Tag Archives: Church

Where we have been

Through out the first two chapters of Ephesians, we have been seeing Paul go back and forth between what we are in Christ and what we were before Christ.

1 v. 3-14 reminds us of who we are in Christ

1 v.15-17 Paul hopes for us to understand more deeply who we are in Christ and what his desire for us is.

1 v. 18-23 he shows us this power that will help us understand and know Him better, which is the same power that exalts Christ.

2 v. 1-4 reminds us of who we were before Christ, using phrases and words, such as dead, passions of our flesh and children of wrath.

2 v. 4-10 shows us the work that God did and all things we now take part in because of being in Christ.

2 v. 11-12 calls us to remember who we were before Christ, as we were once in the flesh, separated, alienated, strangers, hopeless and without God.

2 v. 13-22 shows us because of Christ, what we are now. We were once far off and now brought close. We were once hostile and now we have peace. We are now one with Him, with the Spirit of God living in us, joining us to the family of God in both heaven and earth. We are no longer strangers and aliens but fellow citizens.

Ephesians 1-2

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Child of God

In chapter 1 Paul reminds us of our blessings we have in Christ. All the things we have because of Christ: chosen, every spiritual blessing, sonship, redemption, forgiveness, understanding, an inheritance, true hope, sealed by the Holy Spirit, eyes opened, and the truth of God’s power to raised Christ from the dead.

Chapter 2 reminds us of our past: Dead in sin, following the world, following Satan, living by our flesh and passion, children of wrath. But then he is quick to transition back to what God did for us and what He gave us. Explicitly showing us that it is nothing we have done, but because of God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ, we have been saved to fulfill the good works that He has prepared for us to do to bring glory and praise to Him.

Again, he transitions back to what we were before Christ: Living in the flesh and for the flesh, separated, alienated, stranger, hopeless, and without (against) God. But quickly transitioning again to what Christ has done for us: Brought us near by His blood, provided peace, broke down the hostility, made us one with Hum through the cross, and access by Holy Spirit, in us, to the Father.

Paul continues to encourage us as believe the benefits that have been granted to us through Christ. We were once strangers but now we are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the house hold of God, heirs to the inheritance that is imperishable and everlasting! We are now part of a large family, not only in Heaven, but here on earth which has been built on the apostles and prophets of old, with Christ being the cornerstone and groom. This family or bride on earth is called the Church which includes anyone who has been brought close and has peace with God through Jesus Christ. This family is not only local, but internationally. Many times in my life I have interacted with people I just met who are part of this family and there is a very quick connection through the Spirit of God that is living in each one of us.

The Holy Spirit is actively working throughout the Church here on earth. We are all being built together to be a dwelling place for God. We are all being worked on as individuals, as we have the Spirit living in us and transforming us to be more like Him. Each day we struggle against the things of this world, yet we have been brought close to God through the death of Jesus Christ. The Spirit is actively working through us to transform us.

How devastating when local churches cannot get along that preach the same gospel? Do we really understand the power of a united local church or united local churches? Are we allowing the Holy Spirit to work in our lives by fulfilling the good works in which God has prepared for us?

Ephesians 2:19-22

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Peace Established. Hostility Destroyed.

We need to remember previous verses:

1 v.3-6 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.

1 v.13-14 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

2 v.1-12 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works,which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. 11 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ,alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

When reading through Ephesians there are some important words that come up. Specifically in this case, the word “but”. This is now the second time it has come up and if we look back in vs.4 we will see how important it is. Imagine, if that “but” was not there. And that was it. What if there was no “But God” in Ephesians?

We have remember who we once were before Christ. We should never forget but now that we are in Christ, we have been brought near to Him. We were once separated, strangers, and alienated from the one who cares for us and is in control of all things. But for those who have received Christ, we have been brought close to him. Important thing to see is that the reason we have been brought near is not because of anything we have done or will do. It is not because of a priest, a prayer, communion, nothing. It was only because of Christ and His blood that was poured out on the cross. That’s it! Only the blood of Jesus can bring us close.

