Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.”
Ephesians 3:20-21 NLT
All the glory for redemption belongs to God! He is the One who made the plan, placed Himself in a human body, made the payment for sin, and provided us a way out of slavery to sin and it's awful, eternal punishment. Can I hear a swell of praise rising from among God's redeemed?? Psalm 107:2 says “Has the LORD redeemed you? Then speak out! Tell others he has redeemed you from your enemies.” NLT
Brothers and sisters, we should be praising God from now throughout eternity for His mighty and marvelous redemption. If you know what He saved you from, you will never cease to glorify His Holy Name! He who knew no sin became sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. "For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.”2 Corinthians 5:21 NLT
Wow!!!!!!! Are you praising Him right now? Do I hear the resounding roar of God's people as they join in chorus to praise the Lamb that was slain??? Worthy, Worthy, Worthy is The Lamb!!!!!!!
Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. ”Ephesians 3:17-19 NLT
Have you let Christ make His home in your heart? He wants to dine with you at His table. He longs to show you how much He loves you. His love is so great that we cannot comprehend its fullness. The glory in this is that He chooses to love us and keep loving us. His love is incomprehensible and indescribable, yet He imparts it to us. He wants to fill your heart with His love and help you experience life through His heart. Accept His love. He isn't waiting for you to get your life together. He wants you to let Him put your life back together. You can't earn His love. None of us can! Simply receive it and watch how it will transform you. There is an old song that says "Could we with ink the ocean fill and were the skies with parchment made. Were every stalk on earth a quill and every man a scribe by trade. To write the love of God above would drain the ocean dry nor could the scroll contain the whole, though stretched from sky to sky. O, love of God, how rich and pure. How measureless and strong. It shall forevermore endure. The saints and angels song."
I remember reading a footnote at the bottom of this song in the Church Hymnal that said this verse was found on the wall of an asylum a man said to have been demented. If that is demented, then let me go insane.
When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.”
Ephesians 3:14-16 NLT
May God give you inner strength through His Spirit today.
“So please don’t lose heart because of my trials here. I am suffering for you, so you should feel honored.”
Ephesians 3:13 NLT
What a preacher! Paul was so committed to the gospel of Christ that he was glad to suffer for it.
Many of our modern preachers/pastors spend there time telling us how to get the next rung up on the ladder of success. They tell us that God wants us to live a life free from hardship and suffering. This is a socially and politically acceptable gospel. However, it is clear in the scriptures that those who were dedicated to Christ suffered for it. “Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” 2 Timothy 3:12 NLT
We live in a time when people want to hear motivational speakers rather than gospel preachers. Multitudes flock to churches and Christian resource centers to get the latest "word" from the latest and greatest author. Everyone wants to jump on the bandwagon of success. Which church has the best band, the most in attendance, or the best programs for the children? Each of these are not evil or necessarily wrong. The problem is this: the absence of the full biblical message. When is the last time you heard a pastor speak against abortion, homosexuality, adultery, fornication, or teach on the reality of an eternal hell? Everyone wants to go to heaven, but no one wants to suffer in the pilgrimage. The pomp and circumstance is great until someone says something that rubs against someone's lifestyle or political practices.
Brothers and sisters, truth is truth. We don't need to compromise the truth in order to be "successful". Success isn't measured by popular acceptance, rather God's acceptance. I'm all about promoting the health and growth of individual believers and the collective body of Christ. I have read books about church growth and strategies. I recognize the importance of needed and necessary changes to be relevant and effective. I am a preacher of grace, God's grace. I believe in the love, mercy, and the grace of God through Jesus Christ. He is a friend of sinners. In Luke 7:34 Jesus is called "a friend of tax collectors and sinners". The simple reality is this: God's Word is His Word. Preach and teach it all, not just the parts that make the masses feel good about themselves and their sinful lifestyles. The truth will set you free! (see John 8:32).
Even if we have to suffer for the truth, let us be joyful in the fact that we belong to Jesus and that we have eternal life.
Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.”
Ephesians 3:12 NLT
Do you get that? Because of what Christ Jesus has done we can come directly into the presence of God. WOW!!! Jesus substitutionary sacrifice has opened the throne room of heaven and allows us to enter. Only the spotless, matchless, sinless blood of the Lamb could accomplish such a privilege. Do you even understand that God waits with anticipation for you to come to Him? Through the blood and body of Christ Jesus we have forgiveness. When we acknowledge our sinfulness, repent of our sin, accept Jesus as the payment of that sin, and receive God's forgiveness we, then, can enter boldly into God's throne room.
