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Ephesians

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Peace at Last

Ephesians 2:14-15

Peace, the peace of God, is not primarily a feeling. Although it brings a relief from stress, a quiet conscience and peaceful emotions - it has substance. It cannot be manufactured by candles or music (although they may produce a sense of calm or tranquillity). Peace is a declaration that war is over. It is based on a clear victory and evidenced by a cease-fire, the laying down of arms and a willing acceptance that the victor has the right to rule.

The Inclusive Jesus

Ephesians 2:15b-16

God never works randomly; everything He says and does will achieve His purposes. The death of Jesus was not, as some suppose, a divisive activity, forcing polarisation upon the world's religions. The Apostle Paul maintains it was a massive act to unite all the Jews and all the Gentiles (non-Jews), everywhere in the world. Jesus the man, was a descendent of Abraham, a Jew, and the Christ. Yet in Him, all the aspirations of world religion meet and are fulfilled.

Peace Declaration

Ephesians 2:17-18

A 'good news' announcement has an amazing effect. Those fearing the worst from the cancer doctor are relieved and then joyful - they feel free. They are free from the uncertainty with its worry, and from the chaos of life into which a more sombre diagnosis threatened to plunge them. Forgiveness of all sin, and acceptance into the intimate household of God, is good news indeed - that is why it is called the Gospel (that just means 'good news').

Full Citizens

Ephesians 2:19-20

Immigration is a big issue for any government. The right to be a full citizen is rightly guarded, and yet there are foreigners who we believe ought to have the right to stay. The plight of the Ghurkhas who bravely fought for Britain and yet had been denied the right of a home there, brought a wave of indignation: but after a case at the High Court, the UK government made residence possible. However, convicted criminals are denied visas to most countries, and many would say that was right.

Modular Architecture

Ephesians 2:21-22

Paul now changes his analogy for Christians, from a family and kingdom - to a building. Today the great city skylines around the world are dominated by iconic structures, each intended to glorify the architect and the occupants. The church is all that and much more. The Lord is the architect and builder, but He is building with ordinary people like many small stones in a massive construction. Each person is an individual module in the construction (1 Peter 2:4-8), but together we become 'something else'.

Trapped but Content

Ephesians 3:1

It is not a nice feeling to be trapped in a lift (when will I get out?); or to be trapped in a job you detest (when can I get a new job?). But, it is worse to be locked out of a job that you love, or excluded from a relationship that you yearn for. Being trapped in a job you really enjoy, is fine; so is the 'entrapment' of marriage to the person you love. It is not the loss of freedom which is the issue, but rather your attitude to the restriction. Depending on how you view it, you will either resent or delight in 'being trapped'.

Trusted with the Truth

Ephesians 3:2-3

If you have ever been involved in dealing with someone's finances after their death, you will know it is a privileged task – fulfilling the wishes of somebody who has given you the responsibility. Ideally, an executor has been chosen while the person is alive (or is appointed by the courts); someone who is trusted and accountable to the courts to distribute the property and money according to the wishes of the deceased. This is the sort of thing that Paul writes about here.

Revelation for Distribution

Ephesians 3:4-5

Reading is generally informative, sometimes inspirational and on rare occasions, life-changing. But Paul's statement, that he is presenting the truth about Christ (Colossians 1:15-20), which God had not fully unpacked previously, is a seriously unique claim. What he writes is not 'automatic writing', but a reasoned explanation of who Jesus Christ is and what He has done. However, his wisdom is not through any superior intellect but by revelation (Galatians 1:11). The Old Testament had contained all the clues to the gospel – the missing piece was Jesus.

Nobody Excluded

Ephesians 3:6

Clubs have rules which say who may qualify to become a member. Those rules also automatically exclude others. The Jews had rightly believed that they were special to God: but to say that others did not matter to Him, was false. From the time of God's commission to Abraham, it was God's intention that everybody might receive His blessing through His chosen people (Genesis 12:2-3). But, with a few exceptions, many fought against God's authority; and it is the same today.

Power to Win Through

Ephesians 3:7

A job description that includes extremely hard work, imprisonment, flogging, stoning, shipwreck, hunger, sleep deprivation and hypothermia (2 Corinthians 11:23-28) - would not attract many applicants. But Paul was called to that. His devotion to his work was no ascetic exercise in an attempt to 'purify the soul'. It was obedience to the call of Jesus Christ to preach the gospel (Colossians 1:28-29).

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