Monthly Archives: January, 2016

Ephesians Study: Anger Management

[Ephesians 4:17-32]

25) Don’t lie

26) Don’t act in anger – James 1:20 – Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. [NLT] Anger motivated by pride. Anger that lingers.

27) Give no opportunity to devil

28) If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. [NLT]

29) Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift. [MSG]

30) Don’t grieve God. Don’t break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for Himself. Don’t take such a gift for granted. [MSG]

31)

  • Bitterness, harshness, embittered resentful spirit
  • Wrath, passion, rage, bad temper
  • Anger, resentment, animosity
  • Quarreling, brawling, clamor, contention, shout
  • Slander, evil-speaking, abusive or blasphemous language
  • Malice, spite, ill will, evil behavior, wickedness, vicious disposition

Proverbs 29:11 – A fool always loses his temper, But a wise man holds it back. [NASB]

Proverbs 29:22 – An angry person stirs up conflict, and a hot-tempered person commits many sins. [NIV]

Proverbs 30:33 – For the churning of milk produces butter, And pressing the nose brings forth blood; So the churning of anger produces strife. [NASB]

1 Timothy 2:8 – Therefore, I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or argument. [HCSB]

Holy Spirit – common to each believer – Spirit of God ties each of us together

Acting in a negative matter breaks the binding of the Body. It is the opposite of unity. Anger can divide a church (2 Corinthians 12:20)

Never let anything bring division to His Body. Speak life. Look out for the best interests of others…

Bible Study Questions:

Ephesians 4 focuses on the unity of the body of Christ, the Church, and living as children of Light. What are some of the items Paul tells us to refrain from to promote unity and righteous living?

Ephesians 4:27 says not to give the devil an “opportunity” or “foothold” or “place.” What does this mean? Why is this so important?

The passage says, “Be angry” but in some verses we read that a fool loses his temper, commits many sins, and stirs up conflict. Where do we draw the line? How can anger be okay?

What Fruit of the Spirt do you think is important to live out these words Paul has written in this passage? (read Galatians 5:22-26)

Why does Paul spend so much time talking about unity?

What have you seen be most divisive in the Body?

What can you do to promote unity?

This is one part of a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on Ephesians. The 12 weeks include:

1- Sons and Daughters

2- Immeasurable Greatness

3- God’s Workmanship

4- Our Cornerstone

5- Least of the Saints

6- Love of Christ

7- Abundantly More

8- Unity of the Body

9- Anger Management

10- Exposed by the Light

11- Submission

12- Prepared for Battle

 

 

 

Ephesians Study: Unity of the Body

[Ephesians 4:1-16]

“With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (v. 2-3 ESV)

 

  1. 2 With ALL

humility, lowliness of mind, modesty

gentleness, mildness, gentle strength (power with reserve & strength)

patience, forbearance, longsuffering, steadfastness, staying power

bearing with one another in love, enduring with, suffer, admit, persist

 

  1. 3 Eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace

ONE BODY – all part of one body

ONE SPIRIT – united by one Spirit – the Spirit of God – the Holy Spirit

ONE LORD – one Lord of all

ONE FAITH – one faith in Jesus Christ

ONE BAPTISM – one baptism in Christ

ONE GOD & FATHER OF ALL – one God, one Father of all

 

“To a true child of God, the invisible bond that unites all believers to Christ is far more tender, and lasting, and precious; and, as we come to recognize and realize that we are all dwelling in one sphere of life in Him, we learn to look on every believer as our brother, in a sense that is infinitely higher than all human relationships. This is the one and only way to bring disciples permanently together. All other plans for promoting the unity of the Church have failed.”

