Friday, July 31, 2015

Isaiah 40:8
The grass withers and the flowers fall but the word of our God stands forever.

John 1:1-2
In the beginning was the Word, and Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.

The Bible says that God’s Word will stand forever.  The Word of God will never pass away.  When we look at the opening verses in the gospel of John we get a clearer understanding of what it means to say that the Word of God will never pass away. 
John says that Jesus is the living Word of God.  Jesus is the Word that has been with God from the very beginning.  So when we proclaim the Word of God we can only proclaim Jesus.  There is no other Word to share.  Jesus is the very essence of the wisdom and message of God.  To proclaim any other Word than Jesus is to proclaim a Word that is foreign to the very nature of God.
So when we are called to go into the world and share God’s Word we are called to share the love and grace of Jesus.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Ephesians 3:12
In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.

When Paul says “him” who does he mean?  When you consider this verse in the context of the entire passage it is clear that Paul is referring to Jesus.  Paul says that when we are united with Christ through our faith in Christ that we are no longer separated and alienated from God.  Through Jesus our sin has been forgiven and we have been made right before God.  Paul says that we can now come into the presence of a holy God with freedom (any time we want) and with confidence.  Through Jesus we have been made righteous in the eyes of God the Father.

The reality that we can come into the presence of God is such good news that we need to let all people know that in Jesus we have been made holy in God’s sight and we can live in the presence of God.  That’s good news and we are called to proclaim that good news.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Ephesians 3:10-11
His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.


Paul tells us that God’s intent is for the wisdom of God in Jesus Christ be made known on the earth and in the heavens.  In other words the good news of Jesus Christ should be spread throughout all creation.  How should this good news be spread to all people?  Paul says that God intends for the message of Christ to be spread through the church.  When Paul refers to the church he is not referring to an institutional entity.  When Paul says the word “church” he is making reference to all believers in Jesus Christ.  The task of taking the gospel to the world is not just the responsibility of a professional class of Christian such as clergy or church staff it is the responsibility of every person who says they are a follower of Jesus.

If you were to take the responsibility to proclaim the good news of Jesus seriously how would you share that message through your daily activities?

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Ephesians 3:7-9
I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power.  Although I am less than the least of all God’s people, this grace was given to me:  to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages was kept hidden in God, who created all things.

Paul says that he is the least of all God’s people.  He might feel this way because of his past.  He had fought against Jesus and tried to destroy the Christian movement.  Paul (he was called Saul at the time) was a fierce persecutor of every Christian he could find.  Paul participated and approved of the stoning and martyrdom of Stephen.
When Paul found the grace of Christ in his life it changed him completely.  However, he always remembered the facts of his past.  He felt unworthy to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ but he understood that he had been forgiven and called so he went forward sharing Jesus throughout the world.
Many times because of our past or because of the failings of our lives we often think we are not worthy to proclaim the gospel.  We must always keep in mind that we are not perfect; we are forgiven.  God does not call the worthy he calls those who have responded to his love.  That includes each of us.  Consider today how even in the midst of our unworthiness God calls us and gives us the grace to share Jesus with others.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Ephesians 3:1-6
For this reason, I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, that is, they mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly.  In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Sprit to God’s holy apostles and prophets.  This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and shares together in the promise in Christ Jesus.

Paul is saying in this passage that it has been revealed to him that he is to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles.  Gentile is the term used to
refer to all people who are not of Jewish heritage. 
The citizens of Israel viewed themselves as special because of the covenant that God had made with
them through Abraham and then was renewed
through Moses and sealed in the giving of the Law
(the Ten Commandments).  Gentiles were seen as being outside of this covenant.

Through Jesus Paul is saying that all people are now included in the covenant.  This new covenant is
sealed in the blood of Jesus Christ that was shed for
all people.  Paul is saying that he has been called to proclaim the good news of Jesus to people that previously had been considered to be beyond God’s reach and love.  Through Jesus God’s love is
extended to all people.

Today you are encouraged to consider how you might proclaim the good news to people that others might consider to be beyond God’s love.  How can we share the love and grace of Jesus to those who are rejected and outcast by others?

July 26 - August 1

Proclaim the Good News

Although I am less than the least of all God’s people, this grace was given to me:  to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was hidden in God, who created all things.

Ephesians 3:8-9

Paul is acknowledging that he has been called to take the message of Jesus Christ into the world and to share the unsearchable riches of Christ to all people.  Paul says that he is called to proclaim the gospel.

When every individual who is a follower of Jesus and part of Christ’s Church realizes that we have been called and sent to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ then the good news of Jesus will grow exponentially throughout the world.  This week we are going to be considering the reality that each of us has been called to proclaim Christ’s message.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Ephesians 2:21-22
In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.  And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

The entire emphasis for this week has been that since we are united with Christ there is no longer any division.  There is no division between Jew and Gentile.  There is no longer any division between a holy God and sinful humans.  We are joined together as one.
Paul describes this coming together as one that we who are united with Christ are built into a holy and spiritual temple.  All of us, in Christ, have become living stones (Peter says this in one of his letters) and we are built into God’s house.  We are built into a holy temple and God dwells in us.
The church, God’s dwelling place is not a physical temple.  God’s dwelling place is not what we have traditionally called “the Church.”  We often refer to a building in a geographical location as the church.  That is a misconception.  Our buildings may be a convenient meeting place but they are not the church.  The church is God’s people and God himself dwells within us.  Each of us, united with Christ, are the temple of God.
Reflect on the wonder of the fact that God has chosen to dwell (live) in you.