Saturday, August 19, 2006

Ephesians 1 -

Read the passage from The Message: Ephesians 1
Read the passage from the New International Version: Ephesians 1

I was messing with the html on this blog to add the scripture links - and it dropped the bottom half of the blog off. I guess that all things ARE ephemeral, especially words when they are typed into the internet. So, I've re-written this post. I'm not inspired like I was last night - but, I am inspired like I am tonight!

I decided that I would study Ephesians using "The Message". I know this isn't a tried and true translation, but I've read these passages so many times in the NIV, I felt it was time to read them a little differently. This is definitely different. But, Peterson's use of language causes me to rethink how I have perceived these words. That's fun for me.

Verse 1 tells us that Paul is writing this letter to the faithful Christians in Ephesus. He identifies himself as an apostle, as a special agent of Christ Jesus.

A special agent of Christ Jesus! That certainly puts a new spin on things for me. As a girl (I know, I'm too old to be simply a girl anymore, but indulge me, please) that loves spy movies and deep intrigue, it occurs to me that I am sometimes a secret agent for Christ. I am actually hiding here on and not posting these blogs on myspace because I am afraid of what my obvious preaching and teaching from the Word will do to some of my regular readers and friends there. I'm not ashamed of being a Christian, by any means, but I also don't want to be the type of Christian that flings my beliefs in front of people's faces and forces them to accept my words. So, I'm here - expressing myself ... as a secret agent of Christ.

Though, Paul does say that he is a special agent - not a secret agent. He wasn't afraid of offending his audiences, he was desperately passionate about telling the world that He had been changed because of the life and death of one man. He wanted everyone to know that the way to living a life filled with worth and meaning was to follow that one man, Jesus Christ.

In verse 3, Paul begins an amazing doxology, a hymn of praise to the Trinity. God ... is the father of Jesus, our Master. Before time began, God had us in mind. He wanted us to complete. He wanted us to be holy. He wanted us to be a part of His family and He made that possible by adoption through Jesus. God planned all of this! It's all about me! He did everything so that I would be a part of His kingdom. That really takes me aback!

Jesus Christ - the Messiah. God's plan for us is centered in Christ - in the sacrifice of His son. Not on a brazen altar in the temple, but on a cross - far from the temple. However, at the moment of Christ's death, the one symbol that showed our separation from God the Father, the curtain leading to the holy of holies was torn in two. God no longer was restrained to one location. He could now reside in people's hearts.

When I think of the centuries that God had spent trying to draw his people to him, I am in awe. He did everything to cause them to draw close. And they continually put blocks up between him and them. Now, His plaln finally came to fruition - Jesus Christ - God embodied in humanity - sacrificed himself for our sins. I can hardly think of this without stopping to spend time in prayer - just saying 'thank you'.

The Holy Spirit - this is the promise that Jesus gave to us before He left. This is the seal, the mark by which we are known. This is what guarantees that we have an eternal future with God. Oh my goodness ... the teacher, the comforter, the very Spirit of God now resides in each of us.

This letter of Paul to the Ephesians is one of such encouragement. His prayer for them is that they are discerning - that they are able to recognize the hope of God. This is for us! We should recognize the hope - the riches of God's inheritance. This temporal life that we live is such a short period of time before we come into the treasure of Heaven. I, for one, can't wait!

God has set His son to rule over everything - all of the powers on earth, the heavens, all that exists. The small sentence fragment that has struck me so hard is found in verse 21: Christ rules ... 'not only in the present age but also in the one to come'. I can do nothing to separate Christ from me. Right now, He is in charge - tomorrow He will be in control and 10 years from now, Christ will still remain as rule of everything. No matter what I do ... that won't change. His rule is eternal. That's a huge relief for me.

This weekend I will participate in leading worship. I think I have a new perspective on how this will affect me. You see, worship is about the church. Christ rules the church. The church is Christ's body - He fills everything with His presence. When I stand in front of the congregation, I am there to remind them of that. Christ is filling that sanctuary with His presence, we are there to lift our voices in praise and worship of Him.

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