Saint Lucas Lutheran

Church, School, Pre-K and Child Care in Bay View, WI

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Home Every Day With Jesus 2-17-14 to 2-23-14

2-17-14 to 2-23-14

Everyday with Jesus
Ephesians 4

MONDAY, February 17  Ephesians 4:1,2  “As a prisoner for the LORD, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.  Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”

Is this you?  You and I are believers in Jesus Christ, Christians.  We have been called to this faith by the Holy Spirit Who has worked it in our hearts.  This calling is to be worked out in our lives.  The same Spirit Who has called us to faith wants that faith to influence our entire life.  “...I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.”

Paul describes the Christian life, “a life (that is) worthy” of the name Christian.    “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”  Does that describe you  “humble...gentle...patient...bearing with one another in love”?

This “ worthy” Christian life comes from a healthy Christian attitude.  That attitude is  humility.   This humility comes from the honest realization that my status as a believer in Christ, as a child of God, is all due to God’s work of grace.  There is absolutely nothing meritorious on my part.  To be sure, I have a blessed status.   I am a child of God a sister or brother of Christ Himself!  But, again, I owe that status completely to God’s grace.  Humbly recognizing and remembering this truth, I will not be proud, rude, impatient toward others as if I and my opinions and ways are more important than others.

PRAYER:  LORD, I claim to be a Christian.  Inspire and enable me to live a life that lives up to that claim.  AMEN

TUESDAY, February 18  Ephesians 4:3-6  “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.  There is one body and one Spirit - just as you were called to one hope when you were called - one LORD, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, Who is over all and through all and in all.”

“...ONE…”  I am one; but I am not alone.  I am united with God and with all others whom He has brought to faith in Jesus Christ.  We are ONE IN CHRIST.

Just consider this glorious “...unity…”:  “...one body...one Spirit...one hope...one LORD...one faith...one baptism...one God and Father of all…”

This glorious gracious “...unity…” is to remain unbroken.  That takes effort, work.  Each of us has the old, the former self inclined to sin.  It is filled with pride and criticism.  It is self-centered and therefore self-destructive.  It not only is self-destructive, it breaks the  “...unity…” to which we have been called by the Holy Spirit.  It doesn’t want to be united - it wants to be alone - alone in its own thoughts and ways.  It’s gotta be my way or the highway.

We, who are called to faith - to unity in Christ - are called upon to “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”  This is not optional nor is it of minor importance.  It is necessary and vital.  

PRAYER:  LORD, help me to value the unity that I have with others in our faith union with You. Help me to “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”  Amen

WEDNESDAY, February 19  Ephesians 4:7-10  “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.  This is why it says: ‘When He ascended on high, He led captives in His train and gave gifts to men’.  (What does ‘He ascended’ mean except that He also descended to the lower earthly regions?  He Who descended is the very One Who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.”  

Gifted  Picture this - a family is gathered around the Christmas tree.  Under the tree there are presents.  The head of the household takes the gifts one by one and presents them to individual members of the family.  One by one they receive gifts.  One by one each present is distributed until there are no more under the tree.  

Look around.  Could you imagine a family member who has not received a gift while everyone else has at least one?!  How awful.  How unloving.

It’s not that way in God’s family.  Having come to earth to accomplish salvation, having taken our Captors - sin, death, and the devil - captive, God’s Son has “...ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe”.  “When He ascended on high...He gave gifts to men.”  The Ascended LORD Jesus “...gave gifts to men…”.  There’s at least one useful gift for each of His beloved people:  “...to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it”.  Jesus has “done the shopping”, so to say.  He has chosen just the right gift(s) for each of us and given them to us by His Spirit.  

PRAYER:  Dear Jesus, my risen Savior and ascended LORD, thank You for the gift(s) Your grace has chosen for me.  Enable me to discover, to develop, and to deploy them for Your glory and for other’s good.  AMEN

THURSDAY, February 20  Ephesians 4:11-13  “It was He Who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”

Christ’s “body building” plan  The Church is the body of Christ.  He, the Head, has paid a dear price to redeem it.  It is valuable to His purposes.  His body has work to do for Him.  To accomplish His purpose, He has supplied the Church with excellent “fitness instructors” - “...apostles...prophets...evangelists...pastors...teachers…”.  These people with their special gifts are Christ’s gifts to His Church.  Each of those persons uses the Word of Christ in a purposeful way “...to prepare God’s people for works of service”.

