When by grace we are joined with Christ, we become full members of God’s family and inheritors of all the blessings of heaven. This week begin four weeks of reading the letter to Ephesians, where we hear that promise lavished upon us.
Worship this week: Saturday, 5:00 p.m. in Chapel
Sunday – 8:30 a.m. in Sanctuary
10:00 a.m. outside on church lawn (weather permitting)
August 11, 2013
Key Verses: “In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will, so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory.” Ephesians 1:11-12
Time: about 62 A.D.
Background: The apostle, Paul, visited Ephesus twice. The first visit he stayed for 3 months. The second time, he stayed for 3 years. Since Ephesus was instrumental in reaching those in Asia Minor, he devoted a great deal of time founding and building up the church there.
The church was founded for residing Jews and Hellenists, whose religious and cultural views and behaviors differed greatly. The letter to the Ephesians addresses the hostility these differences created. For Paul, unity within the church was crucial to building a strong community of faith there.
Paul (rather, an author writing in his name) emphasized the sacrificial nature of Christ’s work. By doing so, he hoped to encourage the lifting up, rather than the tearing down, of one another’s practices and perspectives.
Community: What spiritual gifts define your community of faith most strongly? How do you use those gifts to build the church and to serve others? What could be changed to lessen division and strengthen the work of the church?
At Home: What spiritual blessings has God given to you? How might you use those this week to further God’s work in the world?
Read This Week:
Monday: Great Commission, Luke 24:44-47
Tuesday: Prayer, Ephesians 1:15-23
Wednesday: Building the Church, Ephesians 2:1-10
Thursday: Function of the Church, Ephesians 3:1-6
Friday: Function of the Church, Ephesians 3:7-13
Saturday: Function of the Church, Ephesians 3:14-21
Next Week: Building the Church, Ephesians 2:11-22