More specifically it says that Christ was our peace and is our peace. Those who are far from God are not at peace with God and will truly never have peace unless they are brought close to Him through the blood of Jesus Christ. Christ became man so that He would proved and be the peace between God and man. This also made those of us who are close to God, through the blood of Christ, one with God and broke down any barriers that were dividing us from God and creating hostility. So, when Christ provided peace between man and God, He also provided a way to become one with Him. When God looks at those who have come close, He sees the blood of His Son, which kills any hostility and brings true peace.

This peace that Jesus brought was not just for a certain people group, or a certain class of people. This peace is meant for all who are close and all who are far. People that could be close could be those who are under the preaching of the Word every week and active in their church but yet have never been brought close to God, through the blood of Jesus Christ. Those who are far off could be someone who knows nothing about God and has no interested in knowing about Him. Some could be far off who were once appeared close to God but yet as life moved on and trials came, they are now far from Him. Many of us could easily think of people in both these categories. Those who are close, yet are far off. Those who are far off, yet have know thought or knowledge of Him. And those who were once close, but yet are now very far, proving they were never truly close to begin with.

We have been brought close to God, through His Son, who provided peace and destroyed the hostility between God and man, and He is inviting those who are close and those who are far away to truly come near and receive peace.

My mind wanders and aches for those who I know that are far. Bring them to yourself O God of Peace!

We need to remember 1 v. 13-14 when reading 2 v. 18. Because being drawn close, the peace, being one with Christ, we now have access by the power of the Holy Spirit, through the Son and what He did for us, to worship and praise God for what He has done, for who He is, and for what He is going to do for rest of our human lives and also the rest of eternity!

Ephesians 2:13-18 ESV

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Remember my past…

We need to remember the verses before:

2 v.1-10 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. ButGod, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works,which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

I don’t like dwelling on the past when it comes to my life. Even though there was a lot of great things that happened and majority of my life was good and pleasurable. But for some reason I am easily reminded of the hurt and pain that happened to me and the hurt and pain I caused in others. The moments of deceit and and evil things I did when no was around. Out of all that was “bad”, the worst is the broken relationships with people I knew throughout life. Not all of what went wrong in the different friendships I had was 100% my fault, but for some reason it’s hard not to think like that. The question, what if?, always resonates through my head.

As a follower of Christ, we are called to remember and not forget our past and where we came from. Ultimately, for the purpose of pushing and making us rely more on Christ. This remembering should bring us to the time before Christ or times where we were wandering from Him. Before Christ we were alienated from the promises of God. We were strangers in God’s land. We had no direction, no hope, and even if we thought we did, we did not have God, thus life was artificial and the sustenance of life, left us empty.

I have felt like a stranger before. Mostly in the hockey arena, walking into a dressing room full of guys that I did not know and they did not know me. Even better, was when it was a smaller dressing room and not a lot of space left for me to put my stuff down and change. Everyone forgets how to speak and they all just look at me and I am looking at them. Ultimately, this is reminding me to remember life without Christ. Alienated, a stranger, having no hope, and totally without God while living and satisfying the flesh by the desires of this world.

If we look back over what we have already read, we can see another glimpse of what we were like before Christ. We were alienated, a stranger, had no hope, without God, against God, orphaned, un-forgiven, un-redeemed, Satan’s, headed for destruction, blind, poor, dead and a child of wrath.

O how lost we were before we gained Christ! O how lost we would be if we gained the world and all that is in it! A slave of sin we once were, now a slave of God!

Ephesians 2:11-13

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God the giver…

We need to remember past verses:

1 v. 3-4 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.

v. 7  In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,

v. 11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,

v. 13-14 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

v. 20-21  that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.

