November 26th, 2017
The theme of grace permeates Paul’s writings. Paul experienced God’s empowering grace for ministry. Paul did not feel worthy of the great honor bestowed upon him. Preaching the Gospel was a wonderful gift, a grace in that it was unmerited favor from God. Paul felt overwhelmed by the pouring out of God’s grace on one who violently persecuted the Church of the Lord. Paul said grace was given to him; he did not and could not obtain it on his own.
One who seeks to tell the story of Jesus is one will be one who never forgets his lost condition outside of Christ. We will live as Paul did with a profound sense of humble gratitude to God. Paul sought to draw attention to the power of God and God’s willingness to use someone like him to preach the gospel to others. It was to him an unfathomable gift.
We realize that we need God’s grace to empower us. Paul ties grace and power together in verse 7. The might power of God (Eph. 1;19-20) provides sufficient strength for weak, fragile, ordinary people as they make the glories of Christ known.
-Larry Miles, August 17, 2015
Camp Cilca, IL
November 24th, 2017
A song that we learn early in life goes like this, “I love to tell the story of unseen things above, of Jesus and His glory, of Jesus and His love.” If we are seeking to be a missionary of Christ wherever he has called us, this is the main theme that we will be sharing with the lost. Telling the old, old story of Jesus and His love will include everything that is needed for one to come to a saving relationship with Jesus.
We have the message of Christ which is the most beautiful message of all. We must, as the early church did, preach the right message. In does not act 4:12 we read these words of the Apostle Peter, “Nor is there salvation in any other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Sharing the saving message of Jesus and obeying it will lead to salvation. Salvation is by the grace of God, but we must appropriate that grace with obedience. When one does that he or she will be baptized in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. It is only after we are baptized that we have the promise of the forgiveness of sins and the reception of the Holy Spirit.
Missionaries of the Risen Lord need to have a firm grasp on the gospel and of the great doctrines of the faith. Our goal is to preach Christ and He crucified. Our goal is to proclaim the centrality of Christ.
We are thankful for those who have preserved and passed on the gospel to future generations (2 Tim. 2:2). We must always be sharing the simple gospel to a lost world and seeking to strengthen the saved. Let’s always strive to “grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus!” (2 Peter 3:18)
-Larry Miles, August 16, 2015
Camp Cilca, IL
November 20th, 2017
As we had in Eph. 2:4, we have the word “but” here in Eph. 2:13. This is a word of contrast. It changes the tone and emphasis of the passage with which we are dealing. He informs the Ephesians and us that we, who have been estranged spiritually from God, are now, through the sacrificial work of Christ on the cross, are now in fellowship with God.
In verses 14-18 Paul emphasizes how Christ is the means by which God was able to bring Jew and Gentile together, making peace. Paul stresses the importance of the work of Christ in salvation. He shifts from “you” to “we” and “our” in this section because both Jew and Gentile alike now have the same hope: Christ’s atoning death. There are at least three things the Savior has done for ‘us” through His reconciling work on the cross.
He has brought us peace. (Eph. 2:14a) Jesus is the ultimate peacemaker. Paul tells us that peace is found in a person, the Lord Jesus. We have this thought described in the Old Testament (Isa. 9:6; Mic. 5:5), affirmed in the Gospels (Luke 1:79; 2:14; 19:42; John 14:27), and explained in the Epistles (Rom. 5:1; Col. 1:20; 3; 15).
He has made us one. (Eph. 2:14b-16) Christ’s death tore down the dividing wall and His blood obliterated the long-standing division between Jew and Gentile. There was literal wall in the temple dividing Jew and Gentile but Paul may also be referring to the fact that at the cross Christ fulfilled all the shadows and types of the ceremonial law system. A person is only accepted by God through the work of Christ. He did this to demonstrate the work of Christ and that He might reconcile us to God. Jesus’ death ended the hostility.
Christ preached peace (Eph. 2:17). Christ proclaims peace through His followers today. The only true peace comes from the Prince of peace. The whole world needs the gospel. Let’s be faithful in sharing it.
Christ has given us access to God (Eph. 2:18). Those who respond in faith obedience to Jesus’ work and message now have access to God. In this passage we see all three parts of the Godhead in view.
This is what prayer is all about. The ongoing benefit of Christ’s reconciliation is that we have access to God. We can come to God in and with boldness. Jew and Gentile alike can approach the Throne of Grace freely.
-Larry Miles, August 12, 2015, Camp Cilca, IL