BSF Acts: Week 22, Day 2: Ephesians 1:1–14

Questions:

3. God

4. Acts 9:4 Encounter on road to Damascus, 9:17 given back sight, 14:19 stoned but then raised back, 20:9 brought back Eutychus from window fall, 16:26 jailhouse rock

5. From the seat of the throne in heaven, God has blessed us with all the power of being adopted into his family, of being co-heirs with Christ

6. a. chosen, blameless, gave glorious grace, redemption through his blood, forgiveness of sins, made known the mystery of his will, to be in Christ for the praise of his glory, marked with a seal, deposit, guaranteed inheritance.

b. redemption, forgiveness, to be in him and as such to be holy in the eyes of God

c. Adoption as brothers to Christ to be glorified by, in and with Him.

7. deliverance, rescue, salvation, atonement for guilt, repurchase – rescue helps me understand just how “at risk” I was.

 

Closing Thoughts:

I think you could do an entire sermon series on any one verse in Ephesians 1.  This is truly one of my favorite and one of the deepest chapters in the bible, IMHO.

For example, lets take our self image.  How are you feeling about yourself?  Do you consider yourself to be a saint?  Do you consider yourself to have been blessed by God with EVERY spiritual gift, all the spiritual blessings of heaven?  Do you consider that God chose you and in His sight you are blameless and holy?  Are you feeling holy?

But that is what Paul says of the believers in Ephesus who are, frankly, no different than us.  Not of these positive self images are because of anything they did, other than hear and believe (not major feats of skill).  But they are no less true.  But how we take away from God’s glory by denying the glory that He has cast upon us (not for ourselves, but because of who He is).

What difference would it make in your approach to live as a saint?  What difference could you make as someone chosen by God fully blameless and holy in His eyes?  What great things could you do without the baggage of doubt and worry.

The song Amazing Grace does not say we remain a wretch, only that we were one.

There is a poster I saw that sums this up:  What if you lived a life so that each day Satan said, “Oh, no, he/she is awake.”?  What is holding you back?

BSF Acts: Week 16, Day 1: Notes

“Drawing Christ’s life from Him by which to live every day is the secret of the entire Christian life.”

The Jews of Paul’s day, and frankly many religions today, think of the path of religion as a high wire.  Each day you step out onto the wire and do your best not to fall.  You walk the straight and narrow, living a life of balance and moderation.  The winds of change and temptation provide challenges to your walk.

But the notes present a different kind of wire available to the Christian.  Ours is a wire to recharge and power up.  The wire isn’t legalistic rules, it is faith that keeps us connected to the ultimate power source – the creator of the entire universe.  We live by faith, we receive Christ by faith, we draw strength and hope and assurance of a resurrection life through faith.  We share this faith by showing others how to plug in and receive the power.  We help them plug into the word, the church and the spirit of God.

Living in a fog

I recently finished reading a book by Robert Bly called “Make Every Second Count.”  Bly is a business writer and this short book was a very quick compendium of useful time management tools and techniques.

One of the items that he discusses is stress.  We all feel stress from time to time, some more than others and some times more than other times.  But I loved the analogy that Bly used.

Imagine you are in a city in incredibly thick fog.  So thick you can’t see through it at all, even to the end of your outstreched hand.  Now picture that fog from ground level up 10 stories high and picture it in an area 7 blocks by 7 blocks.  That is a lot of fog!

If you took all of that fog, or more appropriately, all of the moisture in the air that is creating the fog, and condensed it into one place… it would only fill up one drinking glass.

That is how stress, sin and so many of the harmful worries and obstacles are in our lives.  We spread them out over space and time and they are a huge deal, even paralyzing.  But when we earnestly pray to turn it all over to God, in His power he compresses it down to what it really is – just a single cup.

The next time you read the scriptures about Christ being willing to drink the cup – keep this in the back of your mind.