01.13.2014 Our Scripture for today is Ephesians 1: 1-3
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 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…
The Book of Ephesians gives us a “template” for the ideal Christian church; that in and of itself is reason enough to seriously study it, but when we dig into history a bit and discover who wrote this letter to the church in Ephesus things begin to look very, very different. We realize for this letter to have even been written is an act of God!
Paul, the writer of Ephesians, was not always so kind-hearted towards the followers of Jesus. The name he was given by his parents was Saul; he grew up to be a proud Jewish man, and actively opposed the early Christian church. In Galatians 1 and Acts 8, he admits openly that he was out to destroy the church. Acts 8 actually begins with, “And Saul approved of their killing him [Stephen].” Saul was not a very nice guy where Christ-followers were concerned. But God had a plan to turn the life that Saul had always known upside down!
Jesus got Saul’s attention in a startling encounter as Saul was headed to Damascus to round up some Christ followers (see Acts 9 for the whole incredible story). Saul was totally transformed by God into who we know today as one of the most faithful preachers of the salvation of Jesus Christ in the New Testament. No one but God could bring about a change so profound!
So when we read Paul’s self-description, “…an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God…” we can be truly in awe of the God Who has the power, and desire, to change us! He desires to give us a new identity in Him and Paul’s story is one we can look to for those times we may feel unworthy of God’s attention. God chose to the most unlikely man, got his attention & introduced Himself, then proceeded to turn Paul’s life upside right. Paul went on to share with Christians, both then and now, the Love of Jesus Christ and what it looks like to follow Him with complete abandon. Miraculous, no?
Father, Thank You for loving us and going all out to get our attention. Please forgive us when we withhold our attention and look for identity elsewhere. You are worthy of ALL praise! May we be molded by You into champions for Jesus! In His Name, amen!