Sunday, September 28, 2014

Love does matter

Ephesus – privilege brings responsibility

We have briefly noticed in the last few articles, some important truth conveyed to the believers at Ephesus. Now I would like you to notice the situation many years later as the Lord in heaven monitors the condition of the believers.

Revelation 2:3,4 “ have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.  Yet I hold this against you  :  You have forsaken your first love......”

The lesson of this account is quite obvious  - we may have much of good, godly things in place, but if we miss or lose first love, all else is vain. The believers had so much commendable, yet they were threatened with removal of the lamp stand. Let us catch the significance of love, devotion, adoration to our risen, living Lord Jesus Christ. Without this motive, this response of heart, all service becomes hollow.

Chapter 3.19 puts it another way   “ Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline .” Here HIS motive is revealed – His actions toward us are motivated by love (so undeserved). How much more should we love Him who first loved us!

Rather than explore the detail of this little letter, let us first take time out to search our hearts, our motives, our agenda, our devotion  - is it love to the Lord?

I conclude my meditations on Ephesians with the last verse

“Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus  Christ with an undying love.”

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Armour in times of conflict

In a world where Satan and his servants are busy at the high levels of society and also roaming as a lion attacking at the personal level, the believer is to stand firm. Ephesians 6 does not portray the soldier as aggressively conquering the enemy, but rather to stand firm with the armour of God. The progress of light overcoming darkness, is not dependent upon cunning or conflict, but rather as the  rising sun dispels the night, so truth conquers by its declaration (Ch6.9). God’s love, mercy and grace received by faith result in good works to replace the characteristics of this world.
As we by faith are built up into Christ, we become the objects of Satan’s hatred and his schemes to bring Christ down (in us ) are many. What do we have for protection? – the armour of God.

1      Truth – this is the revelation of God, in particular in Christ. This is the focus of the devil’s attack – to diminish the glory of Christ.

     Righteousness – I suggest this is referring to God’s righteousness imputed  to the believer in Christ. So much of this letter is about God’s actions on our behalf for our acceptance with Him. If our defence depended on our own righteousness, the we would be bound to fail under the cross-examination of the accuser of the brethren
3     The Gospel of peace – in keeping with the teaching and characteristics of the Lord Jesus Himself, we who bear good tidings for all mankind, should be walking in peace.

4     Faith – reasoning and debating has a useful place and time, but in time of conflict, faith in God is the best shield. Like Job when under attack we can say “if He slay me , yet will I trust in Him”.

5     Salvation – What God has done and is doing in Christ on our behalf – yes , and as we understand what God has saved us from, and bringing us to, our minds can then hold true direction and clear our thinking.

6     The word of God. God’s revelation through Moses, the prophets, the Lord Jesus, the apostles remains a unique yet abundant enlightenment that neither time nor human ingenuity can  erase. God’s word is reliable and the Spirit of God still chooses to use this to bring people to God.

7     Prayer and perseverance.  We remain vulnerable unless we maintain connection with God in prayer. Prayer sharpens our alertness to the real dangers and letting God by His Spirit communicate to us , brings the strength and purpose to persevere.

          This presentation of God given armour is concluded with these words....."prayer...for all saints".  we do well to stand with those saved by God's grace. We are in the common cause  with all saints including the apostle Paul. Let us discern the real enemy and stand for HIM who was faithful unto the end.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Today in turmoil

Our world is presently in turmoil as not seen for some decades. In younger years we were encouraged to believe that education, the United Nations, democracy, the advances of science, the use of technology etc would have established an harmonious, peaceful, prosperous world. What has gone wrong? Some blame religion, some blame communism, others blame capitalism. And so the blame game goes on.

Our compass, the Bible, has a different answer. A casual reading of the letter to the Ephesians identifies the source of the problem:  Chapter 2 – the course of this world is following the prince whose characteristic is disobedience to God. (How often does anyone today refer to Satan? The Devil’s smartest ploy is to convince the world he does not exist! Neither the politician nor the preacher seem mention him anymore.) The evil one works through the fleshly passion, unbridled minds displayed in nonsensical anger. Chapter 4 portrays the evidence of dark thinking as lacking understanding, being sensuous, greedy , and impure. The falsehood, deceit, anger, theft, foul mouths etc are  natural to the fallen human nature spurred on by the devil .

The Christian is not only delivered from this snare, but is to confront it as described in chapter 6
Ephesians 6
Verse 11  - indicates our world is in turmoil because of the schemes of the devil. These evil forces are operating at every level, in particular, high end influences. I suggest this is means the area of politics, education, media, finances, religion, social standards. Many of us live as uninfluential members of society, but even in our small corner, we are to be a light in the midst of darkness, soldiers standing for truth..
God has called some to higher places of influence and for them we should pray that they will take their responsibility seriously in combat with the schemes of the devil. One small decision in high places can make such a difference for good or evil in the world in general.  One could quote the impact of decisions made the United Nations organizations, or the worldwide effect of decisions by the pope, or decision in parliaments that can damage  a whole nation. What then is the influence we are having in our small corner – in our family, our community, our city, our world??
Most of humanity is hoodwinked by the media to believe what they are told. Those who dig deeper find some rather sinister schemes at work in our world and many of these schemes are against Christ Jesus our Lord. ( I do not refer to foolish conspiracy theories) The evil one has one supreme agenda -  to attack and crush anything that exalts the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. One of his most successful ways is by corrupting religion.

So what are we to do – do what Paul did – be faithful to , and proclaim the true mystery of the gospel (Ephesians 6.19)
“for which I am an ambassador in chains”

Next article may be on the armour of God

John McKee

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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Let God speak for Himself

Let’s learn from The Bible. The letter to the Ephesians.

What is God like?  This good question continues to be asked by the children at the local schools. We often think of Him like the wind – invisible yet powerful. Sometimes blowing gently as the still small voice, sometimes blowing fiercely to show us His mighty power. In nature we can learn very much of God, but better is to learn from His communications  through His Prophets and Apostles.

Ephesians chapter 1 the character of God  is described rather clearly.

He is our Father
He is blessed and blessing
He chooses
He loves
He redeems
He forgives
He is gracious
He reveals
He is the Father of glory
Chapter 2:
He is rich in mercy
He is great in love
He makes alive
He operates in revealing grace

I have deliberately left out the Bible references, so that you might reread these two chapters and discover the character of God for yourself.

If you do not have a bible, I may be able to help supply one.

If you would like a different language or translation Bible – try