Equipped for service by God, His people work.  Through their God-blessed efforts “...the body of Christ is built up”.  The Church grows outwardly and inwardly - the number of believers grow and the believers become stronger in their faith.  Listening to the apostolic and prophetic Word of God and learning from it as it is shared by evangelists, pastors, and teachers - listening and learning together God unites His people ever more strongly in their faith and knowledge.  They become strong productive members - mature disciples of Christ.  More and more Christ dwells in their hearts by faith and expresses His Presence in their lives.

Prepared productive people working together to serve and share Christ - that is a maturing Church of which each of us wants to be a part.

PRAYER:  LORD, through Your Word -  given through prophets and apostles and proclaimed by pastors and teachers - make me a maturing Christian prepared to serve and serving productively.  AMEN


FRIDAY, February 21  Ephesians 4:14-16  “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.  Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into HIm Who is the Head, that is, Christ.  From HIm the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”

“Growing up” in Christ  The LORD doesn’t want any of us to remain baby Christians - people who are an easy mark for fast talking deceivers.  He wants us to “grow up”.  

Christian growth and maturity comes from “speaking the truth in love”.  Knowing the truth about Christ and speaking the truth like Christ, we will steadily grow in our Christ-likeness.  “...we will in all things grow up into Him Who is the Head, that is, Christ”.  This is not done in isolation but in union with other believers. “...the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work”.  United by a common faith and expressing that faith in Christ-like love, each of us does what Christ has gifted us to do and given us to do.  Together we become strong in Christ and for Christ - we “grow up” together.

PRAYER:  LORD, make me a grown-up Christian - united with Christ and other Christians working hard with them while growing closer and closer to You with them.  AMEN

SATURDAY, February 22  Ephesians 4:22b - 24  “...put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”

Off with the old on with the new  Every Christian is a combination of old and new - “old self..new self”.  That “...old self is being corrupted by its deceitful desires”.  Everything about that old self is rotten, rotten to the core.  It cannot be allowed to remain it must be removed.  I cannot let it deceive me that in some way its way of thinking and living is acceptable, that it won’t harm me, or that it might even do me some good.  No!  All it can do is diminish and destroy my life.  This old self must be continually rooted out and destroyed lest it destroy me. It’s a life-long effort -  off with the old!

Instead, I continually need a “...new...attitude”.  A new way, God’s way, of thinking and living.  I need to be the new me, the real me, “...created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness”.  Inspired by a new way of thinking I intentionally pursue a new way of living, a way that is godly and good.  A way that gives God glory and brings blessings to me and through me to others.  This too is a life-long continual effort - on with the new!

PRAYER:  LORD, the new me connected to Christ is now the real me.  By the Spirit of Christ help me in my life-long battle to cast away the old and to cultivate the new.  AMEN

SUNDAY, February 23  Ephesians 4:30  “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with Whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”

Gladness not grief  The Spirit of God lives in you.  The evidence of His Presence is your faith in Jesus.  You didn’t come to that conviction and you have not continued in it without the Holy Spirit.

That Spirit has brought us joy in Jesus.  Now it’s time for us to return the favor by bringing joy to Him as we respond to the godly promptings He puts in our heart through His Word.  We can do that.  Failure to do that “...grieves the Holy Spirit of God”.  

Can you think of some thing or things in your life where you know the Holy Spirit is calling you to follow Christ either by stopping a certain way of thinking or behaving or by starting a new way of t thinking of behaving?  The Holy Spirit of God is calling you to follow but you are responding sluggishly or not at all or, worse yet, are continuing in the opposite way.  Failure to follow the call and guiding of the Spirit of God is grievous to Him and hurtful to us and others.

Take the power of the One Who has persuaded you to believe in Christ.  Take His power now to pursue Christ.  Follow where the Spirit of God is seeking to lead you.  Bring joy to Him and thereby experience being blessed and being a blessing to others.

PRAYER:  O Holy Spirit of God, You have brought me to Jesus and thereby have brought unspeakably great joy to me.  Make my spirit Your spirit so that I follow where You lead bringing You joy instead of grief.  AMEN

 

St. Lucas Lutheran Church and School

(414) 483-9122

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