Friday, November 30, 2012

An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday December 2, 2012

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(JESUS redeemed us for HIS glory and purpose)
(Ephesians 1:1-14)

Paul’s letter to the Ephesians was written during his first imprisonment in Rome circa A.D. 60-61. It was one of three doctrinal “jailhouse letters” (the others were Colossians and Philippians) that were believed to be written by Paul while he was awaiting trial there.  He had earlier spent three years in Ephesus (probably A.D. 54-57) and had had a great impact on that city, and other communities throughout the Roman province of Asia. Thousands of people had converted to Christianity during Paul’s stay there, and thousands of dollars worth of books and paraphernalia on magic, were publicly burned.
At that time, Ephesus was the queen city of Asia. Unfortunately, it was also Asia’s center of the popular cult of Artemis. Artemis was the most popular of the many idol gods that found their home in Ephesus. In fact, the worship temple of Artemis was one of the great wonders of the world in the first century, and thousands of visitors traveled to Ephesus each year to get a glimpse of this imposing, and structurally beautiful edifice.
It was against this backdrop of religion and superstition that Paul now writes of the new Church that he had started there in Ephesus. Just as all Christian Churches should be, it was a church whose architect was GOD, whose builder was CHRIST JESUS, and whose temple was occupied daily by the divine presence of the HOLY SPIRIT.
The Christian Church is not one that is born of bricks and mortar, but rather, they are born of the living flesh of our LORD and SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST. Instead of being stocked with silver and gold, they are stocked with spiritual blessings from on High, and, instead of being overseen by an earthly priest; they are overseen and headed, by JESUS. They do not lie at the mercy of hostile spiritual forces, but rather, they are ultimately guarded and protected by a supreme and powerful GOD.
In Ephesians 1, verses 3-14, the Apostle Paul lays out three provisions of spiritual blessings by the GOD-head, (in one long sentence in the original Greek writing) that are bestowed upon those who belong to CHRIST JESUS. Here we see:

·         The selection of the FATHER (Vs. 3-6)
·         The sacrifice of the SON (Vs. 7-12)
·         The seal of the HOLY SPIRIT (V. 12-14)

These opening verses of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians gives us visions of a child who is surrounded by gifts at Christmas time. One can easily feel how GOD wishes to give us all the needed blessings that are promised to those who belong to HIS “adopted family” (the Gentiles). When we belong to the family of GOD, JESUS opens up the doors to HIS FATHER’s wealth and security, and helps us to fully understand HIS “house rules”, or, HIS will, and HIS ways.
Before GOD ever created the world, HE already had in place, special plans for those HE would later call to partake in HIS great and wonderful work. The rewards we receive at the end of our “Christian walk” are greatly increased in accordance to how close we walked in obedience to the MASTER. HIS secret plan (the church) has now been revealed to us, and it centers on CHRIST JESUS, HIS only begotten SON. And at the right time, HE will bring everything together under the authority of HIS SON, indeed, everything in Heaven, and, on earth.
It is because of CHRIST JESUS, that we have received an inheritance from GOD, and GOD chose us, from the beginning. All things happen now, just as GOD planned them long ago, and when we believe in CHRIST, GOD identifies us as HIS OWN. And HE lends us HIS HOLY SPIRIT to guide us and hold us by the hand, so that when we stumble, we will not fall. The HOLY SPIRIT is GOD’s guarantee that HE will grant us everything that HE has promised, and, that HE has purchased us at a high price to be in HIS family. This is just one more reason for us to praise GOD at all times, not just with our lips, but indeed, most importantly, through our daily behavior.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website
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