– A.T. Pierson

 Bible Study Questions:

  1. Verse 7 mentions “grace given to each of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.” What does this mean?
  2. Verse 11 mentions a list of different titles.
  3. What type of people were mentioned?
  4.   What does Paul say these different people are responsible for?
  5.  Verse 14 mentions what can happen to us.
  6. What can happen to us if we stay infants? What does this mean?
  7.  How does this happen? (v. 14)
  8.  How can we prevent this? (see verses 15-16)
  9.   What happens when we each are united working together? (see verses 15-16)

This is one part of a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on Ephesians. The 12 weeks include:

1- Sons and Daughters

2- Immeasurable Greatness

3- God’s Workmanship

4- Our Cornerstone

5- Least of the Saints

6- Love of Christ

7- Abundantly More

8- Unity of the Body

9- Anger Management

10- Exposed by the Light

11- Submission

12- Prepared for Battle

Overwhelming Joy

JOY is all about JESUS and the gift of salvation He offers. Because of JESUS, we wanderers can come back home to our Heavenly Father. This relationship was always God’s plan for us. It is only possible through CHRIST JESUS. Only through faith in JESUS are we children of God. Salvation is a gift from God. JESUS, our greatest gift – this is the cause of our “Overwhelming Joy.”

When you live with the Overwhelming JOY of JESUS, this JOY will become Overflowing JOY.

Luke 2:10-11 – But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. [NIV]

What JOY isn’t:

  • Positive thinking
  • Happiness because things are going your way
  • A glass half-full attitude

NO ONE WILL ROB YOU OF YOUR JOY – John 16:22 says “So you also have sorrow now. But I will see you again. Your hearts will rejoice, and no one will rob you of your joy.” No one can rob you of your JOY because it is founded in JESUS, in your salvation.

What is JOY?

1 Peter 1:8 – “You love (Jesus) even though you have never seen Him. Though you do not see Him now, you trust Him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy.” [NLT]

  • Glorious joy – ascribing weight by recognizing real substance/value – personally acknowledge God in His true character – JOY [POINTS TO GOD]
  • Inexpressible joy – unable to fully describe, impossible to adequately convey with words, unspeakable – JOY [WORDS CANNOT DESCRIBE]

Definition of JOY:

“Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in every situation.” – Kay Warren

The JOY OF JESUS

The JOY of JESUS was His absolute surrender and sacrifice of self to His Father. He had JOY in doing what His father sent Him to accomplish. Hebrews 12:2b says, “Because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now He is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.”

Why did this all happen….

  • God loves youJohn 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” JESUS WAS BORN TO COMPLETE A MISSION – A SINLESS LIFE, A SACRIFICE, SALVATION FROM THE WAGES OF SIN.
  • God is for you – Romans 8:31b “If God is for us, who can be against us;” John 3:17 “God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him” (NLT). JESUS CAME TO SAVE YOU
  • God is with you – Joshua 1:9 “wherever you go;” Deuteronomy 31:6 “He will not leave you or forsake you;” Isaiah “(He) is with you;” Matthew 28:20b “I am with you always, to the end of the age;” Immanuel means “God with us” – prophesied in Isaiah 7:14, mentioned in Matthew 1:23. THE HOLY SPIRIT WAS SENT TO US.

IT’S ALL ABOUT JESUS AND RELATIONSHIP

 What Jesus say about JOY:

  • All of heaven celebrates those who repent. Luke 15:7 – Parable of Lost Sheep – “Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” [JOY OVER REPENTANCE]
  • Jesus celebrates faithfulness with you. Matthew 25:21 – “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’” [JOY OVER FAITHFULNESS]

REPENTANCE IS THE FIRST STEP

FAITHFULNESS IS ALL OF THE STEPS AFTER

JOY is grounded upon God Himself:

  • Joy is glorious gladness & deep delight in the person of Jesus
  • Joy is greater and stronger than any trouble in life
  • Jesus is the source of all JOY (Psalm 43:4)
  • In His Presence is fullness of JOY (Psalm 16:11)
  • His Word is a JOY & delight of heart (Jeremiah 15:1-6)
  • Faith in Him causes us to brim with JOY (Psalm 33:20-22)

JOY is Good News – Entire Gospel is full of JOY at every turn:

  • Birth of Jesus (Luke 2:10) – Good news of GREAT JOY that will be for ALL the people.
  • Triumphal Entry (Mark 11:9, Luke 19:37) – Whole multitude of disciples began to PRAISE GOD.
  • After the Resurrection (Matthew 28:7-8) – So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled WITH JOY, and ran to tell his disciples.
  • The Promise Yet to Come (Isaiah 51:11) – Those who have been ransomed by the LORD will return. They will enter Jerusalem singing, crowned with everlasting joy. Sorrow and mourning will disappear, and they will be filled with joy and gladness.

