Monday, April 4, 2016

The Message of Ephesus – Part 1

This week, our small group Bible Study is continuing though our Ray Vander Laan video series on the “Early Church”. This week we come to Ephesus. Back in Jesus’ time, the Asia Minor city of Ephesus was the heart of the ancient fertility goddess, Artemis worship, whom temple was one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

Ephesians 5:15-17 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”

To the early Christians, faith was not only what they believed and knew in their hearts, but also has a side to it of courageous, persistent, intense, and passionate pursuit after what they believe; those whose unwillingness to quit keeps them going. The Holy Scriptures tell us God’s Word about how we are to live: What is moral, what is immoral and about the Messiah. This allows the child of God to comfortably put the truth out into the public arena. Not by attacking the views of other people, just speaking the truth without embarrassment. How often have you and I been hesitant or ashamed to speak the truth as if the wisdom and truth claims of someone else are so much bigger because it is scientific or has the support of the academic community and all we have is the Word of God? This is the truth and it has every right to compete in the free marketplace of ideas with any other truth claim.

But the truth has implications. If the God of the Bible is truth, it undermines every other truth claim. If the God of the Holy Scriptures is the Divine Creator of the Universe and Jesus Christ is the Messiah (Lord and Savior), then who are the other gods worshiped in the world? The Truth of the biblical God threatens their entire belief system, economy and lifestyle. In ______ we trust? When is the last time that we spoke the truth so lovingly, so clearly and without fear that the implications of that truth was an offense?  Some people need to be offended and get ‘worked up” about the truth they need to hear. I wonder if we have the intensity and passion of the Apostle Paul? When we speak of God and Jesus, there are always implications. Believers do not need to undermine, put down or attack other beliefs. All we need to do is speak the truth in love; opposition is automatic because the implications of the truth are powerful.    
When anyone, any state or anything states that it is the God of gods, Lord of lords and Divine Ruler of the world, then not acknowledging them may cost you, maybe your life. No, they are not God of gods or Lord of lords. They are humans Rulers to whom we owe our allegiance, according to God, as our government official, as long as it doesn’t violate God’s laws, commandments, statutes and holy teaching because God sets the standards. But they are not the King of the universe. Creator God alone is Lord of all. Christians will not acknowledge the lordship of anyone, but God, at any price. Do we have the courage to pay the price for faith in the God of the Bible?  

Let stop here and pick up this great study on the Ephesian Christians and their message for us today on the next post.

In Christ, Brian

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