“So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” Hebrews 4:14-16 NLT
Come into His presence. Spend time with your Father. Seek His face, not just His hand. He simply wants you to love Him and honor Him. He waits to hear you call His name. Is there something you need today? Ask Him. ““Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7 NLT
Come before Him in Jesus name!!! He's ready to answer.
Though I am the least deserving of all God’s people, he graciously gave me the privilege of telling the Gentiles about the endless treasures available to them in Christ. I was chosen to explain to everyone this mysterious plan that God, the Creator of all things, had kept secret from the beginning. God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was his eternal plan, which he carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord.” Ephesians 3:8-11 NLT
Paul had been chosen by God as the vessel He would use to proclaim the "good news" (gospel). Paul was not arrogant about his apostolic calling. He was humbled that God had revealed the eternal truth of Jesus Christ to him. Although he was a full blooded Jew, and a former Pharisee, he realized that the gospel was for the Gentile as well. God had revolutionized Pauls life and teaching. He would never be the same. He would die carrying the message of Jesus Christ to anyone who would listen. God had revealed, by special revelation (see 2 Corinthians 12:10 and Galatians 1:12) the person and purpose of Jesus Christ. The revelation was so profound that it radically changed this religious follower of Judaism into a preacher of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He never looked back. The world would be utterly transformed by the message God gave him.
It is the church's responsibility to carry this message to the world. God wants us to share with the world His glorious grace. Let us continue the great and marvelous task of sharing this gospel to all who will listen.
“When I think of all this, I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus for the benefit of you Gentiles. . . assuming, by the way, that you know God gave me the special responsibility of extending his grace to you Gentiles. As I briefly wrote earlier, God himself revealed his mysterious plan to me. As you read what I have written, you will understand my insight into this plan regarding Christ. God did not reveal it to previous generations, but now by his Spirit he has revealed it to his holy apostles and prophets. And this is God’s plan: Both Gentiles and Jews who believe the Good News share equally in the riches inherited by God’s children. Both are part of the same body, and both enjoy the promise of blessings because they belong to Christ Jesus. By God’s grace and mighty power, I have been given the privilege of serving him by spreading this Good News.”
Ephesians 3:1-7 NLT
Paul, the intelligent Pharisee who was rising among the ranks of the most prominent religious leaders of the Jews, is now being thrown in prison and threatened with death for preaching the good news of Jesus to the Gentiles. God had totally transformed this man's understanding. He was convinced that Judaism (the Jewish religion) was the truth. There was only one problem. Judaism was only pointing toward the Cross. Learning and practicing the statutes of the Old Testament Law was empty and void without knowing the purpose it was given. Everything in the Old Testament Law and Prophets was a type, shadow, and road signs to the cross. Simply put: man was incapable of curing his disease called sin. The Law and Prophets showed the Holiness of God. To attempt to achieve the Holiness of God was impossible. Man had to have an atonement (reparation of wrong, reconciliation). There was no way to achieve this on our own. However, God became a man in the person of Jesus Christ, lived a sinless life, was qualified to be the substitution for the sins of man, and died on the cross as our atonement.
Paul, now, fully understood this truth. He was convinced, called, and consecrated to share this "good news" (gospel) to Gentiles. He was the last person anyone would have thought would be preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, but God had hand crafted him for this purpose. Paul wrote 13 of the 27 books in the New Testament. His writings, given to him by the Holy Spirit, have literally educated and instructed the New Testament believer in the truth of Jesus and the Cross. Can you imagine what the world would look like today without such revelation? God, in His infinite mercy, has transformed the world through Jesus Christ. WOW! Through Him we are complete and accepted of God whether Jew or Gentile. Nothing more. Nothing less. Hallelujah!!!
So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family. Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. Through him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit.”
Ephesians 2:19-22 NLT
Every "born again" believer makes up the temple of God. Each of us are an individual temple of God (see I Corinthians 6:19). Collectively, we are God's temple as well. “Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you? God will destroy anyone who destroys this temple. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.” 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 NLT
As God's place of habitation, we are His possession and prize. God does not stand idly by when His church gets assaulted. When you mess with His body, the church, you are assaulting God Himself. We are God's bride. He is the groom. One day He will come to take His bride, the church, to the place He has prepared. “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.” John 14:1-3 NLT
God loves His temple, the church. Regardless of your race or religious background, when you come to God through Jesus Christ, you are transformed into a new creature and He makes you a part of His family. What an honor and distinct privilege!! I want to say to all of my brothers and sisters that I love you and I'm thankful for you-my family. Let us recognize who we are and what we were made to do. Let's represent Christ well. He is our hope, help, strength, and defender. His church isn't defeated. His church is triumphant!!! "What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?” Romans 8:31 NLT
Rev. Curtis Norris