How does the JOY fade?

  • Sin – going against God – Pastor Miles spoke the first week about Repentance
  • Past – focusing on past mistakes – I spoke about the past – about how we should only look back when we are remembering what God has done.
  • Fear & Doubt – not believing/trusting God, doubting God – Pastor Ryan spoke about trusting God
  • Selfishness – pride tries to control rather than rest in Him. Pastor Matt spoke about our need to surrender control and admit we need Jesus.
  • Lack of prayer – JOY is fruit of the believer. (Galatians 5:22). Every believer is to share in the JOY of CHRIST by walking with Him daily. Prayer & Bible reading. JESUS said in John 15 that it is MY JOY IN YOU – JESUS’ JOY in you – if you abide in HIM. You cannot produce this JOY alone. It needs to be cultivated. It’s linked to your relationship with JESUS.

Great Example of JOY in the Bible

Churches of Macedonia – 2 Corinthians 8:2 – “In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.”

This doesn’t make sense if you define JOY using the world’s definition. But it certainly makes sense when you have encountered JESUS and you walk with Him.

If you haven’t taken that first step to JESUS, do it now! Enter into His JOY!

If you already have taken that first step, where are you at with the steps that follow? If you are walking with JESUS, where is your joy?

2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” He did this so we could do life with JESUS, so that we could be in the presence of God. JOY is wrapped up in His presence.

Romans 14:17 – the Kingdom of God is RIGHTEOUSNESS, PEACE, & JOY in the Holy Spirit. The Kingdom of God is about righteousness, peace & joy—and it’s all from the Spirit of God. No one can take the Spirit of God from you. No one can take the joy & peace & righteousness.

Psalm 16:11 – “You will show me the way of life, granting me the JOY of Your presence and the pleasures of living with You forever.”

May this be your prayer.

Sanctity of Life

The Sanctity of Life

“I call upon the citizens of this blessed land to gather on that day in homes and places of worship to give thanks for the gift of life, and to reaffirm our commitment to the dignity of every human being and the sanctity of each human life.” – excerpt from the Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, 1984 Ronald Reagan

Life is HOLY

“When I look at Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You care for him?” (Psalm 8:3-4 ESV)

Why is human life holy?

WE ARE MADE IN GOD’S IMAGE (Genesis 1:26-2:25)

If we are made in the image of a HOLY GOD, then we too should be holy.

We are image bearers of God – created in the image, shadow, likeness of God.

We are imprinted with godlike characteristics.

“To be fully human is to fully reflect God’s creative, spiritual, intelligent, communicative, relational, moral and purposeful capacities.” (Relevant Magazine)

WE ARE SET APART – that means we are holy

We are set apart above all creation (Genesis 1:26-28)

We are handmade

Only part of Creation made with God’s hands. Remember, He took the dirt and formed Adam. He took Adam’s bone and made Eve. He gave us breath (the breath of God). Other parts of Creation were spoken into existence but humans He handmade.

We are set apart as God’s chosen people

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. (1 Peter 2:9)

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? (1 Corinthians 3:16)

We are set apart for fellowship with God

For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” (2 Corinthians 6:16b)

We are set apart and crowned by God with glory and majesty

What is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. (Psalm 8:4-5).

GOD VALUES ALL LIFE

You are valuable. “Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?” (Matthew 6:26)

He values new life – He creates new life. He knit you together (Psalm 139). It’s all a part of God’s great plan.

He values young ones – He blesses them and says to let the little children come when the disciples rebuked them. (Matthew 19:13-15)

He values teens & young adults – Paul writes that youth should not be looked down on for being young. Instead, be an example to believers in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity (1 Timothy 4:12)

He values the mature adults – You shall stand up before the gray head & honor the face of an old man, & you shall fear your God: I am the LORD. (Leviticus 19:32)

Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity. (1 Timothy 5:1-2)

He values the poor, the widows, the strangers – For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. (Deuteronomy 10:17-18)

If Life is Holy, how is Life Not Worth Living?

The world is filled with

  • Murder
  • Abortion
  • Suicide

This is unnatural death. God’s ways are life, not death.

