Studies in Ephesians — Ephesians 6:18-20 & 21 – 23

Studies in Ephesians – Ephesians 6:18-20 & 21-23

A – S – K – I – N
See also: Rms 8:26; Ps 145:9; Heb. 13:1; I Tim. 2:1-2; John 17:15, 20-21; I Peter 4:7; I Thess. 5:17; Psalm 109:17

Alert – v. 18 – Ever watch a child that is looking for gifts at Christmas time. We should be so alert spiritually.

Spirit – v. 18 – We are to pray in-Spirit. To some that seems like a mystery that cannot be fathomed. It should not be so mysterious. We pray in-Spirit when we pray in the name of Jesus. We pray in-Spirit when we pray that the will of the Father be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Known – v. 19 – Paul ask that prayers be made to spread the Gospel. That is a one-size-fits-all prayer. Try it.

Inclusive – v. 18 – Pray on all occasions, pray with all kinds of prayers and requests, and pray for all the saints. Our prayers should be comprehensive.

Nerve – v. 20 – Paul asks that they pray that he remain bold. Courage is said to be about doing even when we are not feeling courageous. Pray for others to be bold to share God’s love, and pray that we be bold to share God’s love.

Exemplary Story: As we review the closing verses of the book of Ephesians we find Paul speaking of a servant whom he will send with a personal report. Then he closes in prayer: (vs. 23-24) “Peace to the brothers, and love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus with an undying love.”

Jesus

Studies in Ephesians – Ephesians 6: 1-9

H – O – N – O – R

See: Exodus 20:12; I cor. 14:40; Col 3:20-21, 23; Prov. 10:1; Rms. 13:1 Matt. 5:14

Haven of Home – vs. 1-3 – God ordained home and government.

Order – vs. 5, 7, 9 – In home and government there is a God ordained order. When we respect the order we work within God’s plan.

Nurture – v. 4 – Fathers are to bring up children in the Lord. If we were to follow this order the home would be blessed. We would see children as a heavenly trust given us by God.

Obligee – v. 9 – Those under authority have their obligations, and those in authority have their obligations. All are obliged to act right in their proper roles. This applies to workers and their supervisors today.

Repose – v. 6 – We are to obey, that is, to respect authority, as if we were showing respect to Christ. Here is a practical question: Would you treat Christ that way? If not, why treat your brother or sister that way?

Exemplary Story: It is a wonderful thing to watch a bird such as a dove or a robin build a nest and hatch its young. The nest is carefully shaped, the eggs are lain, the parent set on the eggs until they hatch. The hatchlings cry out for food and they are fed by the parents. Then the young birds flex their wings and take flight. They have followed a divine pattern by instinct. We must follow a divine pattern set for home and work to see the greatest blessings that may follow.

Studies in Ephesians — Ephesians 6:1-9

Studies in Ephesians — 2:11-22

Jesus is considered by scholars such as Weber ...

Jesus is considered by scholars such as Weber to be an example of a charismatic religious leader. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Studies in Ephesians – Ephesians 2: 11-22

 

B – U – I – L – D

 

See also: Gal. 3:27, 28; I Cor. 3:11; I Peter 2:6; Rms. 12. 1, 2; I Cor. 12:14-15; Is. 28:16; Ps. 118: 22

 

Blood that bonds  – v. 13 – Ever watch an old western?  You might have seen the ceremony of two men becoming blood brothers.  When we were immersed into Christ we became brothers and sisters by a bond of blood.

 

Unity – v. 14, 18 — There is a strength in unity, and there is a unity in the body of Christ.  We are united with Christians across the world, and we are united with Christians through the ages.  The voices of Christian leaders echo over the ages.  They thrill us with their love of God.  They shame us with their absolute devotion.

 

Intertwining – v. 19 – In Christ we are a body knit together.  The aches and pains of one are those of the body.

 

Leadership – v. 20 – The church is built on one cornerstone, Christ.  Its support is the apostles and prophets.  As I rest my hand on the Bible with its New Testament I have the apostles with me.  They are no farther than arm’s reach.  These apostles – Matthew, Mark, John, James, Peter, Paul – and these prophets – Luke and the writer of Hebrews – still offer that leadership and order that the church needs.

Dwelling – v. 22 – When Jesus left, he gave a promise that he would send the Comforter.  That Holy Spirit abides in the church, since we are intended to be the dwelling place of God.  When the sick, poor, and lonely turn to the church for refuge, the church must respond in the loving spirit of Christ.

 

Exemplary story:  No doubt you have heard of how Sam pieced together the map of the world.  For her geography lesson one teacher distributed to her pupils copies of a world map from an activity book.  The teacher cut each sheet of paper into a dozen or so pieces.  She asked her class to reassemble the map. The challenge seemed formidable.

Sam completed his puzzle first. The teacher praised for his accomplishment.  Then she asked how he had finished his work so quickly.

