child would approach a loving father, we can come, without fear of God having favorites. Whether we are Jews or Gentiles, we come to God the same way, and through the same Holy Spirit. Paul says that we are “no longer like strangers and foreigners.”

Dictionary: Stranger – person in a place or in the company of someone where they do not belong. Treat distantly, unknown. Foreigners – not of the same country or nationality. Speaking a different language.

Question: Have you ever been to a foreign country? One where they spoke a different language? Where they had different customs? Where you had to pay for things with different currency? Where the food was different? Where clothes were different? How did you feel, or if you have never been abroad, how would you feel?

Imagine: How would you feel entering the country at customers, and being denied access to that country? Because of Jesus, and what He has done, we have now become citizens of a country where at one time we did not belong. But even more than that, we are part of God’s family. And believe me, it’s one BIG family.

Question: What’s your family like? You all I suspect have different personalities, likes and dislikes. You all have a different look. But you all share the family name. The Family of God is no different, we all share the same name that defines us as belonging to Christ, CHRISTIAN!

Worship Moment: Planet shakers – Beautiful Saviour.

Ephesians 2: 14-17. “For Christ himself has made peace between us..”

 

Ephesians 2: 14-17.

“For Christ himself has made peace between us Jews and you Gentiles by making us all one people. He has broken down the wall of hostility that used to separate us. By His death He ended the whole system of Jewish law that excluded the Gentiles. His purpose was to make peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new person from the two groups. Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of His death, and our hostility toward each other was put to death. He has brought this Good News of peace to you Gentiles who were far away from Him, and to us Jews who were near.”

Worship Moment: Chris Tomlin – How can I keep from singing your praise.

Do you remember that in the Old Testament that the Jews were the chosen people of God? Now through Christ we too are His chosen people. Time after time, Paul is going to great lengths to ensure that we get this important message of the immensity of what Christ has done and the vastness of His love for us. This is Good News, in fact this is the best news ever. Because of this we can live without fear. Our destiny is secure. We now can know and have peace with God.

Think about: Can you think of a worse situation than to be in conflict with God? Is He someone you would want to pick a fight with? I think not! But unless we surrender our lives to God we live in constant conflict with Him, because we were created by him, and for Him! We were, and are, created in the image of our maker. And inside every person is the desire to worship, if we don’t worship God, our nature is that we find something or someone else to worship.

Can I suggest, take a good look at yourself, and see who or what it is that you worship, and if Christ is not your number one, you need some ‘replacement therapy’. When you put Him first, and worship Him above any other, you find peace, real peace!

Worship Moment:

Matt Redman – Heart of worship.

The gospel in four minutes – pipeline generation