Yesterday you were supposed to see a picture of a rainbow. Unfortunately, the platform we are using is not able to transfer a picture. So just use your imagination to visualize a perfect full rainbow which it was!
Reader: “At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ”
Response: “—everything in heaven and on earth.”
Scripture: Ephesians 1:3-14
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son.
He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.
God has now revealed to us his mysterious will regarding Christ—which is to fulfill his own good plan. And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth. Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan.
God’s purpose was that we Jews who were the first to trust in Christ would bring praise and glory to God. And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him.
Reader: “This is the word of the Lord.”
Response: “Thanks be to God.”
When we begin to grasp the wonder and significance of this passage, honestly, it is overwhelming! Read the first sentence and the last sentence back to back. In a nutshell, that is why you are on earth. God knew about you and loved you even before he created the world. Since our first parents brought sin and death into the world, and as a result, we became eternal orphans without hope. But God in his great grace, adopted us into his family through Christ, making us heirs with his Son. God wanted to do this. It brought him pleasure. Think about it. You bring God pleasure! (By the way, when Paul refers to “mystery,” it is generally understood to mean something that was formerly hidden and now revealed. It has nothing to do with secret knowledge of some sort.)
Sometimes we may be inclined to think with billions of people in the world and all the people who have lived in the past, that God has probably lost us in the great mass of humanity. Not so! The shed blood of Christ at his death was specifically on your behalf. It was very personal. Without it, you have no hope. The fact of our adoption is not the end of the story by any means. We’ve been given wisdom and understanding. Understanding about what? God’s plan. Paul spells it out in a few succinct phrases. “At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ―everything in heaven and on earth.”
As we battle the tensions and anxieties of living on earth, we are here confronted with ultimate truth. In the words of T. Chalmers, “God never forgets His purposes, though he executes them in His own way and at His own pace.” Or as E.K. Simpson states,”[God] is the unhurried Arbiter of time and its manifold issues. At the center of the wheeling orbs subsists unruffled calm, a serenity tranquil as that of the azure skies on a cloudless midsummer morning, ‘one of those heavenly days which cannot die.’” What a beautiful way to say “at the right time he will bring everything together . . .” Paul goes on to write that this marvelous Good News extends beyond the Jews to all peoples. God marks his own with the gift of the Holy Spirit. It is his guarantee of our eternal inheritance.
The above passage begins with “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms.” The middle part in speaking of God’s plan says, “At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth” and concludes with “He did this so we would praise and glorify him.” The season of Lent is partially about examining our own hearts and depth of love for our Savior. One question, “Why are we so rebellious and think we know better than God?” Just asking.
Music: “Have Thine Own Way Lord” Fountain Valley Academy
Bonus: “Have Thine Own Way Lord” Philippine Madrigal Singers (from Italy!)
Prayer: Come now, little man turn aside for a while from your daily employment, escape for a moment from the tumult of your thoughts. Put aside your weighty cares, let your burdensome distractions wait, free yourself awhile for God and rest awhile in him. Enter the inner chamber of your soul, shut out everything except God and that which can help you in seeking him, and when you have shut the door, seek him. Now, my whole heart, say to God, ‘I seek your face, Lord, it is your face I seek.’ ―Anselm 1033-1109