2 v.1-3 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

We have to realize how sinful we are as a human. Even though we try to understand, I do not think we can fully understand how sinful we really are, compared to a holy and righteous God. But even then, God stills shows up! He is the one that works in us and for us. Without “But God” where would we be today? Where would the human race be if God did not step in and act for us? What if God gave up on us? What if there was not flood that took place and God just let us go? In light of those questions, it should develop a deeper sense of awe and silence. God stepped in with His mercy and love, even when we wanted nothing to do with Him….What? Even when we were walking in sin and wanted nothing to do with Him, He actively worked His mercy and love, to the point of His only Son, nailed to a cross and killed?

How can our minds make sense of that? How radically different then our human sinful thinking! God actively shows mercy and love to the point of death, even though we do not deserve it, but actually deserve death. Humans may show mercy and love only if the other human deserves it and never to the point of death. Humans are  not even close to giving oneself up for another out of love or mercy. How glorious and praiseworthy is the King of Kings!

Why would God show us love and mercy? So that we could be made alive through His Son, who is the ultimate expression of true mercy and love. So that we could be raised up with Him and seat in heaven for the purpose of being able to show us His “immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness in Christ Jesus.” My mind is melting and the logic does not compute.

How is this all going to happen? By God’s grace through faith, which is also from God. This not anything we do, as it says “it is not my own doing.” It’s a gift, given by God! We did not do anything or give anything to get this! Because of this, we can not brag or boast in what we have done or will do, but we can only brag and boast in who He is and what He is doing in us!

What do we do now? God is still the one giving and has created and setup good works that will come our way, which we can do as a worship and to bring glory to Him, who is the giver of all. In all of this, we bring nothing to the table. We give nothing. We are the receiver of all these unfathomable gifts from God, while not wanting anything to do with Him in the beginning!

O may we be reminded of this every moment! Help us to fully understand how sinful we are so that we can begin to understand who You are, what You are doing and what You will do in our life! Let our life be of obedience, worship and humility to bring glory and honor to You, our God and King!

Ephesians 2:4-10

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Walking anew…

Before getting to far I have to go back and remind myself of vs. 4 “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world” and vs. 7 “In Him we have redemption through His blood.”

Even though He chose me and I have redemption through Him, I was still dead in my sin. I wanted nothing to do with Him. I was drowning and in need of someone to save me but I did not want to be saved, but yet He still saved me by dying for me! He chose me and died for me even while rejecting and spitting in His face! How glorious is our God and King!

He has brought me to himself and saved and changed me into a new creation. I have been changed and will continue to change. I am no longer a slave to sin in which I no longer need to walk in. I once walked in sin and was dead, but now I am alive and no longer have to follow the world, but follow Christ. The world and all that is in it; Satan, passion of the flesh, mind and body. I am no longer like the rest of mankind… I am no longer like the rest of mankind? When I look at my life is that true? The things I say, do and see, are they different? If I am different, I won’t get along with the world because I can’t go a long with what the world wants me to do, say or see… am I different? I know I have been saved and changed, but has that permeated through out my entire life? May I strive to walk anew, not as I once walked.

Ephesians 2:1-3

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Life as a Christian

When it comes to this life on Earth, do people know me for my faith in Jesus Christ and my love toward others? If they do know me for this, what does it look like? Is it a faith in Christ that does not crumble in times of distress, produces love for others, sacrifice instead of selfishness, and holiness over comfort? Or does it something that sits on a shelf every week, says that I am better than you, instead of love, its legalistic and prideful?

This thinking should change how I pray about being a follower of Jesus Christ. I need to always be thankful for Christ saving me, a sinner. Pursuing wisdom and knowing Him and being known by Him through the power of the Spirit of God that lives in me. Keeping in mind that I fail, we all fail, but understand the Hope to which I have been called and the inheritance that awaits! Glorious day! The same power that God worked in Jesus Christ, which raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His Father’s right hand, is the same power that is coming towards me and those who believe in Him for Salvation. And the ultimate result of this Power of God has “put all things under His feet and gave Him as head over all things to the Church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.”

Ephesians 1:15-23

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Life

Life.

When it comes, it comes.

It does not stop for anything.

Sleep, work, play.

It’s always moving in a direction.

Many believe life just happens and then it’s over.

For others, it’s hell.

For some, it’s heaven.

