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