New Testament In a Year: September 30 – Ephesians 4

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Ephesians 4
(1-16) Unity in the Body of Christ
Christians are to live and work together in spiritual unity as a model of the oneness that exists in the body of Christ. Heaven is not divided and constantly at odds. There is one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all. The Christian community on earth below should be a reflection of the peace and togetherness that currently exists above. We should walk in humility, gentleness, and patience, and interact with one another in love. Being unified in Christ does not take away from our individuality. God gives His grace to individual believers and He gives gifts to individual believers, as well. We are to use the grace and the gifts which we have received to equip and build up others in the faith.

(17-32) The New Life
The life of a Christian should be different from the life of a non-Christian. We are no longer alienated from God. Since we know Christ, we must put off the old man and his deeds and put on the new man. We no longer lie, but speak the truth. We do not remain angry. We do not sin. We do not give the devil opportunity in our lives. Everything that we say builds up others for their good. Instead of letting bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, slander, and malice define our lives, Christians should be tenderhearted and forgiving because Christ has forgiven us.

Favorite verse: (6) One God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

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New Testament In a Year: September 29 – Ephesians 3

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Ephesians 3
(1-13) The Mystery of the Gospel Revealed
Paul reveals to the Ephesian Christians that the mystery of the Gospel is that Gentiles who believe in Jesus the Christ are members of the same body and partakers of the same promise as Jews who believe in Jesus the Christ. Paul was made a minister of the Gospel through the gift of God’s grace, and it is now his job to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ and to help all see the manifold wisdom of God, who created all things. Paul realizes that being a minister of the Gospel will result in him having to suffer, but he is not worried about that and doesn’t want the Ephesian Christians to worry about his suffering either. He knows his suffering will bring about their glory.

(14-21) Prayer for Spiritual Strength
Paul offers a prayer for his fellow Christians to be strengthened spiritually in their inner being. He desires for them and for all of us to experience Christ living in our hearts through faith. When we are grounded in love, we are better able to comprehend the love of Christ which surpasses all knowledge. Paul is able to pray his prayer with confidence because he knows that God is able to do far more than we could ever ask or think. This is why we should not be afraid to ask big, impossible things of God.

Favorite verse: (20) Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us.

New Testament In a Year: September 28 – Ephesians 2

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Ephesians 2
(1-10) By Grace Through Faith
It is easy for those who have been Christians for any amount of time to forget that we were not always so. We were once dead in sin, following the way of the world and following the prince of the power of the air who is Satan. We were once disobedient, indifferent to God, and full of wrath. Paul reminds us that we were not the ones seeking salvation. We were not looking for God, but God was looking for us. Because of His rich mercy and His great love, He made a way for us to be saved even while we were still in sin. We did nothing to reunite ourselves in fellowship with God. No one can boast about their salvation because no one is saved by works; we are saved only by grace through faith.

(11-22) One in Christ
We were once separated from Christ, strangers to the promises that were made to God’s people, without hope, and without God. We were lost and on our own, but all of that has changed now because of Jesus the Christ. Through Christ’s blood, we have been brought near to Him. We are no longer far off from Him. A wall of division should no longer exist between Jews and Gentiles or between this Christian group and that Christian group. When Christ’s body was broken on the cross, He put an end to divisions and hostility. Instead of having two people groups – one that was far (the Gentiles) and one that was near (the Jews), Christ united these two into one. Now we both have access to God the Father through one Spirit. We are no longer strangers and aliens to God and one another, but we are citizens and saints and members of God’s heavenly family. God does not desire to dwell in two places. He has joined us into one structure, and is building us together to be a unified dwelling place for Him.

Favorite verse: (5) Even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—

New Testament In a Year: September 27 – Ephesians 1

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Ephesians 1
(3-14) Spiritual Blessings in Christ
Those who have faith in Jesus the Christ are given every spiritual blessing from God. God chose us in Him before the foundation of the world was even laid because He wanted to have fellowship with us; therefore we ought to live holy and blameless lives before Him. By His love, we are adopted as sons and daughters into His heavenly family. By His grace, we experience redemption and forgiveness of sin.

When we heard the Gospel of salvation and made the decision to believe in Christ, we were sealed with the Holy Spirit. This guarantees our eternal inheritance until we are able to acquire possession of it.

