:) Finally had some time! Next week should be fun... we're heading into some messianic prophecies... :)

Happy studying!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Ephesians Chapter 1

vs. 1-8

- Paul starts with a typical introduction and greeting. Greetings, may God give you peace, all praise to God who has blessed us because we are united with Christ.

- Even before the world was created, God loved us and chose us. Wow. Before He created the world we live in. Before He took the clay in His hand to shape and mold all the things we see around us. Before He created us... He chose us. Wow... what foresight.

- God wanted relationship. He wanted to be able to walk and talk with someone else. (Is it any wonder that this desire is also inborn in us?) In order to have a relationship that would be voluntary and out of love, God had to provide an escape from the inevitable fall... and He had it all figured out before He created Adam...

- God loved you enough, that before He even created the first man... He had already decided that He would send His Son to die in your place in order to have a relationship with you. Just to have someone to communicate with, someone to love Him back, someone to laugh and cry with... God arranged your salvation at His expense.

- Romans 3:9-31
- Colossians 1:15-23

- footnote- “To speak of Jesus' blood was an important first-century way of speaking of Christ's death. His death points to two wonderful truths—redemption and forgiveness. Redemption was the price paid to gain freedom for a slave (Leviticus 25:47-54). Through his death, Jesus paid the price to release us from slavery to sin. Forgiveness was granted in Old Testament times on the basis of the shedding of animals' blood (Leviticus 17:11). Now we are forgiven on the basis of the shedding of Jesus' blood—he died as the perfect and final sacrifice.

- Hebrews 9:11-28
- I Peter 1:13-25

- So what is your response? Paul says “we praise God for the glorious grace He has poured out on us who belong to His dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that He purchased our freedom with the blood of His Son and forgave our sins.”

- God has given us so much... kindness, wisdom, and understanding,, are the things Paul listed off... how many other things... how much more besides?

- footnote- “Paul says that God “chose us” to emphasize that salvation depends totally on God. We are not saved because we deserve it but because God is gracious and freely gives salvation. We did not influence God's decision to save us; He saved us according to His plan. Thus, there is no way to take credit for our salvation or to allow room for pride. The mystery of salvation originated in the timeless mind of God long before we existed. It is hard to understand how God could accept us. But because of Christ, we are holy and blameless in his sight. God chose us, and when we belong to Him through Jesus Christ, God looks at us as if we had never sinned. All we can do is express our thanks for His wonderful love.”

- vs. 9-14

- God has revealed to us His plan. He will bring everything together under Christ in HIS time. And it will be His PERFECT time.

- footnote- “God was not intentionally keeping His mysterious plan a secret, but His plan for the world could not be fully understood until Christ rose from the dead. His purpose for sending Christ was to unite Jews and Gentiles in one body with Christ as the head. Many people still do not understand god's plan' but at the right time, He will bring us together to be with Him forever. Then everyone will understand. On that day, all people will bow to Jesus as Lord, either because they love Him or because they fear His power.”

- Romans 16:25-27, 5:6-11
- Galatians 4:1-7

- We are united with Christ. Because we are united with Him, made one with Him, we are all recipients of the inheritance with him.

- He chose us, and everything works together to His plan in His time. Perfectly.

- What was this plan? It was that the Jews would be the first to trust in Christ and would bring praise and glory to God. And now also, the Gentiles have heard the Gospel.

- II Thessalonians 2:13-17

- We are known as Christ's by the Holy Spirit. We have something no one else has. No other religion has God's Spirit indwelling within them. It is our identification. How people know we are members of the Body of Christ.

- The Spirit is God's guarantee of our inheritance. We have been purchased and claimed as His so that we could and will praise and glorify Him. (Back to the relationship thing,)

- II Corinthians 1:20-22

- footnote- “The Holy Spirit is God's guarantee that we belong to Him and that He will do what He has promised. The Holy Spirit is like a down payment, a deposit, a validating signature on the contract. The presence of the Holy Spirit in us demonstrates the genuineness of our faith, proves that we are god's children, and secures eternal life for us. His power works in us to transform us now, and what we experience now is a taste of the total change we will experience in eternity.”

- Romans 8
- I Peter 1:2-12
- I Corinthians 2:9-16
vs. 15-19

- Paul says that he has thanked God for the Ephesians ever since he heard about their faith. He hasn't stopped thanking God for them or praying for them.

- He has asked that God give them spiritual wisdom and insight so that they might grow in their knowledge of God. That their hearts will be flooded with light so that they can understand more fully the confident hope we have been given in Christ. We have been called his holy people. Granted a rich inheritance. And Paul wants the Ephesians to come to the full knowledge and understanding of all that God has for them. Prays that they will understand the incredible greatness of God's power for us who believe in Him.

- Colossians 1:8-14

- What do you do when you meet new brothers or sisters in Christ? Do you pray for the members of your church? Do you thank God for the body of believers surrounding you?

- How do we get to know God better? Well... how do you get to know anyone? How do you form a relationship? Do you know a lot ABOUT God? Or do you really KNOW God... Head knowledge and heart knowledge are completely different. Head knowledge can be gained by a lot of studying and researching. Heart knowledge is gained by spending quality time with another person.

- Example: When you start dating someone new, you want to spend time with them. You want to hang out, learn about them, talk to them, discover all the oddities and funny things. If you don't take the time to go out for dinner or go to a movie or whatever, the relationship will die. Without taking out quality time to spend time with them, you won't grow in your relationship. You won't learn about the other person. It will remain a one-sided relationship. It's the same with God.

- How much time have you spent “dating” God lately? Have you carved out time to spend with Him to learn about Him? And not just learn ABOUT Him... but to understand Him? What have you discovered about God?

vs. 20-23

- The same power that raised Christ from the dead and placed Him in the place of honor at God's right hand.

- Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else... in this world as well as in the world to come. God has placed all things under the authority of Christ. Christ was made head of the church for our benefit. We are His body, and the body is made full and complete by Christ. The body is not complete without the head.

- Colossians 2:9-15
- Philippians 2:6-11

- footnote- “Christ fills the church with gifts and blessings. The church should be the full expression of Christ, who Himself fills everything. When reading Ephesians, it is important to remember that it was written primarily to the entire church, not merely to an individual. Christ is the head, and we are the body of His church. The image of the body shows the church's unity. Each member is involved with all the others as they go about doing Christ's work on earth. We should not attempt to work, serve, or worship merely on our own. We need the entire body.”

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