Thursday, February 1, 2018

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

 Good News to All
Ephesians 1:3-14
The letter to the Ephesians is one of the four prison epistles written by Apostle Paul during his house arrest in Rome around early AD60 (Acts 28:16-31). Like his other three prison epistles - Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon, the letter to Ephesians also begins with a salutation - ‘Grace and peace’ and also concludes his prison epistles with ‘Grace.’ 
 Paul had the freedom to boldly preach and write about the Kingdom of God even under home arrest. This epistle gives us incredible strength because it was the Good News letter to the 1st Century New Testament Christians (Saints or set apart believers in Christ Jesus at Ephesus). A letter which meant far beyond not only to the Saints in Ephesus, but it also gives us a glimpse of the eternal plan of God.
 Paul wrote to the Ephesians under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and begins by praising God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ because Great is our Lord and He is most worthy to be praised (Psalms 48:1).  Here, we see a God who is at work before the foundation of the world. These verses tell us what God has done for us and we look up to God in these verses. The theme of this Chapter is in verse 3 - "A God who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ." It is a statement which tells about the Christian riches in Christ and not material riches but Spiritual wealth in Christ. God is the initiator of these blessings, the Son implements it by coming down onto the earth to save us from our sins and the Spirit empowers his eternal plan.
 Paul talks about the value of Christian life if we live in the riches of God's grace. We have to understand our position in Christ. Paul mentions the word "in Christ" more than five times in just 12 verses. His eternal plan or His master plan for every single person before the world began. He chose us before the creation of the world. It is an open arm gesture by our Lord from heaven for those who are in Christ. God has chosen us and we are valued because we are in Christ. The goal for choosing us in Him is to be holy and blameless in his sight. John 15:16 states "You did not chose me, but I chose you." After choosing, He has predestined us for adoption. In love He has adopted us and He said "You are Mine" or "You will be Mine."
We are His children by adoption. It is His Sovereign choice to adopt us. He has redeemed us or purchased by paying a ransom and set us free.  1Peter 1:18 states, "For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to your from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect." We were slaved to sin but He has forgiven our sins through the shedding of His blood. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions. After redeeming us, He has lavished us with His grace and has shown the truth once hidden and made known the mystery of his will. We are one in Christ which is a great eternal program of our God and has given us everlasting inheritance which no one can take it from us. And finally He has permanently and eternally sealed us with the gift of Holy Spirit forever in Christ. Amen.
 PRAYER
O Lord, Jesus, help us to be like you and live like you did and do all things with your hand guiding us every step of the way.  In Jesus name, we pray, Amen!

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
 As followers of Jesus Christ, we proclaim the gospel—we announce the good news of what Christ has done for all humanity. But the gospel is not just words to pronounce—it also involves practical application in our lives.
Angie Mathews, St. Johns Mar Thoma Church.
Christian Education Forum, Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma Church