Ephesians 1:3-23

Redemption in Christ

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. 11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.

13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

Prayer for Spiritual Wisdom

15 Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.

22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.


Paul affirms to the Christians of the day, that it is through the trusting of Christ, or faith, they are henceforth redeemed through His blood, forgiven from sins, all because of His grace. Therefore, give thanks, and pray for the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.

We are redeemed, hence ask for wisdom. This letter was written when Paul was in jail, yet He did not request for them to seek peace, but to seek wisdom. Why would he do this?


Proverbs 4

Do not forsake her, and she will preserve you; Love her, and she will keep you.
Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding.
Exalt her, and she will promote you; She will bring you honor, when you embrace her.
She will place on your head an ornament of grace; A crown of glory she will deliver to you.”


Wisdom comes first, and she will preserve us, keep us from harm, and will deliver to us a crown of glory.

In the deepest pits, we know we don’t deserve anything, we know we can’t. But it is exactly because we can’t, that’s when He can show forth His power, giving us a crown of glory, for we are redeemed through Jesus Christ.

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Ephesians 1:1-6

Greeting

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God,

To the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Redemption in Christ

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.

 


Paul starts his letter, addressing the Christians in Ephesus, reminding them of what Jesus has done for us, blessing us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, for He loved us so much, and hence, we should be holy and without blame in love. Be holy and without blame in love. It is almost impossible through our strengths to be holy; we need Him to be our Saviour and Redeemer. How, then, do we be holy in love?

Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimonies, do not covet. If someone tells you “not to think about a pink elephant juggling balls”, that’s exactly what we would think about. It is within our human flesh to do that. Likewise, being holy, the more we are told not to do stuff, the more likely we will do it, be it outwardly or even in our minds. Is there any way we can be holy then? Only through love. When we love one another in the purest sense, murder won’t cross our minds, thievery won’t tempt our minds, same thing goes for coveting, malingering, and even adultery. But human love changes! How can we, as humans, love our neighbours 24/7? Do we not uncover their infirmities and find it easier and easier to judge them for it, whilst finding it harder and harder to love them wholeheartedly?

Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Romans 5:5) Human love disappoints, but God’s love doesn’t. God so loved the world, that He even gave His own Son to die for our redemption, even the process of death was humiliating, with Jesus being dejected and alone. Our God, who loved us, love us, and will love us, gave us His perfect love to fill our hearts, so that we can love each other. Not through our love, but through His love, overflowing through us, touching the lives of those around us.

Look to Him every day, ask for His love to overflow you everyday, let it edify you. That, is how we be holy in love.

John 15:1-4

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.


What does it mean to be “taken away by the vinedresser”? A vine supplies water to the branches, for the branches to bring forth fruit. Without the vine, the branch can never bring forth fruit. Likewise, the vine represents Jesus, who supplies Living Water into us, the branches. What are the fruits? The thing that comes to my mind is “fruit of the Spirit”, which are “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23). And likewise, without the Living Water being supplied to us, how can we exhibit all these fruits through our own work? Even if we did manage to show them outwardly, do they truly manifest from within us?

When we say “No worries, I’ve got this” to Jesus and not let His Living Water fill us to bring forth fruit that glorifies Him, we are literally rejecting abiding in Him, which would result in us being pruned away by the vinedresser. It’s like Him saying, “Since you say you can do it by yourself, sure, go ahead, I’ll stop the supply of Living Water to you” Without the supply of the Word, how can we be clean by our own merits?

Let us be reminded that it is not through us that we bring forth fruit, but through the constant growing (not sporadic listenings) under His Living Word do we bring forth fruit. Focus not on the fruit, but on Him, and the fruit will come.

John 14:25-31

The Gift of His Peace

25 “These things I have spoken to you while being present with you.26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. 28 You have heard Me say to you, ‘I am going away and coming back to you.’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, ‘I am going to the Father,’ for My Father is greater than I.

29 “And now I have told you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe. 30 I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me. 31 But that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave Me commandment, so I do. Arise, let us go from here.


The Holy Spirit that is given to us, His first objective is to teach us, to guide us on this Earth. His second objective is to bring us back to God’s Word, showing us the message breathed by His mouth in our everyday lives.

When we first think of teaching, what comes to mind? Students at their desks, teacher at the whiteboard, spoon-feeding us with information. In this context, how would this occur? Where do we find the whiteboard in this context? The Bible. Going back to His Word. The Spirit speaks to us, revealing revelations as we meditate on the Living Word of God.

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you” The peace that allows Him to rest in the raging storm. The peace that He overflows with as He gives others peace. The peace that He exudes even as He says His parting words. That infective peace. He leaves that with us. It is not the peace that comes from yoga, or meditation, or whatever environmental factors the world tries to give us, but peace in our daily lives, the ups and downs.

John 14:1-14

14 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”

Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. 12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.


In the vastness of the universe, don’t we all feel small? Mere specks floating around on a rock, which in turn is floating around balls of gas. Yet, Jesus has a plan for us, He has already booked for us a place to stay. The only condition to attain that ticket is through Jesus. Not through God, not through our works, but through Jesus Christ. These words come from the Father himself, for He is in Jesus and is the one who gave authority to those words. Authority given by a just and Holy God, how can we not trust?

When He goes to the Father, He acts as our Advocate, helping us craft our imperfect prayers into perfect ones for our Father to hear, helping us send our gratifications to Him for sending His Son down to die for our sins, to give us His righteousness. Us imperfect beings, made perfect in God’s eyes through Jesus, and because we have already seen Jesus going back to the Father, may we bring forth works of the church to glorify Him and Him alone.

John 16:25-28

25 “Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father. 26 In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. 27 No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. 28 I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.”


The word love in these verses come from the same root word – Phileo. What is Phileo? It is brotherly, companionship love. Love that indicates that intimate connection between two parties, not just a reverend being and one who is saved, but as brothers and sisters, sharing intimate details with each other.

When we thank Jesus for dying on the cross, do we just thank Him for doing that so that we are able to get salvation? Is it just that “contract” love for Him? “Thanks for giving us this way, see you soon, bye!”. That’s not love at all, that’s just gratitude. “For God so loved (agapao) the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16). Agape love – Undeserved, Unmerited. These 2 words for love, clearly different, and with good reason.

God loves the world, for He is our Creator. But to make that special connection with Him, to have that Phileo love as well, I believe that is the privilege that we Christians get to have. That special connection. A person to talk to in times of need. A person to share your joys with. A God who is omnipresent and understands what you are going through. Doesn’t that make you want to grow closer and closer to Him? And this passage tells us how to do that, by first getting intimate with Jesus.

Let us wash ourselves with the Word everyday, may our eyes be opened to see your wonders each and every day, Lord, and may we, above all else, grow closer and closer to You.

John 16:12-15

12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”


God is omnipotent, He knows so much, and wants to bless us so much because He loves us, but it is not yet time to reveal everything, lest our hearts and minds be stumbled. That’s why He sent us this Helper, to help us see Him in our daily lives, nudging us in the right direction bit by bit.

Let us quieten our hearts and listen to this Advocate that Jesus has sent us. We know it is Him when His calm voice glorifies our Father whom so love us.