(15-23) Thanksgiving and Prayer
Paul desires for the Ephesian believers to receive wisdom so that their knowledge of God will increase. We too should pray for God to give us His spirit of wisdom so that we can know Him more and so that we can better understand the hope to which we have been called, the riches that are available to us in Christ, and the immeasurable greatness of His power toward us. God has put all things under the feet of His Son, Jesus the Christ, and the fulness of Christ fills all in all.

Favorite verse: (11) In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will.

Women of the Word: Lo-Ruhamah

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In a previous post, we discussed the life of Gomer. Gomer was a prostitute who became the wife of the faithful prophet Hosea. Hosea and Gomer had three children together: a boy named Jezreel, a girl named Lo-Ruhamah, and another boy called Lo-Ammi. The book of Hosea gives a fuller narration of what took place between Hosea and Gomer and how God used their story (in particular, Gomer’s unfaithfulness and the names of their children) to send messages regarding judgment and restoration to the people of Israel. The daughter, Lo-Ruhamah, is mentioned twice in Hosea’s book. Hosea 1:6 reads:

Gomer conceived again and gave birth to a daughter. Then the Lord said to Hosea, “Call her Lo-Ruhamah (which means “not loved”), for I will no longer show love to Israel, that I should at all forgive them.

And Hosea 1:8 reads:

After she had weaned Lo-Ruhamah, Gomer had another son.

Gomer probably lacked natural love for her daughter. After all, she abandoned her family and returned to her old ways of promiscuity and immorality, before Hosea went searching for her and brought her back. However, Lo-Ruhamah was loved by her father. And we can be certain that she was loved by God, just as all of us are loved by God. Continue reading

New Testament In a Year: September 26 – Galatians 6

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Galatians 6
(1-10) Bear One Another’s Burdens
Followers of Jesus the Christ must bear the burdens of others. Doing so means that we must restore those who may have fallen in a spirit of gentleness while not thinking of ourselves as better than others. Those who know the Word ought to be generous, do good, and sow the Word in the lives of others. We are to do good works to everyone and never grow weary of doing good works. We will reap eternal blessings, if we do not give up.

(11-18) Final Warning and Benediction
Paul refuses to boast in anything or anyone except the cross of Christ. The cross has crucified Paul to the world and has crucified the world to Paul. The cross has made Paul a new creation. The cross has the same power over us today.

Favorite verse: (10) So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

New Testament In a Year: September 25 – Galatians 5

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Galatians 5
(1-15) Christ Has Set Us Free
When we place our faith in Jesus the Christ, He sets us free from the heavy yoke of sin. We are free indeed. No longer do we have to submit to such slavery. Our freedom, however, should not be used as an opportunity to do what we want and fulfill the desires of the flesh. Instead, our freedom empowers and enables us to love and serve one another as Christ commands us. The Christian life should not be characterized by constant fighting, but by unity, peace, and love.

(16-26) Keep in Step with the Spirit
The flesh and the Spirit are always at odds with one another. The flesh desires to do evil. The works of the flesh include such things as impurity, sorcery, jealousy, anger, and envy. On the other hand, the Spirit desires to do good. The works of the Spirit include love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness. If we walk by the Spirit, we will be able to overcome the flesh every time that it tempts us to sin. Those who have faith in Christ, experience freedom through Christ, and therefore are crucified with Christ. Being crucified means the flesh has no power over us. We produce the fruit of the Spirit instead of the fruit of the flesh.

Favorite verse: (15) But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.

New Testament In a Year: September 25 – Galatians 5

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Galatians 5
(1-15) Christ Has Set Us Free
When we place our faith in Jesus the Christ, He sets us free from the heavy yoke of sin. We are free indeed. No longer do we have to submit to such slavery. Our freedom, however, should not be used as an opportunity to do what we want and fulfill the desires of the flesh. Instead, our freedom empowers and enables us to love and serve one another as Christ commands us. The Christian life should not be characterized by constant fighting, but by unity, peace, and love.

(16-26) Keep in Step with the Spirit
The flesh and the Spirit are always at odds with one another. The flesh desires to do evil. The works of the flesh include such things as impurity, sorcery, jealousy, anger, and envy. On the other hand, the Spirit desires to do good. The works of the Spirit include love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness. If we walk by the Spirit, we will be able to overcome the flesh every time that it tempts us to sin. Those who have faith in Christ, experience freedom through Christ, and therefore are crucified with Christ. Being crucified means the flesh has no power over us. We produce the fruit of the Spirit instead of the fruit of the flesh.

Favorite verse: (15) But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.