Wednesday, July 5, 2017

July 5 - Ephesians 2

Today's reading in our daily plan is Ephesians 2. 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?)
  • Without God, we are all walking around dead, thinking about gratifying our own selfish desires and following the world's way of doing things.
  • But Jesus changes everything! Because of his love and mercy, we are made alive in Christ. And it is only through grace that we can go to heaven. This chapter tells us that God's grace and salvation is a gift from God. We did nothing to earn it. Good works cannot save us, Instead, they should just naturally follow our lives as we experience God's love.
    • Paul goes on to write specifically to the Gentiles (the non-Jewish community). He tells them  as followers of Jesus they are now united. Back then, the Jews and Gentiles were separated by many cultural and religious barriers. Gentiles were not allowed to enter the temple courts and another wall separated men from women. He explains that through Jesus people become part of God’s family which knocks down the barriers that keep people separated.
    • Paul ends this section with an analogy of the church as a building, with Jesus as the cornerstone. The cornerstone of a building is the first stone that is set in construction. All other stones are set according to that one stone. The cornerstone determines the position of a buildings entire structure. In the same way, Christians need to look to Jesus as their life's cornerstone, looking to him for guidance and love in every situation and relationship.
    SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
    • We should be overwhelmed with gratitude and love for God, knowing that because of our sin all we deserved from Him was wrath. But, in His love He offered us grace - the opposite of what we deserve. If we just say yes by putting our faith in Jesus we are saved from our sin and ushered into a relationship with God.
    • It doesn't matter who we are or where we've been, there are no barriers that can separate us from the love of God.
    • Jesus should be the foundation and reference point of our lives. We build our lives on Him and know that everything we do should be connected to Him.
    NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
    • Have you given up your old life? The dead end one? 
      • If you don't know Jesus yet, can you imagine what it would feel like to be alive again? To be alive inside- to feel purpose, joy, and peace?
      • What if you made Jesus the foundation of your life? What would that look like? Do you see everything in your life as connected to Him, or are their parts of your life, maybe your job, your money, your sex life, your friends, or anything else, that you separate from your faith?
      • We can never repay God for his love and grace, but He does deserve our whole lives. And your life will never be everything it could be until you truly make Him everything.