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 May 21, 2018

Please read today’s Scriptures and use the comment section on this page to share your insights from today’s reading. You can also just mention a verse that impacted you or post a question!

Read (and Hear) the Bible in One Year

Text: Ezra 1 – 3
Audio: Ezra 1 – 3

You can use the audio Bible as a guide to help “set the pace” as you read along.

Memory Verse of the Week

For by grace you have been saved through faith.
And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
(Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV)

Ephesians 1 (ESV)

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,

To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guaranteeof our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

15 For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him,18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church,23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

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Next: Ephesians 2

Back: Galatians 6

This Post Has 12 Comments
  1. Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will Ephesians 1:4-5

    God's Sovereignty in Our Salvation

    Ephesians 1 is such an incredibly rich chapter. There are so many wonderful and amazing truths that the Holy Spirit reveals to us through the Apostle Paul. One of these glorious truths is that those who are born again have been predestined for adoption according to the purpose of God's will.

    Not only that, but before the foundation of the world, he chose us in Him that we should be holy and blameless before him. We who were unholy and no doubt to blame where blessed to be considered holy and deemed blameless in Christ before we even existed. We deserved judgement but instead we were adopted in Christ not because of what we did or did not do but according to God's will. Our sin caused Jesus to die but in Him we became the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). 

    This just blows me away. 

    When we think of Ephesians 2:8-9 "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast", it's clear that our salvation even our faith is not of our own doing but is clearly a gift of God. 

    Another verse that speaks of this in this chapter is Ephesians 1:11 "In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will."

    Romans 8:29 says, "For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers."

    Jeremiah 1:5 says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

    2 Timothy 1:8-9 says, "Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, 9 who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began."

    1 Peter 1:20 says, "He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you."

    Revelation 13:8 says, "and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain."

    When we think of God in eternity past knowing us . . . before we were born . . . and God  providing a way for us in Christ to be reconciled to Him not because we were good enough or deserved it but because He loved us . . . it's absolutely amazing. 

    This reminds of the modern hymn by Stuart Townend "How Deep The Father's Love For Us" 

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzQj7XvKFmA

    How deep the Father's love for us
    How vast beyond all measure
    That He should give His only Son
    To make a wretch His treasure

    How great the pain of searing loss
    The Father turns His face away
    As wounds which mar the Chosen One
    Bring many sons to glory

    Behold the man upon a cross
    My sin upon His shoulders
    Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
    Call out among the scoffers

    It was my sin that held Him there
    Until it was accomplished
    His dying breath has brought me life
    I know that it is finished

    I will not boast in anything
    No gifts, no power, no wisdom
    But I will boast in Jesus Christ
    His death and resurrection

    Why should I gain from His reward?
    I cannot give an answer
    But this I know with all my heart
    His wounds have paid my ransom

  2. 5 he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

    this passage, actually the entire chapter but these verses were the most clear example i could find, remind me of one of the messages you did when my family first came to the church, i believe you were doing a series of messages on the character of god?

    you compared the trinity to multiplication vs. addition? ((1 Father*1 Son*1 Holy Spirit=1 God )) and how we are told to disciple and multiply to unite the church with God i wish i remembered more clearly the message but this chapter reminded me of it today.

    1. Hi, Lydia! 🙂

      I don't remember which sermon you're thinking of in particular but here are the sermons on the Attributes of God (aka "character" of God):

      https://loveandlight.church/category/sermons/the-attributes-of-god/

      In Christ, God reconciled us (believers/followers of Christ) to Himself. Our mission is to make disciples (showing people how they can be reconciled to God) which fulfills the Great Commission. 

      This allows us to participate in God's redemptive plan but ultimately salvation is according to God's will. 

      Thanks for sharing!

  3. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

    This verse speaks to me and gives me hope. I often feel I am not good enough, in the sense of works (and otherwise), or pure enough (in God's eyes) in intention, which always has me doubting whether I am/will actually be saved.  I interpret this verse as telling me that if I read the Bible and actually believe what I read and truly believe in Him, I will be 'sealed with the Holy Spirit'. It makes me think that the way I have been going about things are wrong. I was raised Roman Catholic so I was taught that if I did not pray certain prayers, or do reconciliation and the sacraments, I would not be saved. Now I see that it is faith and belief  that are essential. At least, that's how I interpret this.

    1. Wonderful to have you part of our fellowship, Kristy (and part of our Daily Bible Reading & Sharing)!

      John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."

      What does this belief look like?

      A commonly overlooked verse that closes out the same chapter (John 3) is John 3:36, Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him."

      Our obedience does not grant us salvation nor does it make us worthy of it. Our obedience to Christ is the SUPERnatural outflow of life "in Christ" and is the outcome of being born again. Faith that does not produce fruit and belief that does not produce obedience (not perfection but a desire to be perfected and to become more like Christ) is not saving faith or belief. 

      We might go through dry spells. We may stumble and fall but our lives will be marked with the imprint of Jesus Christ – a stamp or "seal of the Holy Spirit."

      May God continue to transform your mind and refresh your soul as you pursue Him with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. 

  4. Faith that does not produce fruit and belief that does not produce obedience (not perfection but a desire to be perfected and to become more like Christ) is not saving faith or belief. 

    That is such an amazing way to put it. Thank you for writing that. When I start my art/faith journal, I think that will be in the front as a reminder. 

    And thank you, I cannot wait to continue my pursuit with your guidance and the support of the church members.

  5.  

    Ephesians 1:13-14 (ESV)
    In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

    There is a present act for salvation, and that is to believe and hope in Jesus Christ. When we say 'believe' most will just think of a mental acknowledgement that something is true or false. For Middle Eastern thinking, the audience to whom Paul writes, they think of the function of belief. When we truly believe, it changes behavior. So the word believe carries the implication of a belief that modifies behavior.

    When that moment of belief comes, there is something supernatural that occurs. For in that moment you have the promise of the Holy Spirit as a guarantee of that salvation. And it is not just like an Easter Seal on your letters (yeah, does anyone do letters and Easter Seals anymore), but you have the WHOLE Holy Spirit given at that moment of hope and belief in Christ. Not only that, each of us has the VERY same Holy Spirit as I do, as Pastor Scott does, as the Early Church fathers did, as the Apostle Paul does. It is not like he becomes diluted because he indwells so many people, but his efficacy, his efficiency is just as potent as it has always been. That takes my breath away. 

  6. Wow! So many awesome things Paul reminds me of in this opening to his letter to the Ephesians! 

    If those who believe the gospel were chosen by God and elected to salvation before we even heard the gospel…well, we really are recipients of the riches of HIS glorious grace! We bring nothing of ourselves to our salvation. In that moment our eyes are opened and we believe Jesus died for our sins, repentance is a response coming from that revelation. Now I see the connection between “godly grief” and repentance.

    Sorry if that’s confusing! It makes sense to me, but words fail me as I try to articulate it. ❤️

  7. Ilove this passage of scripture! Am so thankful that Christ predestine even me!So thankful for what He  has done for all who would believe and except Him as Savior and Lord!

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