DECEMBER 6, 2021 READINGS... Acts 28:1-31 & Ephesian 1:1-2:22
Through your weekend readings and in today’s reading you see the fulfillment of God’s promise to Paul…that he would be in Rome, and preach the Gospel there. What is also significant for Paul is that though he was under Roman guard, he had his own private residence, where he was able to have visitors and also write many of his letters to the churches (the New Testament books we now have). While in prison in Rome Paul wrote Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. Paul also took the opportunity of his arrival in Rome to speak to the Jewish religious leaders there, and share the Gospel with them. He quotes the Prophet Isaiah…sadly the passage he quotes declares that these very people he was sharing the Gospel with would hear, but not understand…they would be offered the truth, but they would reject it…they will see all the evidence, but their eyes would be blind to it. Paul was in Rome for two years…he lived there in his residence with a Roman guard…all at his own expense.
We begin reading the book of Ephesians today. This epistle is address to the church at Ephesus, and Paul reminds them in this letter what the church of Jesus Christ should look like. The church is not a religious organization, but a living organism…made up of born-again Christians. This letter has six chapters and can easily divided into two sections. The Open Bible divides it this way…Chapters 1-3, “The Position of the Christian” …Chapters 4-6, “The Practice of the Christian”…I like that division. In our reading today, Paul tells the Ephesian church, and us, that we as genuine believers in Jesus are…chosen by God the Father (vs. 1:3-6) …redeemed by Jesus the Son (vs. 1:7-12) …and sealed by God the Holy Spirit (vs. 1:13-14). Here we have the wonderful eternal truth about our eternal God…the Trinity…God in three Persons, yet God is One. Paul is so blessed by the church at Ephesus, as he is told of their great faith and love. How wonderful it would be if our reputation as followers of Christ was our great faith and love. In Chapter 2, Paul speaks of our eternal identity now that we have Jesus as our Savior. He speaks of our old condition (vs. 2:1-3), being dead to God…and he speaks of our new condition (vs. 2:4-10), being alive to God. He reminds us that we are saved by grace (God’s unmerited favor), and not by our own works…but we are saved to be involved in the good works of God. He closes out the second Chapter by reminding us that there are not two groups of believers in the church…Jew and Gentile…but in Christ we have been made one people of God. There are not two ways to salvation, one for the Jew and the other for the Gentile…its only Jesus.
Please share your thoughts from today’s reading.
TOMORROW’S READINGS… Ephesians 3:1-5:14