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Gospel

Tuesday

February 7, 2017

We’ve All Got A Story To Tell

Read

Ephesians 3:7-9, "I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God's grace given me through the working of His power. Although I am less than the least of all the Lord's people, this grace was given to me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things."

Think

In Ephesians chapters 1-2, Paul explains that although salvation came first to the Jews, that it was always God's plan—even before He laid the foundations of the earth—for salvation to be available to all humankind. In chapter 3, Paul expands on his call to preach the gospel of Christ to the Gentiles. In verse 7, he references his own conversion due to God's all-encompassing power found in Acts 9. In verse 8, he humbly refers to his own sordid past as a murderer of Christians. But miraculously, out of God's "unsearchable riches" he was saved. This means that although God revealed His plan for salvation, no one can fully grasp the vast intricacies involved.  So, Paul is saying that regardless of his former self, God chose him to help explain the mystery of the gospel. Verse 9 reaffirms that God the Creator of all offers salvation to all.

We can learn a lot from today's Scripture passage. Although Paul's mission had far greater implications within the foundational aspects of the Christian faith, although he wrote 2/3 of the New Testament, and although His conversion experience likely makes our own seem insignificant—our mission is the same: to make salvation through Christ known and to glorify God. No matter if we prayed for salvation at the age of 7, 37, or 77, God wants us to share our story: our life before Christ, what led us to Christ, our conversion, and life transformation. We don't have to be biblical scholars, ordained pastors, or even understand the entire Bible to explain what God is doing in and through our lives. All it takes is an otherworldly love, a passion, and a willingness to make the name of Jesus known.

Pray

Thank God for working through your past to lead you to Christ. Express your willingness to share your story, and pray high-risk prayers for such opportunities to arise.

Act

Read the story of Paul's conversion in Acts 9:1-31. Then practice telling your own story in two minutes or less.

Monday

February 6, 2017

Heirs, Members, & Sharers

Read

Ephesians 3:6, “This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.”

Think

In the technology-driven world we live in today, we are required to have logins and passwords to gain access to sites that have information we may need and to prove our membership of those sites. If we don’t have the correct logins and passwords, access is denied.  In essence, this is what the Gentiles (anyone who was not Jewish) in Ephesus were experiencing.  Their access to God’s promise in Christ Jesus was denied.  But Paul had good news for them.

The Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the amazing mystery that Paul had the privilege of unveiling to the Gentiles.  Previously it had only been spoken about to the Jews, the chosen nation of God.  But God’s gift of Jesus’ sacrifice was not only for them, but for the Gentiles too.  This means that, through Jesus Christ, the world can be co-heirs with Israel to God’s promises.  They can be members of the body of Christ; His church.  And they can share in the promise of eternity in Christ Jesus.  This is not only true for the Ephesians and the rest of the Gentiles in Paul’s day, but it is true for us today also.  By accepting the gift of Jesus’ sacrifice we too gain access to become heirs, members and sharers of God’s gift of eternity with Him.  That is the amazing Good News of Jesus Christ!

Pray

Father God, thank You for the precious gift of Your Son, Jesus Christ. Enable me to discover more and more of Your love for me each day.  And help me not to share it accordingly with those around me.

Act

Read Ephesians 3 in the NIV translation and bask the dimensional magnitude of God’s love.

Tuesday

January 31, 2017

Peace Man

Read

Ephesians 2:13-15, “But now in Christ Jesus you who were once far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in His flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in Himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace.”

Think

In ancient times, there was a wall at the temple to separate the Gentiles from entering Jewish “holy ground”. Any Gentile attempting to cross this boundary faced death. Thus, a very real tension existed between the two groups. The Jews, God’s chosen people, believed that Gentiles were ceremonially unclean and less in the eyes of the Lord. But peace was not only lacking in a religious sense, but also in a true spiritual sense. You see, unless we are at peace with God, we are devoid of God’s peace. And what these religious elitists failed miserably to understand was that the wall of division at the temple wasn’t the issue. It was the wall of sin, racism, and hostility. Hence, they were at war with the wrong enemy. Nothing the Gentiles did could defile them from the outside in—it was their own sin nature that afflicted them from the inside out.

