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Ephesians

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Down but not Out

Ephesians 3:8-9

God's only perfect servant on earth was Jesus Christ. All the rest were, and are, rough diamonds at best. From the dishonesty of Abraham, the grumbling of Moses and the adultery of David to corrupt tax-collector Matthew, arrogant Peter and nervous Timothy - their flaws show through the Bible text. But few had such a 'colourful' background as Paul. He was a religious bigot, a self-righteous academic, and cruel to the point of inhumanity (Acts 22:3-5).

Our Restoration Shows God's Glorious Wisdom

Ephesians 3:10-11

Staff are an employer's finest asset or greatest liability. However, Jesus' choice of the disciples might not have seemed wise. Mostly they had little education and lacked the skills to be the leaders of a new multi-national corporation. The Corinthian church members had been worse: sexually immoral, thieves, drunkards, embezzlers and extortionists (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). The church in Crete contained liars, evil brutes and lazy gluttons (Titus 1:12). The apostle Paul himself was previously an arrogant, bigoted, blasphemous, cruel and violent-minded man (Acts 26:9-11).

New Confidence

Ephesians 3:12-13

A brave face at work gives the impression that you are up to the job. The reality may be different. True confidence is not the product of management courses or assertiveness training; it comes from a heart at peace and a mind full of good purpose. The greater the challenge, more confidence is needed. That is true at work when interacting with the boss's boss or others higher up the ladder. Interviews also need that extra confidence. So, what kind of confidence do we need to approach Almighty God Himself?

It's Good to Belong

Ephesians 3:14-15

Despite our society's preoccupation with individual achievement, most people want to belong to a loving family. Those, whose family is like that, often underestimate their privilege; while others may despair of ever being embraced by that kind of relationship. Our emotional stability depends on secure relationships, and so humans seek them wherever they can. Where family love is missing, some choose addictions to numb the pain of lovelessness. And it is easy to throw ourselves into work which, for many, provides a substitute family.

Human Resources

Ephesians 3:16-17a

The business world sees its resources as money coming into the bank from confirmed orders, repeat business and successful marketing campaigns. And stockholdings are generated on confidence in a company's performance in the future. Of course, the most important resources are quality raw materials, sound intellectual property and good staff. However, Christians have a personal energy, power and confidence that do not rely on the business cycle, or personal development techniques, but depend solely on God.

Saturated by Love

Ephesians 3:17b-19

It is not often that employees are allowed to see all the senior managers' plans for the future of the business. But Christians have the privilege of knowing much more about God and His purposes. Jesus said that He did not call His disciples, 'servants', but 'friends' with whom He would share so much (John 15:13-15). The Bible lets us into the secrets of creation and the end of the world; something of the mysteries of heaven and hell; and to know the extreme depth of God's love for us (Titus 3:4-7).

Commitment at Work

Ephesians 3:20-21

'Commitment' is something that employers demand of us. But we also expect them to be committed to us, in providing wages or salary, reasonable working conditions and various benefits. In times of recession, we may wonder if they can keep their side of the employment bargain, when the customers may evaporate and the business overheads make it difficult to balance the books. However, God has no such limitations (Luke 1:37). Whatever happens, He is still God and is fully about to do whatever He determines and promises (Romans 4:18-21).

Rights Issue

Ephesians 4:1-2

Prison is not an ideal setting for an author, but it certainly concentrated Paul's mind on his book. He was writing about the cause of his imprisonment - his love and service of the gospel of Christ. It certainly got him into trouble but he was able to write from the experience of knowing that the violence and intimidation of the world could never stop the gospel. Likewise, his gentleness and humility were more powerful than military forces in turning people from idols to serve the true and living God (1 Thessalonians 1:9).

Spiritual Unity with Integrity

Ephesians 4:3-6

In our individualistic world, there are almost as many religious and philosophical cliques as there are family groups. It has always been so. Generally speaking, humans create the gods that they think they might be able to please by their own efforts. But when we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, it is very different. His Spirit comes to live in us (Romans 8:9). His function is to bind us organically into the body of Christ, so that we become a properly functional part of what Christ is doing in the world.

Equipped by God

Ephesians 4:7

As we progress at work, we sit examinations to prove our knowledge-base, and go on courses to increase our skill-base. In theory, we could all be CEO, if there were enough jobs. But there are other limitations too. Nobody has the natural ability to fill every role, even if coached. The reality is that however much we may desire promotion, and the salary which accompanies it, we are at our best when the demands of the job are matched by our attitude, aptitude and ability.

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