August 29/Ephesians 3

Verses 1-5 > Being faithful to Jesus can have its consequences. Paul was sent out by God to tell the Gentiles that they could have the same heavenly Father as the Jews if they believed in Jesus. This message irritated many Jewish leaders because they still viewed Gentiles as ‘dogs’, outcast and unclean, so they had Paul thrown in prison. Jesus came to tear down this hate barrier between Jew and Gentile to form one group of believers called the Church. The Church, as the body of Christ, is now supposed to take the message of the grace of God, that God accepts all people into his family by faith in Jesus Christ, to all people all over the world.

How are we doing as the Church in getting this message out? I have heard many people say that they don’t have a problem with the Jesus but they have a problem with the Church! How can that be when we are the body of Christ? Perhaps if we really loved and cared for each other like was intended by Jesus it would not only make Jesus even more attractive but it would also make the Church a body to be part of. Paul believed this was possible and he was in prison because of this belief. He was in prison because he promoted the Church! Jesus went to the cross for the Church! So I ask myself, would I be willing to suffer by being inconvenienced for the reputation of the Church?  Or am I just concerned about me and what the Church can do for me? For some people being part of the Church in the summer time is a real inconvenience; suffering they just do not want to go through! For other’s giving the tithe or volunteering to watch children is a tremendous act of suffering that just proves too hard for them. I guess it is worse than going to prison or the cross!

I like what John F. Kennedy said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country”. Perhaps we should say, “Ask not what the Church can do for you, but what can you do for the Church.”

Verse 10 > As the Church we are supposed to display God’s wisdom in pulling us all together under one roof so to speak. We are to display God’s love, his power, his unity, etc. When I was growing up the downtown area of Fergus Falls had many stores. Each store had window display of something cool that the store sold. This is where we get the term, window shopping. Arneson and Larson, a popular men’s store always had mannequin models with the latest dress shirts, suits, and shoes on display. Coast to Coast the hardware store would display, tools, bicycles, and grills. The displays were set up in a way to entice people to come into the store, look around and buy something. In fact some stores hired professional display people to do their displays!

Each one of us are individual window displays for Jesus and for the Church. When people see us and hear us would they want to come in so to speak and learn more of Jesus. As they watch us would we be enticing enough that they would want to learn more about the Church? Or would they just walk by because nothing caught their eye or ear. Perhaps we need to work on our displays. Maybe we need to call in the professional, the Holy Spirit to work on our inside display so we show better on the outside. After all he is our Helper! > see verse 12

Verses 16-21 > Paul is in fact praying for us here that once we realize what a blessing it is to be the Church that we would be better window displays for Jesus!

John 13:35 (NLT) — 35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

1 John 2:5 (NLT) — 5 But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him.

1 John 2:10 (NLT) — 10 Anyone who loves a fellow believer is living in the light and does not cause others to stumble.

1 John 3:10–14 (NLT) — 10 So now we can tell who are children of God and who are children of the devil. Anyone who does not live righteously and does not love other believers does not belong to God. 11 This is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another. 12 We must not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and killed his brother. And why did he kill him? Because Cain had been doing what was evil, and his brother had been doing what was righteous. 13 So don’t be surprised, dear brothers and sisters, if the world hates you. 14 If we love our brothers and sisters who are believers, it proves that we have passed from death to life. But a person who has no love is still dead.

1 John 4:20–21 (NLT) — 20 If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? 21 And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their fellow believers.

Be Inspired Hilltop!

Comments

  1. Mark Gundersen says:

    As believers we are expected to understand two important concepts. The love of God, which has no bounds, and the power of the Holy Spirit, sent to us to allow us to perform God’s promises. We are conduits to funnel God’s love and power to a fallen world. Unity of purpose with God and other believers is vital for that purpose.