1822- CHOSEN BY GOD
Good morning to all my on line friends.
Today let’s cover the book of Ephesians and John 17.
I stumbled on them this past week- not realizing the similarity of themes.
In the past I have taught complete bible studies- both on radio and at the same time on the blog.
It took a little longer- because I would write on a chapter- then take 2 or 3 radio programs [15 minute shows] to cover it on air.
I’m not even sure- I think I might have already done a full Ephesians study on the blog?
Ephesians is written by the apostle Paul- though some scholars believe it was written by one of Paul’s disciples- they think it might be more of an elaboration on Paul’s other epistle to the Colossians.
There are various reasons that some scholars do stuff like this- won’t go into all the reasons- in my mind when a bible letter says within the text that Paul wrote it- then I go with that.
The short letter [6 chapters] starts off with a declaration that God chose the believers before he even made the world.
That God had a predestined purpose for them to have become children of God and for this new people of God to reveal the ‘manifold wisdom of God’ to everyone one [thing] else.
One of the verses says that even the angels and powers in heaven ‘learn’ the things of God thru the church.
This really is an amazing statement- that God uses the church to reveal Divine truths to the whole universe!
This theme of God choosing us [them] before the world- to fulfill a purpose that he planned before the world- is a major theme in the first 4 chapters of the book.
He wants them to see that this calling- this place where they are at at the present time- it is a sort of Divine appointment with destiny- that God had planned this before the creation of the world.
And it is now ‘in time’ that they are living out this Divine plan.
In John chapter 17 we read the prayer of Jesus.
Jesus says that he has 'finished’ the work that God gave him to do- which was to reveal God to these disciples that God has given to him.
He says ‘all mine are thine- and thine are mine- and I am glorified in them’.
Jesus also hits on the theme of this being a work of God that he pre-planned before the world was made.
He prays ‘don’t take them out of the world- but keep them from the evil’.
The same theme that we see in the ‘Our Father’.
I find it interesting that one of the more popular ‘end times’ teaching of our day is the Rapture.
Tim Lahaye has popularized this idea in his very successful series of books about the end times.
In the 1980’s- the number one best seller among Christian books [I think it was actually number 1 for all categories?] was Hal Lindsey’s ‘late great planet earth’.
He too took the same line as Lahaye and taught the idea that God was going to take all the Christians ‘from the earth’ and that the world would wonder where they all went.
I have covered this in the past- how the church came to teach this- how the historic church did not teach it- and why I believe the Rapture- as a separate event from the 2nd coming- has no real biblical basis.
The point for this post is part of the prayer of Jesus is ‘I pray not that you would take them out of the world’ which on its face seems to be the opposite of what the Rapture doctrine teaches.
Okay- Jesus revealed the Father to his men.
The apostle Paul told the church ‘God chose you for this before the world was made’.
Jesus believed that these disciples [and by extension the church] were ‘given to him’ by the pre ordained will of God.
What all this means- in a nutshell- is that where you are at right now- all the things you are going thru- God knew it before it ever happened.
And he still picked you for the job!
The Apostle tells them to be strong in the Lord- to pray always- and put on the whole armor of God.
Yes- just because they were chosen- did not mean they could sit around all day doing nothing- they were chosen for a purpose- and it was up to them [by grace] to walk in that purpose.
I would encourage you to try and read these chapters this week- Ephesians is short- but has a lot of good stuff in it.
As you read- look for the theme of God choosing the church before the ‘world was made’.
Notice how often this idea ‘pops up’ in the writing of Paul- and how it plays a major part in the life of the church.
Read- and apply- the instructional aspects of the letter [on family- husbands and wives- children- workers and bosses].
And practice- as much as possible- the ‘put on the armor of God’ teaching found in chapter 6- that section ends with ‘pray for everyone’.
That- in my mind- is the most important part of the instruction.
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John