  • Murder
    • Cain murders Abel (Genesis 4:9-15)
    • Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:13)
    • Eye for eye (Leviticus 24:21)
    • Cities of Refuge (Numbers 35)
  • Suicide
    • Abimelech (Judges 9:52-54)
    • Samson  (Judges 16:29-30)
    • King Saul  (1 Samuel 31:4-6)
    • Ahithophel (2 Samuel 17:1-29)
    • King Zimri  (1 King 16:15-20)

What does God say about death?

See now that I myself am he! There is no god besides me. I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand. (Deuteronomy 32:39)

LIFE AND DEATH IS IN HIS HANDS

The world is filled with abuse of life

  • Physical
  • Emotional
  • Economic
  • Mental
  • Sexual

Abuse steals peace. Abuse kills joy. Abuse destroys hope.

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)

Equip others. Empower others. Encourage others. Embrace others.

Speak life. Stand up for and speak for those who cannot stand up or speak for themselves.

The world is filled those who misunderstand the purpose of life

            What is the purpose of life? To glorify God.

Bring all who claim me as their God, for I have made them for my glory. It was I who created them. (Isaiah 43:7)

            Our greatest desire is to know God, to have a relationship with God.

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Psalm 16:11)

The Most Important Life – Eternal Life

“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.” (John 3:36)

God values life so much that He sent His one and only Son to die on the Cross so we could live forever with Him.

John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

The worth of a human soul can be estimated only by the light reflected from the cross of Calvary. … It was the joy set before Christ in accomplishing so great salvation, that led him to submit to shame, agony, and death. How do all the treasures and the glories of earth sink into insignificance when compared with the value of a human soul! – Ellen White

  •  Value Life – everyone is valuable to God’s Kingdom
  • Celebrate Life – praise the Lord for your life and for the lives of others
  • Embrace Life – seek out what God has for your life
  • Speak Life – speak life to others
  • Share Life – share the Good News of Eternal Life

May your life bring glory to God

Also see Sanctity of Life message focused on Abortion

 

Ephphatha

In Mark 7, we read the story of Jesus healing the deaf and mute man. In verse 33, it says Jesus took the man aside and put His fingers into the man’s ears. Then He spit and touched the man’s tongue. After this, Jesus looked up to heaven and He says, “Ephphatha” which means open. But before the word was spoken, after the touching of the tongue, Jesus looked up to heaven and sighed.

Often we find ourselves overwhelmed, tired, in need of a break, etc. and we let out a sigh. Sometimes we remember something difficult or we find ourselves in a tough situation and we sigh. Sometimes we mess up and let out a sigh. Often before I head up front to preach, I sigh. I sigh and pray for my words to be His Word. I sigh and ask that all of the world, all of the day’s baggage, all of the “everything that is not of God” is booted far away.

Jesus sighed. We read of Him sighing in Mark 8:12, a deep groan because the Pharisees wanted a sign. The word used is “anastenaxas.” In Mark 7, the word used is different. The word is “stenazó” and it is a sigh expressing grief, anger, or desire. It can be intensely pleasant or anguishing. As we look at the steps of this healing, we can consider the ears and eyes—both created by God Himself. Jesus, the Son of God, stood before this sinner in need of restoration, sighed at the state of the man, looked up to heaven, the source of every good thing, where He rules and reigns, and said, “Be open.” Imagine Jesus face to face with you right now, reaching out, sighing and saying, “Be healed my child.” There is no need for brokenness, no need for separation. Allow Him to heal you. Allow Him to open your ears. Allow Him to loosen your tongue.

“And looking up to heaven, He sighed and said to Him, ‘Ephphatha,’ that is, ‘Be opened.’” – Mark 7:34

Receive

In John, we read that the “children of God” became so because they “did receive him,” they “believed in His name.” So often we talk about when we “received” Jesus or “believed in Jesus.” To outsiders it may sound confusing. What does it mean to “receive Jesus”? This is something one may consider.

I remember when I was in college, we had to memorize the Prologue. It was a task I accepted but considered a bit strange because memorization tests are not always very fruitful with time. How many things have you memorized for a test and yet you can still remember today? But I understand the importance of this passage in John, which wraps everything up as a beautiful gift to open for all who read.

