Saturday we packed our knapsacks from Colosse and headed 120 miles west to Ephesus. Ephesus is a place, a region that Paul visited and stayed for quite awhile. We took a peek back over into Acts 18 and 19 to see how people were led to follow Jesus in this region. Take another peek at Acts 19 as Paul returned.
The letter we will travel through together called Ephesians is one Paul wrote while in Rome, it is considered one of the prison epistles (that word is a fancy word for letter or literary work). The other letters in this group are Galatians, Philippians, and Colossians.
Now you must keep in mind when reading, that this guy named Paul, whose name was Saul just a few chapters before (Acts 8:1) was on the scene and agreed completely to the stoning of Stephen. So who is this Stephen guy and why is he getting stoned (no not that way silly, big ol rocks thrown at em till he dies) Stephen was one of the 7 picked to help the apostles help in distributing food and other items to the widows. He was described as being full of God’s grace and power, and this description came right after the apostles laid hands and prayed over the 7. (Acts 6:1-8) but we know that he had to be living a life full of grace and power, living a life that was full of compassion and strength or he would have never been picked…right?
So Paul, who was Saul at the time, had a different definition of laying hands on people. We his definition lived out in Acts 8:3. Saul was going everywhere, he went house to house to destroy the church (people who live out Christ)…look at that verse…dragging them out of their homes to prison. That my friends is quite different laying on the hands. Until Damascus. Until he meets this man named Jesus. (Acts 9) Saul had just received permission in the form of letters to arrest any followers of Jesus. with letters in hand he sets his sights on carrying out his mission and then BAM. He feel to the ground and heard a (THE) voice asking “why are you persecuting me?” Did anyone else notice that? Jesus didn’t ask “why are you persecuting my followers, my children, those that love me….no he asked “why are you persecuting me”. WOW, yea Christ is the head of the church and we are the body, we are a reflection of HIS affection.
Ok so by now most of us know the rest of the story. The heart of Saul changes from destruction to construction. The motive for laying on the hands changes dramatically. We see this in Acts 19 when he finds some believers and asks “have you received the Holy Spirit?” and man we can relate to this reply. Uh we didn’t even know there was a holy Spirit……hahahaha…isn’t that great, do we? Wonder why he asked that question right out of the gate? We typically ask “where do you go to church?” oh well that’s for another day. Paul then lays hands on them and prays for them to receive the Holy Spirit through faith in Jesus Christ and they do. We never see a reply of NO when someone asks for Jesus! The empty tomb screams out I’VE already said YES!
And now we find ourselves reading together the letter Paul wrote to a people in Ephesus. A region where he lived life with and he is now writing to encourage and remind them and us of the beauty in living Christ out in our homes, at work and in our community. We ended Saturday with the words from verse 3 that tells us that we have received every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms, because we are united with Christ! EVERY blessing where? YEP…that’s what it says heavenly realm.
That’s where we will pick back up Saturday, what or how can you live this out with each other throughout the week?
What if you asked each other in your homes…..What does blessing mean? Ask your kids to define this with ya. Or we will see this week that we are adopted, some that are reading this actually know this in a whole different level by either having adopted a child or being adopted. What does being adopted mean and why?
Have a great week gang let’s keep on showing the world how to
love em up!