Monday, July 8, 2013

July 8 - Ephesians 3

Today's reading in our daily plan is Ephesians 3. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • God revealed something new to Paul and the other apostles and prophets: through the gospel everyone can know and have a relationship God. Previously, God’s covenant was only with Jews but now all of humanity can share in God’s promises. This would have been very surprising to people back then.
  • Jesus made it possible for all people to know God, and Paul was specifically chosen to bring this news to people who were not Jewish.
  • Paul mentions that through Jesus we can approach God with freedom and confidence.
  • Paul prays for his readers. He prays that: they are strengthened by the Holy Spirit, Jesus dwells in their hearts through faith, they grasp how deep Jesus’ love is and they would be filled with God.
  • He finishes the chapter by praising God.

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • Through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross we can freely and confidently approach God. We don’t have to jump through hoops or clean up our act to know God because the punishment for our sins was dealt to Jesus on the cross. We can be sure that God will listen intently to us because he made us his daughters and sons through Jesus. Because of what Jesus has done for us we are loved by God perfectly, can know God personally, talk with him freely and live in his kingdom.

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • Do you feel free to approach God?  Why or why not? Are you confident that God loves and cherishes you? He does. He showed us how much He loves us when He came to live with us and then took our place on the cross. But the key question is do we believe it? We live our lives according to who we believe we are. And it’s possible to confess one identity but live another. Everybody struggles with this! Take some time in the coming days to focus on who God says you are. If you need a refresher, read Galatians 3:26-4:7. If we believe we’re worthless then we will live carelessly, but if we believe we are the daughters and sons of the creator and king of the universe, loved with a love that surpasses knowledge, then we will live life to the full.