The gift we receive is Jesus Christ. The introduction speaks of a forerunner coming to prepare the way for the One Who, since the very beginning, was to come and redeem the world from sin that God knew would separate God from man. Many are overwhelmed by the words that speak of deity, life, light, flesh, law, truth, and grace. First, open the gift of Jesus Christ. Receive Him. Believe in Him. These two things are linked together. You cannot believe without receiving. You cannot receive something unless it was freely given. Jesus Christ laid down His life for you; He has been reaching out to you so you can come to know Him. If you receive, you believe. This is a belief of trust. If you believe, if you receive—you have the right to become a child of God.

“But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.” – John 1:12

Seasons

Bible dog.jpgFor the past two weeks, life was different. The schedule was different. Things were rearranged. Time spent was different. The people I spent the most time with were new in my life. Everything was different. As quickly as it began, it was finished. For two weeks, the church hosted a homeless shelter. There is no going back to the way things once were. We are different. The church is different. I sit here tonight considering what I’m not going to be doing tonight. Wondering where the list of people will be, how their day went, remembering silly moments filled with Spiderman and giggles, thinking back on the first day and all that has happened since.

As we left last night, some tears were shed. The season was over. It’s often difficult when a season ends. What do you do? Sometimes you wanted to do more. Sometimes you had hoped you could make more of a dent, more of an impact. Perhaps you wish you could be able to help more, make it last more, do something different. But the season ends.

Life is full of seasons. I just finished reading Ecclesiastes 3—“to every thing there is a season.” When a season ends, God is simply closing one door because it is time to go through another. It doesn’t mean the opportunity won’t come back around; it means your work is done at this point. There is something new God has for you to accomplish. When the season ends, praise Him for what He has done. He is an awesome God! Thank the Lord! Praise His great name! Pray. Seek Him. Read His Word. Seek out what He wants for you to do next. Wait in the silence. Listen for His voice. Continue onward into the next season. You are different now. You likely changed. You’ve grown. You are ready for the next step. May He prepare the way!

Ephesians Study: Abundantly More

[Ephesians 3:20-21]

“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” [ESV]

God is alive. God is active. God is at work.

This is a Doxology written by Paul. A doxology is defined as “an expression of praise to God, especially a short hymn sung as part of a Christian worship service.” It often appears at the end of psalms and hymns.

To Him be glory

  • All members of one body, like mirrors, reflecting the glory of God.
  • We allow for an area for God to move—where the work of Christ Jesus can take place for all to see

To do far more abundantly

  • Abundantly – super abundance in quality and quantity (doesn’t just mean more)
  • In the church God can do more than we ask for or imagine.

Verse 19 – Love of Christ for the church goes beyond what we can know

Verse 20 – Power of God over the church goes beyond what you can think

God says, “I can do more.”

1 Kings 3 – Solomon’s request

  1. 9 – “Give me an understanding heart so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong. For who by himself is able to govern this great people of yours?” [NLT]
  2. 13 – “And I will also give you what you did not ask for–riches and fame! No other king in all the world will be compared to you for the rest of your life!” [NLT]

Because we struggle to imagine & believe God can do great things through us, we don’t ask Him to do them.

Our prayers are so little, so limited. How do we compliment God when we ask for small things? No prayer is too big for our God.

 

  • Remember who you are in Christ (Ephesians 1:1-14 – Sons and Daughters)
  • Ask for help for your unbelief (Mark 9:14-29 – Jesus heals boy with unclean spirit)
  • Ask for more & expect more

Bible Study Questions:

  1. The main passage we are studying focuses on the glory of God. How is God’s glory displayed in the Church?
  2.  How does God get glory when there is harmony and unity in the church? How can we strive to be more united as a church? What can be a stumbling block to this harmony and unity in the church?
  3. How does God get glory when we as a church are obedient to His leading? What can we do to be more obedient? What can be a stumbling block to this obedience as a church?
  4. How can you be a disciple who lives for the abundantly more for the church?
  5.  How can we be a church who lives for the abundantly more for the church?

