Category: Devotionals

Read Ephesians 6

Key Verse: Ephesians 6:11 “Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”

Jesus didn’t come to make people nice: He came to make them new. Mind you, people who are new in Christ also tend to be nice, but niceness is no antidote for the galloping disease of sin. Only new life will do.

Why? Because we are in a “struggle…agains the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (v.12 NIV). We are in a fight “against the devil’s schemes.” In other words, we are under attack.

But then, so is the devil under attack. Any believers who put on “the whole armour of God” is someone who not only is well defended but is also powerfully offensive to evil. He is no longer victim, but victor. The devil flees.

Little wonder! The devil doesn’t have a chance against believers who have “put on” God’s armour and “stand firm” in “truth…righteousness…readiness…faith…salvation…the word of God…alert[ness]…”, and who “keep on praying” (vv. 13-18 NIV).

“Standing in truth” means you don’t lie, nor do you live a lie. It also means Jesus lives in you. “Righteousness” means you choose to do what’s right regardless off the cost. “Readiness” means fitness — you are in good spiritual shape. “Faith” means you are trusting, obeying, and acting on the basis of your hope that “God is, and is a awarder of them that diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11). “Salvation” means you are “in Christ.” The “word of God” is your basis for living, and “alertness” means you have your eyes open — you are no fool — and you “keep on praying.”

Such armour! The devil knows when he is defeated.

Read Ephesians 5

Key Verse: Ephesians 5:5 “For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure, or greedy person — such a man is an idolater — has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.” (NIV)

An idolater is a worshipper of idols. He is someone who by his action denies the great foundation statement of faith from Israel, “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One.” The Bible, especially the Old Testament, was written in a world that worshipped a multitude of gods — its message was radical and offensive: there is one God alone, and only Him shall you serve. The contemporary idolater, however, though he may agree intellectually with the Bible’s message, chooses at the same time to “worship” other “gods.” His loyalties are divided.

These days, we hear sinful choices referred to as “compulsive behaviour.” The psychologists look back into a person’ history and blame neurotic behaviour on childhood sexual abuse, deprivation, or any other negative influence which caused some kind of twist in character. We cast the compulsive sinner as victim. It’s as though his history has determined his destiny.

I suppose, to a certain extent, it’s true that heredity and environment have a great deal to do with how our lives are shaped. Nevertheless, the Bible is very clear in its insistence that ultimately you and I are responsible for our choices, whether compulsive or not.

If immorality, impurity, or greediness consistently colour our living, we are setting up false gods in our live. We can point the finger of blame anywhere we want, but from God’s perspective there’s only one direction to point when apportioning blame. If we insist on worshipping other gods, God will abandon us to their care.

Read Ephesians 4

Key Verse: Ephesians 4: 11-13 “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son fo God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the statures of the fullness of Christ…”

Jesus takes the Church seriously. He has given the Church all it needs to reach maturity. First of all, He has given Himself to the Church. But then, He has given various ministering gifts for the purpose of nourishing and cultivating the Church as it grows, “to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (NIV).

An “apostle” is a “sent one” or missionary — sent out from an established congregation to pioneer in an unreached area. The mission establishes a new congregation, trains leaders, and works him or herself out of a job. Then it is time to move on and pioneer somewhere else.

A “prophet” is someone who “forth-tells” the Word of God (as contrasted to “foretells”). Although there may be an occasional foretelling, the general function of the prophet is to speak the Word of God to a specific context, correcting, sometime rebuking, but always bringing encouragement and hope.

“Evangelists” are full-time spreaders of “good news.” Their whole focus is broadcasting the seed of the Word Indiscriminately to as wide an audience as possible. Like the apostle, evangelists tend to be on the move.

“Pastors and teachers” are nurturers. They shepherd and feed the flock of believers. They tend to hurts, comfort the sorrows, and live day to day in close contact with their charges. They are the carers.

But all these ministries have one goal in mind for the Church: maturity and effective service. They do their job and those who make up the Church are “no longer infants” (v.14).

Read Ephesians 3

Key Verse: Ephesians 3:12 “In Him and through faith in Him we may approach God with freedom and confidence .” (NIV)

What is the difference between “in Him” and “through faith in Him”? “In Him” means there is a highway to God — whether we accept its reality or not makes no difference: there is access to God. “Through faith in Him” means that God can be approached by one means only — the access route is that highway. You’ve got to get on the road, and you’ve got to trust that it leads to God.

And there is something else of great importance about “in Him.” God’s justice demands that sin by penalized by eternal death. But now there’s a window of opportunity for anyone who receives the penalty by proxy. Jesus has died in place of all who will allow His blood to atone for their sins. Jesus has provided satisfaction for the justice of God the Father. God can now be approached because the penalty for sin has already been paid. Those who believe in Christ need die only once. Unless Jesus returns soon, you and I will die physically. But we won’t die spiritually — we have already died spiritually in Christ, so there is no penalty to suffer. God won’t penalize us twice. We are free, and we are confident. We have been redeemed and made alive. Once we were enemies with God. Now we are children of God — all because of faith in Jesus.