News and Articles
7 January 2019
As we start the year together, let’s remember God’s astonishing goodness to us as we look at five passages from Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians. We’ve added some brief comments and a suggestion of how we could turn what we’ve read into prayer. Then, finally, there are some ideas of what we could pray for Above Bar Church, for our city, and for our world.
Follow this blog for the next five days as we unpack these passages in turn:
- Day 1: Overwhelming blessing
- Day 2: Available power
- Day 3: Supernatural unity
- Day 4: Prepared for growth
- Day 5: No no-go areas
Overwhelming blessing | Ephesians 1:3–14
The three paragraphs in this passage remind us of the fantastic blessings we’ve received from God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will - to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. (Ephesians 1:3–6)
Verses 3-6 are about the overwhelming blessing God the Father has given us. We may have difficulty getting our heads round it, but he has chosen us to be his sons and daughters! And the purpose of it all is so that his grace will be praised. Why not look at that first paragraph and thank God? You might start like this:
Father, thank you for giving me every spiritual blessing in Christ…
Time to read more?
• Read Ephesians 1:7–12 in your Bible
In this second paragraph the emphasis is on the blessings we have in Jesus: look how often Paul writes ‘in Christ’ or ‘in him’. Verse 7 tells us that ‘we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins’, but just look at what else we’ve been given through the cross! And this is for the praise of his glory. Why not look at verses 7–12 and thank Jesus for his blessings:
Lord Jesus, thank you for what you’ve given me through the cross…
• Read Ephesians 1:13–14 in your Bible
Now Paul focuses on how we’ve been blessed through the third Person of the Trinity: when we first trusted in Jesus we were ‘marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit’. He helps us to be sure of the glorious future God has prepared for us, and this is all for the praise of his glory. Why not take a moment to praise God for this fantastic blessing? Look at verses 13–14 and start like this:
Holy Spirit, thank you for the blessing of your presence in me today…