 

This is one part of a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on Ephesians. The 12 weeks include:

1- Sons and Daughters

2- Immeasurable Greatness

3- God’s Workmanship

4- Our Cornerstone

5- Least of the Saints

6- Love of Christ

7- Abundantly More

8- Unity of the Body

9- Anger Management

10- Exposed by the Light

11- Submission

12- Prepared for Battle

Ephesians Study: Love of Christ

 

[Ephesians 3:14-19]

“And I ask Him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God” 17-19 [MSG]

 

17 –          Rooted deep in love… founded securely on love

18-19 –    Strength to comprehend…

BREADTH – extends to all

John 3:16 – For God so LOVED THE WORLD

LENGTH – everlasting duration

Romans 8:37-39 – Nothing can separate you from LOVE of GOD

DEPTH – Christ’s humility saves those from pit of sin

Ephesians 2:4-5 – When dead in trespasses made alive

Romans 5:8 – While still sinners, Christ died for us

HEIGHT – raises to glory

Ephesians 2:6 – Raised & seated with God because united with Jesus

2 Corinthians 4:14 – Raises us with Jesus and brings us into His presence

Know the Love of Christ that…

Surpasses Knowledge

Fills you with all the fullness of God

 

“We should be astonished at the goodness of God, stunned that He should bother to call us by name, our mouths wide open at His love, bewildered that at this very moment we are standing on holy ground.” – Brennan Manning

Bible Study Questions:

  1. We usually gauge the depth of someone’s love for us by the cost of that love. Many times we look at the sacrifices, the money, the time we give as a way to measure the love. How can we measure Christ’s love by what it cost Him?

 

  1. We can gauge the depth of someone’s love for us by how much we actually deserve the love. If we are not so nice to someone and they love us compared to someone who loves us when we treat them well, there is a difference. It’s more difficult to love some people. How can we measure Christ’s love by how much we deserve it?

 

  1. We can gauge the depth of someone’s love for us by the greatness of the benefits we receive from being loved. What are the benefits we receive from Christ’s love?

 

  1. We can gauge the depth of someone’s love by the freedom with which they love us, meaning that the person isn’t doing something because they are made to do so, but because they choose, they so desire. How free is the love of Christ?

 

  1. What gets in the way from you accepting the love of Christ? What gets in the way from you showing the love of Christ to the body of Christ (the Church)?

 

This is one part of a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on Ephesians. The 12 weeks include:

1- Sons and Daughters

2- Immeasurable Greatness

3- God’s Workmanship

4- Our Cornerstone

5- Least of the Saints

6- Love of Christ

7- Abundantly More

8- Unity of the Body

9- Anger Management

10- Exposed by the Light

11- Submission

12- Prepared for Battle

Quit Striving

Often we rush into things without giving much thought. With our fast paced world, rushing is a way of life. At times, we rush without thinking. The Bible tells us to be patient, to take careful steps, to seek out, to test, to rest in Him. Our nature causes us to jump to conclusions, to act in emotion, to not consider but to just move and do what we think is best.

Last night, I saw an empty soda bottle in my son’s room. My son has a horrible habit of leaving empty bottles laying around, a habit that drives his OCD mother crazy. I knew that my daughter needed that type of bottle for her science project so rather than taking the chaos left by my son to the recycling bin, I placed this particular plastic bottle on her desk. A few hours later, she noticed the bottle on her desk. She grabbed it and came rushing downstairs toward my son with bottle in hand. The moment I set eyes on her, I knew she was on a mission—a mission to scold her disorganized brother. I tried to step between her and let her know what happened. Wait! Don’t say anything! Hold on. I need to tell you something. It was certainly a wild moment, but not the first one.

My favorite time of the day is the morning. I love the quiet. So peaceful. So calm. What a wonderful time to consider, to meditate, to examine. The Psalmist wrote, “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth” (Psalm 46:10). This verse says, quit striving, stop fighting. Know that God is God. He will be honored by all. There is no need to be rushing around into things, no need to jump around like you have ants in your pants. No need to live so fast paced you miss true life. My friends, God is speaking to you with His still small voice. Stop. Listen. Rest. Take in a deep breath. Allow His words to linger. Examine His Word. Cling to it. Embrace Him. Your only Peace. Your only Joy. Jesus.