Sunday, October 25, 2020

We Are One In Christ (Ephesians Series)

We are one in Christ
We are one in Christ

We Are One In Christ (Ephesians Series)

Is the culture influencing the church, or is the church influencing the culture?

Therefore remember that previously you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “Uncircumcision” by the so-called “Circumcision” which is performed in the flesh by human hands— remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the people of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of the promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who previously were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the hostility, which is the Law composed of commandments expressed in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two one new person, in this way establishing peace; and that He might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the hostility. And He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near; for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit. - Ephesians 2:11-22

The following are my Bible study notes based on my pastor's sermon.  You are invited to watch, listen, and worship with us here.

Look how Paul describes the church in Ephesians 2:19.

So then you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household. - Ephesians 2:19

We have a kingdom of God citizenship.  We are saints and family of God members.  As the world around us falls apart and culture becomes darker by the day, we never lose our distinctiveness as the Church, the family of God.

Paul preached to both Jews and Gentiles.  They became one in Christ, but they were two different groups with different styles and preferences.  Division is not of God among the people of God.  

In verse 18, Jesus brings Jew and Gentile together. 

As Christ followers and fellow members of the church, together we are cleansed by His blood.  We are in His broken body.  We have the Holy Spirit.  We come to worship as we now have peace with God. 

What makes us distinct from the world?  Our foundation. 

The authority of scripture is our guide.  Jesus is our cornerstone.  He joins us together.  We are the holy temple in the Lord.

In the days of old, people went to the temple to worship God.  Today, we are the temple.  God dwells with us and in us.

Jesus has made us one.

Lord, make us one so that we may reach many.
We are one in Christ
We are one in Christ.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Are you dead or alive? (Ephesians Series)

Are you spiritually dead or spiritually alive?
Are you spiritually dead or spiritually alive?

Making our way through Ephesians, one of our church pastors asks the question, "Are you dead or alive?"  Today we are taking a look at Ephesians 1:1-10.  The following are my Bible study notes based on my pastor's sermon.  You are invited to watch, listen, and worship with us here.

Are you dead or alive?

Death is our enemy.  Everything bad about life is rooted in death.  Are you spiritually dead or alive?  There are only two spiritual camps, dead or alive.  

1.  You were dead.

The difference between one sinner and another is the state of decay.

Death's Place

And when you were dead in your wrongdoings and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our wrongdoings. - Colossians 2:13

The unsaved person is controlled by the world.  He or she walks with the world.  They feel no conviction.  They go with the crowd.

In which you previously walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. - Ephesians 2:2

But now in Christ Jesus you who previously were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall. - Ephesians 2:13-14

Death's Passions

We take things that God intended for our good, and we use them in an ungodly way. 

Among them we too all previously lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the rest. - Ephesians 2:3

Therefore God gave them up to vile impurity in the lusts of their hearts, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. - Romans 1:24

We are all guilty of sin.

Death's Future

Wrath is the future for spiritually dead people.  Physical death is a reality for all of us.

2.  God made you alive.

We are alone, addicted, deep in sin, etc . . . but God is rich in mercy.  He is filled with great love for us.

What is love?  Love is an act of will accompanied with emotion on behalf of a person or thing.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life. - John 3:16

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. - Romans 5:8

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not a result of works, so that no one may boast. - Ephesians 2:8-9

What is mercy?  Mercy is not getting something you deserve.

What is grace?  Grace is getting something you don't deserve.

What are appropriate responses to mercy and grace?

*Overwhelming gratitude

*Explainable humility

*Radical obedience

*A desire to tell others what God has done for you.

Do you want to transform from spiritually dead to spiritually alive?  Learn more about how to do that here.

Pin Me!
Are you spiritually dead or alive?
Are you spiritually dead or alive?

Sunday, October 11, 2020

What You Have (Ephesians Series)

What You Have, Ephesians
What You Have in Christ Jesus, Ephesians 1
We are in a new Bible study series at my church.  Our pastor is calling today's sermon "What You Have."  We are studying from the book of Ephesians.  The following are my Bible study notes based on my pastor's sermon.  You are invited to watch, listen, and worship with us here.