Jesus, the Prince of Peace, came to redeem the sin of all mankind, not just the sin of Israel. He obliterated the wall of separation between God and man. Remember, peace isn’t just the halting of hostilities; it’s the coming together of all who call Jesus their Savior—the unity of oneness in faith. When we are one in Christ, we are one with Christ, and therefore, one with the Father through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The gospel—the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Christ—is the only path to true peace. And once we’re at peace with God through the blood of Christ, then we become carriers of peace called to share His peace in a hostile world.

Pray

Thank God for making peace a possibility through Christ. Pray for any areas in your life lacking peace and praise Jesus for calling you out of the darkness and into the light.

Act

Read about living as a child of light in Ephesians 4:17-5:21. Journal what words and phrases stand out to you the most. Then pray through the passage allowing God to speak into your heart.

 

Monday

January 23, 2017

Sin-i-ty

Read

Ephesians 2:1-3, “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.”

Think

There is a fascination with zombies in our current culture. We talk about what we’d do if there was a zombie apocalypse and “The Walking Dead” is all the rage. The interesting thing, though, is although brainless, tattered, and torn looking monsters aren’t trying to take over the world, we pass by zombies—walking dead people—every day within the spiritual realm. When sin entered the world, so did the Law of Inevitable Consequences – the wrath that we deserve due to our sinful and selfish nature. Paul reminds us of this in Ephesians 2. It’s called the sinfulness of sin, the “sin-i-ty”: the world, Satan, and the flesh. Too often we let the world squeeze us into its mold. The devil is trying to distort our perception of the gospel just enough to thwart us from God’s purpose. And we are always faced with the temptation to indulge in God-given desires in ungodly ways.

This scenario has the potential to become a very sad song in our lives full of the hopelessness that sin brings. But there is good news – God can make that sad song better. We can break the world’s mold! We can refuse to buy into Satan’s lies! And we can resist temptation! When we lean on the gospel of peace—the righteous life, sacrificial death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we have the security of life change and forgiveness. No longer are we among the spiritually dead when we live out a life of fullness, blessing, purpose, and passion for Jesus. If you’re among the living, then you need to be shining the light of Christ among the dead. If you’re among the dead, then seek the light of God’s grace through Christ.

Pray

If you’re among the living in Christ, pray for at least two “dead” people to accept your invitation to experience the great things going on at FC. If you have yet to ask Jesus into your life and want to pray for salvation simply say: "God, I admit to you that I am a sinner. I’ve tried to do life on my own and have failed miserably. I turn from my sin and turn to you. I believe that Jesus died on the cross for my sins and rose from the dead. I choose to die to myself and rise into the life you created for me in Lord Jesus. And in His name I pray, Amen."

Act

Read Ephesians 2 in the New Living Translation (NLT). If you have just prayed the salvation prayer for the first time, then click here to learn about taking the next step.

 

Thursday

December 15, 2016

Good News

Read

Luke 2:8-12, “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’”

Think

The vast majority of us are not called to be pastors in the local church. But as Christ followers, we are called to be ministers of the gospel of peace. Think about it. God could have sent His angel to appear before the religious elite and scholars of the law—but He didn’t! He chose shepherds, men of humble means, to be the first to receive the good news of Jesus’ birth.  Regardless of where we work or our course of study, we are employed by God to be His messengers everywhere we go.

The Bible says we are here to glorify God and shine His light in darkness. But often, this ‘darkness’ is not found in some back alley—it is in close proximity to us every day. Isn’t it true that when it comes to sharing God’s message it’s often hardest to share with our coworkers and classmates? No matter what, though, even when it seems intimidating, we must remember Who we are truly working for.

Pray

This week, pray for God to give you courage as His messenger to boldly proclaim the true meaning of Christmas.

Act

Just as the angel said to the shepherds, “Do not be afraid”, God is telling us the same thing. Allow His Spirit to infiltrate your heart and mind as you invite coworkers and classmates to experience Christmas at Fellowship Church.