He replied, “I just put Jesus together and then the world fell in place.”  Sam saw something the teacher had  overlooked. On the reverse side of the map was a picture of Jesus.

Signs and Works in John’s Gospel — John 3:1-5, 14-15 — The Sign of the Snake

English: Jesus and Nicodemus

English: Jesus and Nicodemus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Signs and Works in John’s Gospel – John 3:1-5 & 14-15

S – N – A – K – E

See also: Num. 21:8-9; John 7:50; 9:16; Matt 12:39-40; Rms. 6:4

Sign – v. 2 – Nicodemus like the rest of the generation could not help but notice the works of Christ. Have you taken the time to see them today?

Night – v. 2 – Nicodemus was a high ranking official. He could not afford to be seen with Jesus just now. Nor could he afford to not consult Jesus about his ministry.

Again – v. 3 – To Nicodemus Jesus said, “You must be born again.” Today as then we must be born of the water and we must be born of the spirit.

Kingdom – vs. 5, 10, 12 – The man who came to Jesus was an earthly lawyer. What Jesus had to teach was about a spiritual kingdom. So often we get caught up in the order of the day that we forget what Jesus was about . He was about teaching that that there is a spiritual life.

Eternal life – v. 15 – Something that could never be found in the law was now promised. Jesus was promising that he would bring eternal life. The rescue by Moses in the wilderness was just a shadow of what was offered now.

Exemplary story: On the farm we would often have a patch of sweet corn planted in one of the outlying fields. On particular season when I was very small the field corn patch was planted in the east acre patch. I remember hearing that the crop was in danger of being lost to marauding crows. My dad managed to shoot a crow. He nailed the crow to the longest pole he could find, and he nailed that pole to a fencepost in the sweet corn patch. The uplifted crow saved the remaining harvest. For us today the uplifted Christ is God’s promise to save us from our sins if we believe and obey.

Redemption — A Schoolhouse Drama

CHRIST

CHRIST (Photo credit: Fergal of Claddagh)

Redemption as a Schoolhouse Drama

As the youth minister began the well-worn story of the drawbridge to illustrate the meaning of redemption my mind drifted back to the events of the last week.  That drama started with a surprise parcel that came in the mail.

Without consulting the powers that be the president of the local student led organization had determined to set up a full-blown business account in the name of their organization.  Did I mention that he also ordered checks and an IRS Employee Identification Number (EIN)? Once the account was opened it generated mail from the IRS that came to the school address.  The first parcel for the account failed to arouse suspicion, but the notice from the IRS set off my internal alarm bells. Now the advice of the administration was required.

Wrath.  The story of redemption is a story of wrath, and the students had provoked the wrath of the administration.  It was my duty to report to the supervisor this activity was unauthorized. When the VP got wind of the situation, his terms were absolute.   The account must be closed by the end of the day or the student would be expelled.

Compassion.  Compassion is the other side of the story of redemption.  Someone must care so much that they put themselves in the middle of the fray to bring an end to the justifiable wrath.  The ringleader was not available when the directive came down.  So, I had to find out where the account was opened and who had signed for deposits.  Then I had to haul myself to the bank to do some university business.

“I am here to represent the university, and the account must be closed today.  We must have proof of a $0 balance.”   Thus I greeted the personal banker at the branch where the account was opened. With the help of a different student and some additional persuasion the kind personal banker closed the account that day.

Someone later asked who it was that reported the incident.  Yes, I appeared to be on the side of dispensing wrath.  Perhaps no one but me knew that I was also on the side of showing mercy.  I like to think that by closing the account before 5 PM that day I was insuring that one student was not expelled.

As the youth minister was wrapping up his rendition of the drawbridge story, I reread a familiar Bible verse, II Corinthians 5:21: For He hath made Him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.

Studies in Daniel – Chapter 6

Prophet Daniel in Augsburg Cathedral

Prophet Daniel in Augsburg Cathedral (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lesson 6

Daniel 6:10, 16-22

L-I-O-N-S

See also: Ps. 30:5; James 5:15; Prov. 15:8; Ps. 91:11-13; Dan. 3:25; I Thess 5:17

Litigation v. 5 A law made of jealousy was used to condemn Daniel.

Intercession –  v. 10 Daniel prayed. He prayed not the first nor the last time.

Oath v. 15-16 The King was true to his oath.

Night of trial v. 17-18 Daniel was tested, and the King was tested. When Daniel met the lions,   there was no smell of fear.

Salvation v. 21-22  God’s angle came again. The angel came to the furnace, and the angel came to the lions’ den.

Exemplary Story : A man in Tennessee was said to have met a bear and her cub.  He knew the bear, and respected her.  About to turn away he spotted a cougar.  To his surprise the bear came to his rescue and defeated the cougar.  Likewise we are rescued by our God.