Posts Tagged 'Ephesians'

Covenant Concepts ~ Israel: God Rescues from Rebellion

Covenant Concepts ~ Israel: God Rescues from Rebellion

Ephesians 2:1-10

In the Old Testament reading, Numbers 21:4-9, Israel rebels against God, and pays the penalty. But God also provides a rescue from that penalty, if Israel will only choose to use it.

God Frames Relationships With Covenant Concepts

Rebellion Results in Wrath
Ephesians 2:1-3

  • v1/2 spiritual death the result of following the wrong ruler
  • v3 following our flesh responsible for penalty
  •      (if we trespass, we are held liable; if we go into debt, it must be paid)

Relationship Results in Rescue
Ephesians 2:4-10

  • v4/5 God brings us to life; we don’t choose it
  • v6/7 God raises us in life; He doesn’t leave us in our sin
  • v8/9 Grace is God’s choice; faith is God’s means of delivery; we receive it as a gift, not a payment
  • v10 CATCH THIS: “to/in/with good works” is indirect object ~ receives the action;
    that means that we aren’t created to DO the good works near as much as we are to EXPERIENCE the good works;
    peripatéō, to walk around in them with God

God rescues us from our Rebellion WITH HIS PRESENCE; look to the Cross and LIVE.


Armor Prayer: based on Ephesians 6

Lego Roman armor I was thinking about conflict as I was preparing this week’s sermon; I thought a prayer based on the Armor of God described in Ephesians 6 might be worth sharing…

After all is said and done, Lord, we ask that you would make us strong in the Spirit; we ask for ability in Your strength and not our own. We need You as Protector and Shelter, God; we cannot stand against the plans that the Enemy has for us in our own ability.
As we move through life, we understand that we aren’t facing mere frustration with other people; the source of much of our conflict is from unseen spiritual forces of evil in our world, and even in Your Kingdom.
Therefore, we resolve to hold before us every defense You give us, so that we might stand against whatever opposes Your plan for Your Kingdom, and having done everything we can do, we trust in Your grace to be our foundation.
And so we stand, braced by Your truth, and guarded by Your righteousness (and not our own); we are enabled by the power of the gospel to actively bring Your peace to this sin-sick world – prompt us to step out in confidence.
No matter what happens to us, we are safeguarded by the faith which You give; the subtle schemes and the blatant attacks of the evil one just can’t pull us away from Your love for us. Your salvation keeps and holds us even in the midst of pain that we didn’t imagine was coming.
We have the sword of the Spirit – the word of God – which dwells in us. Spirit, continually prompt us to give You free reign our lives, reminding us to keep our ongoing conversation with the Father alive and vibrant; in all our prayer, keep us alert and consistent; put in our hearts the issues and situations for our loved ones and for the world that You want us to discuss with You. And when You prompt us to pray, protect us from distraction, so that we can partner with You in Your work for the world.
In this, we want to be like Jesus, who was constantly pointing back to the Father; reminding us that He wasn’t living by his own agenda, but only by what the Father was showing Him. Show us, Father, as well, how You want us to follow Jesus. Hear us as we follow Christ’s example in prayer, as we pray together, saying… OUR FATHER…

Right Place, Right Time

Ephesians 3:16:
that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened {krataiothenai} with power {dunamei} through his Spirit in your inner being…

dunamei=potential for functioning in some way
krataiothenai = The basis of this verb {krataeo}, has as one of its nuances “to have the use of.” And the verse says that the strength comes THROUGH the Spirit.

Since the verb is passive (as shown by the “thenai” ending), that means that WE are the objects… WE have the POTENTIAL for FUNCTIONING in STRENGTH as long as the SPIRIT HAS USE OF US.

It’s like surfing: the power is from the wave; the motion comes from being in the right place on the wave – the surfer cannot control the power; rather, they can only attempt to be in the right place to be moved BY the power.

This makes me think of the initial point that I believe Paul is making in this Ephesians passage: he longs for the church at Ephesus to be secure in their faith; to be right where the need to be for the Spirit to use them and to teach them “to be filled with all the fullness of God”.

How much do we miss of the fullness of God because we focus on things which don’t satisfy? Or we’re convinced that we’re in control (when we’re not), and so we make decisions which draw us out of the center of God’s will for us?

It’s such an odd thought – that we would become LESS controlling of our own attempts to do God’s will, so that we are free to be used by the Spirit to do God’s will. As frustrating as it is, we need to learn to stay OUT of the driver’s seat, and just enjoy the ride as the Lord moves us where God wants us to be… to do the works that have been prepared for us to walk around “in”. (Ephesians 2:10)

Pastor Ed Backell

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