Meaning Behind the Message
Read Ephesians 1:1-23 several times to remember the overall context
Use a Bible dictionary, Strong’s Concordance or Thayer’s Greek Lexicon
What Are You Showing the World?
In this chapter we read about loving others – even those who have wronged or hurt us.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35
The world will know we are followers of Christ simply by how we treat others. We won’t have to wear a t-shirt proclaiming we are Christians or post a status on Facebook defending our beliefs – they will know it by our actions.
True, it’s not easy to forgive and show Christ’s love to those who have offended us – those we deem “unlovable” – but what about our actions, and reactions, to those we don’t know personally? Do we show love to our ‘neighbor’ when we don’t agree with their choices?
Our society has become comfortable with seeking selfish pleasure, and often people who refuse to embrace sin are labeled as “intolerant, discriminatory, or bigots”.
Yet on the other side there are people who identify themselves as followers of Christ, who angrily defend their beliefs without thought of the unintended rejection they create in the way they react; standing on street corners, shouting, screaming, showing hatred, contempt, and disgust – anything and everything but the love of the One they claim to represent.
Somewhere there is middle ground. A ground where Jesus would have walked. The one where He showed love and compassion for a people going to hell. A middle ground where He put His arm around you and me and told us He loved us enough to die for our sin.
Which ground are we going to chose? The one where we fight and yell and scream in the name of our cause? Or the one where we lay down pride and stop using our Bible as a weapon against His creation instead of the love letter it was written to be, reaching out with a compassionate heart to actually show the love of Christ rather than angrily proclaim it from our high and mighty pedestal?
Sin is sin. No one sin is greater than the other. When we realize we are ALL sinners in need of the same Jesus, maybe we can stop fighting each other and begin seeking the cross together.
As Christians, we must find the middle ground. The place where we love people but reject sin…including the sin in our own lives.
- How can we show Christ’s love to others without condoning or enabling sin?
- How can we minister to someone in a sinful lifestyle of any kind?
Look What I Have
Paul continues his writing as a prayer of sort. He prays four specific things he desires for the believer:
- Know God (vs 17)
- Know God’s calling (vs 18)
- Know God’s abundant riches (vs18)
- Know God’s great power (vs 19-23)
Paul wants us to not only know these things, but to realize we already possess them – we only need to open our eyes and become aware of these things in our lives. They are already ours!
- Does knowing you already possess God’s power and a hope-filled calling help you understand how God can use you, even if you feel like an ‘unlikely’, to accomplish extraordinary things for His Kingdom?
- Does knowing this help you experience trust in God in a deeper way during difficult times?
- Do you think embracing His calling and power helps you to show love to your neighbor?
Join the conversation in the comments below
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What struck me this morning reading the commentary was God’s great power. He is the King of Glory. He resurrected Jesus, conquered death, positioned Him over all things and has given the believers every spiritual blessing. And Paul prays for the believer to know God and grasp these things. I think it just always comes back to that deep abiding relationship, the more time we spend with Him and in His Word the more we are going to live out our faith. It is just such a beautiful demonstration of God’s love for us, remembering this morning how deep His love is for us and how He wants us to share that love with others. It is so comforting to know JESUS is all authority and power over His church and this world. One of my favorite old hymns “as we look full in His wonderful face, the things of the world grow strangely dim”…
Debbie -it is an amazing line from that hymn!!
I like how you describe it as a deep abiding relationship with Christ; one where we linger in His presence and eventually realize we are in His presence at all times and begin operating in Him and His power. And to know that all this ‘stuff’ we stress and worry over in this world will ‘grow strangely dim’ the more we draw closer to Him and begin to renew our mind with His Word.
Good stuff! Thanks for sharing Debbie.
Liane Conaway says
Debbie, I so agree! The power that brought others back to life, the power that Christ used to conquer the grave is the same power that resides in each of us that know Him. That should be enough to make us all excited to run out and act in His power. And yet, to continuously lean into His wisdom and revelation nourishes and grows the relationship with Him to desire for this awakening of power.
I’m still amazed that so much is packed in this tiny chapter!! I would say “yes” to all three questions, but it’s easy to fluctuate depending on feelings or what has happened during the day.
These chapters are for sure packed! It is a great study that could span for months and months!
Marloes Dijkstra says
For me, it was very helpful they break this prayer up in four elements, to learn what Paul is actually trying to say here.
1. I’m also unlikely to be of much help, but at least being nice to others might make their day?
2. It’s difficult but it helps to realise it’s normal to feel like that every now and then.
3. Being nice is the calling, right?
Stephanie K. Adams says
Marloes, I love that you say “being nice is the calling, right?”. I must confess there are times when I struggle with niceness with some people. And there are times I just flat out miss the mark. But I ask for forgiveness and pray for strength to try harder next time. I’m a work in progress.
I try really hard to always love others and to not judge. Sometimes I feel when I talk about God, that others close themselves off from me and it hurts. Even some of my own family do not understand my journey with God. It just is hard to feel so secluded and closed off. I want to share the good news of our Lord but why is it so hard for me to do?
Stephanie K. Adams says
Kristin, loving others is always a challenge. Especially when we don’t want to love the ones that are ‘unlovable’ towards us.
Sharing the good news of Christ can be scary because I think we all want to be accepted and belong. Opening up our vulnerable places and sharing our need for a Savior can leave us feeling afraid of rejection. It is a place of daily prayer and submission to Him for wisdom and knowledge to recognize the moments when He is calling us to share Him with others.
Praying with you as you continue to share Jesus with others.