In the opening of the book of Ephesians, Christ followers are called saints.  Jesus made us saints.  Every Christian is a saint and every saint is a Christian.  If you are a saint (Christ follower), you are going to learn what you have today.  If you are not a Christ follower, learn more about how to have a relationship with Jesus here.

Let's begin by reading Ephesians 1:3-14.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons and daughters through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, with which He favored us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our wrongdoings, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He set forth in Him, regarding His plan of the fullness of the times, to bring all things together in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him we also have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things in accordance with the plan of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in the Christ would be to the praise of His glory. In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of the promise, who is a first installment of our inheritance, in regard to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory. - Ephesians 1:3-14

If you have ever visited The Varsity in Atlanta, then you know that when you approach the counter, the counter worker will yell at you with a quick "What'll ya have?!"  They take this job very seriously, and if you don't order fast enough, they'll yell at you again.  At least this has been my experience when I visited the popular Atlanta fast food chain.  

In the video above, our pastor shares his own experience which was similar to mine.  Then he mentions that the apostle Paul takes us to the "buffet" of salvation in Ephesians 1.  He says the table is full.  There are many dishes, and they are filled with every spiritual blessing.  According to my pastor, this is Paul's version of "What'll ya have?!"

What we have is our position.  Feasting on what we have should be our condition.

Truth:  You don't need what you already have.  You already have all that you need.

The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit all have spiritual wealth to give us.  Believers are blessed with every spiritual blessing.

What You Have

1.  What We Have in the Father (verses 4-6)

We are chosen.  God chose us before the foundation of the world.  You are not an afterthought.  Before anything existed, we (YOU) were on His mind.

We are adopted.  God calls us sons and daughters.

We are accepted.  

2.  What We Have in the Son (verses 7-12)

We are redeemed.  Jesus paid the price for our sin with His blood.  We were slaves to sin but in Jesus, we are now free, redeemed.

We are forgiven.  There is good and bad to learn here.  The bad news is that we are all guilty and there is a penalty to be paid.  The good news is that Jesus took our blame and our guilt.  He has completely forgiven us.  

As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our wrongdoings from us. - Psalm 103:12

I have wiped out your wrongdoings like a thick cloud and your sins like a heavy mist.  Return to Me, for I have redeemed you. - Isaiah 44:22

They will not teach again, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the Lord, “for I will forgive their wrongdoing, and their sin I will no longer remember.” - Jeremiah 31:34

I will endure the rage of the Lord because I have sinned against Him, until He pleads my case and executes justice for me. He will bring me out to the light, and I will look at His righteousness. - Micah 7:9

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous, so that He will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. - 1 John 1:9

Scripture Wall Art, What You Have, Ephesians
This wall art is available here.
God's grace does not end.  Your sin will never outweigh His grace.  Don't let the devil bring up your past!

We have insight.  We are chosen and adopted.  We are not victims of the age.  The cancer of sin is spreading all over the world but history is His story.

We have an inheritance.  We are valuable to Jesus.

When Jesus Christ wrote His last will and testament for His church, He made it possible for us to share His spiritual riches.  Instead of spending it all, Jesus paid it all.  His death on the cross and His resurrection make possible our salvation.  He wrote us into His will, then He died so the will would be in force.  Then He rose again that He might become our advocate to make sure the terms of the will were correctly followed. - Warren Wiersbe

What You Have in Christ Jesus
This Bible Commentary is available here.
3.  What We Have in the Holy Spirit 

We have been sealed.  To seal something is to make it secure.  This speaks of authenticity and permanence.  Everything is secure.  It can never be lost.

We have been guaranteed.  

God blessed us immensely.  He chose us unconditionally.  He adopted us adoringly.  He redeemed us graciously.  He forgave us completely.  He gave grace lavishly.  He revealed His mystery wisely.  He granted us inheritance eternally.  He sealed us permanently.  He guaranteed our position personally.

What You Have, Ephesians
What You Have in Christ Jesus

Have you ordered my book yet?

Have you ordered my book yet?
Start reading!

Verse of the Day from Bible Gateway