Life.

Its direction is in the hand of the Maker, but how you travel the direction of life is up to you.

It does not wait for anybody and it does not avoid anyone.

Many find life empty and let the direction it is headed take them to destruction.

Some find Life but are distracted by the things that bring a life to destruction.

They live the Life but are sick and tired.

Some find Life and live this Life to abundance.

Abundantly enjoying the Life the Maker has designed for maximum enjoyment and fulfillment.

This life leads to life which does not know destruction.

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BUILD: Men’s Conference (Western Michigan) Feb. 20-21

COLOSSIANS 2:6-7 (ESV)

Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

By God’s grace our mission is to build up Christian men through solid biblical teaching that is rooted in the gospel and applicable for everyday life.

The Build Conference (formerly West Michigan Men’s Conference) began in 2013 from a God given desire to provide a conference specifically intended for the everyday man. Mark Chanski was the 2013 speaker, followed by Greg Gilbert in 2014. This year it is our privilege to welcome Dr. Bruce Ware. Each year God has used the conference to build up men from Michigan and parts of the Midwest. We would love for you to join us this year as we “Behold the Glory of Christ.”

PHONE

(616) 842-8240

ANY QUESTIONS

info@beingbuilt.org

LOCATION

17306 Church Hill Street, Grand Haven, MI 49417

WEBSITE (SIGN UP & Schedule)

http://www.beingbuilt.org

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Why does God perform all His acts of love toward us in a way that reveals He is loving us this way for His own glory?

Why does God perform all His acts of love toward us in a way that reveals He is loving us this way for His own glory? Why does God relentlessly reveal His love to us by telling us in the Bible that He is loving us for His own name’s sake?

It is an urgent question because so many say or feel it isn’t really love for us if God’s aim is to magnify His own glory. Or they feel: You say He is making much of me, but in fact He isn’t making much of me if His design is that He be made much of in making much of me. I tremble just to say those words. It isn’t so. I want to show you—I want to help you see and feel—that we are more loved by God when He loves us this way. He makes much more of us when He makes much of us this way. Brothers, please don’t turn this off. Ask God to help you see what we are about to see in the Bible. That’s what I am doing.

Just a few examples of what I mean by God doing all His acts of love toward us in a way that reveals He is loving us for His own glory.

1. God shows His love for us by predestining us for adoption into his family.

In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace. (Eph. 1:4–6)God loved us in eternity, before we were created, and He planned to make us His children by adoption. And the aim of this love was “to the praise of the glory of his grace.” He loved us in this way that we might praise His grace. A regenerate person loves to praise God’s grace in our adoption. A nominal Christian simply loves the natural benefits of adoption.

2. God shows His love for us by creating us.

Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory. (Isa. 43:6–7) Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory. (Isa. 43:6–7)God loved us in bringing us into being that we might enjoy forever all the good He plans for us. And He did it, He says, for His glory.

3. God shows His love for us by sending us a Savior.

“Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest.” (Luke 2:10–14) We get the Savior; He gets the glory. We get the “great joy”; God gets the praise. That is God’s design in sending His Son.

4. God shows His love for us when Christ died for us.

For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. (2 Cor. 5:14–15) Christ loved us, died for us; and the aim was that we might live for Him. He pursues His glory through our salvation. This is the consummation of a very old divine pattern: Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of your name; deliver us, and atone for our sins, for your name’s sake! (Ps. 79:9)Born-again people pray like this. They see their salvation primarily as a gift of the ability to see and savor and show the glory of God.

5. God shows His love for us in the way Jesus prays for us.

“Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.” (John 17:24) With Him. He prays that we be with Him. And why does that make us happy? Oh He will give us many things. But the bottom of our joy, the decisive foundation of our happiness, will be this: We will see His glory. Our Savior, not our self, will be the bottom of our joy. The point of those five texts is to show that throughout the Bible God performs all His acts of love toward us in a way that reveals He is loving us for His own glory.

From John Piper’s book, “Brothers, we are not Professionals.” B&H Publishing

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