This is a special edition of our “Can’t Quarantine the Gospel” series. This particular Devotional is based on an amazing Midweek message done by Jeff Schachinger. This is Day 10 of that series. Any of the Devotionals can be read as a stand alone quiet time. You can see more devotionals here
You can check out the next Midweek on April 6th on Facebook live
Or catch it on our next podcast: “Can’t Quarantine the Gospel” Series
Ephesians Series: Ephesians 1 by Jeff Schachinger
“You are Chosen”
Paul wrote this letter after being arrested and was currently in Roman custody. It was a challenging time for him. The church in Ephesus was also going through a time of challenges with disunity between Jewish and Gentile Believers. Paul was writing to them to encourage their unity by helping them to understand the concept that they are all chosen not based on their effort, race, talent, but based on God’s love and Grace.
We all have one God. One Church. One mission so we should be able to work through anything we have going on. The book of Ephesians can be summed up Ephesians 4:13-15 (unity).
Paul in Ephesians 1 begins to help them understand the keys to being unified.
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
To God’s holy people in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus:
2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
“The faithful in Christ Jesus”
Paul refers to them as faithful. They were true to God, true to Christ, true to their discipleship. Being faithful is about being able to remain confident even under trials. It’s being able to stay strong through hardship.
Q: How is your trust in God right now?
Q: Is there anything rattling your trust in God right now?
The church in Ephesus had their trials and would continue to have trials. Paul warns them of this in Acts 20:28-31.
Pauls way of helping this church remain steadfast and unified during this time was to help them understand the fact that they are chosen!
Take your time as you read through this passage:
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.
Paul goes into this idea of them being blessed by God:
They are on the receiving end of God’s grace, they are chosen. He is letting them know that God has personally touched them in some way! God blesses us.
Being part of the Church is a blessing.
How did this church of Jews and Gentiles come together? The answer is through the understanding that they were both “chosen” by Gods love and grace. First Jews (first 10 years of the church) then Gentiles (Acts 10).
Paul mentions how God has blessed both cultures with forgiveness of sins, redemption, Grace, and salvation.
Q: What are some ways God has blessed us as a Church collectively?
Up until verse 14, Paul for the most part was speaking to them as a group being blessed. It was about “us” & “we” not “you” & “me” but this all changes in V14.
***In V14 he starts referring to them as individuals saying “you”. He says that you are personally chosen. You received an invitation to the party. You have been personally blessed.***
Q: Take a moment and meditate on the fact that you are personally chosen by God from before the creation of the world.
15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
“For this reason”: Paul was praying that the believers in Ephesus really grabbed hold of their blessings. He wanted them to grab hold of Gods grace, salvation, redemption, blessings, love and to the hope which He has called them.
Q: How do we take hold of all these blessings God has offered us?
Q: Have you been taken hold of it?
V19 – God uses the same power with us that He used to raise Jesus from the dead.
There is nothing God can’t do in our lives.
Q: Where do you need God’s power right now?
Encouragement: Take as much time as you need right now to pray about one area you need God’s power right now.
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
There is nothing that can separate you from God’s love! You are chosen! We are chosen! Let’s remain grateful for all God has done for us. Don’t let Satan’s lies, the circumstances of life, hardship or discouragement ever make you believe that God does not love you personally and let us never believe the lie that He does not love us collectively.
Encouragement: Write down 3 things you are grateful for.
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