The purpose of Ephesians is to show the Church who and what they are to be in this world; to show the Church we have received all we need to live victoriously, and it is possible to live in the heavenly dimension. We are exhorted to stop playing church and be the Church. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you how all that you are, by the grace of God, makes you an integral part of the Church of Jesus Christ.
The book of Ephesians teaches us how to apply the principals of Christianity in the most difficult of all the arenas, the home. Paul tells us we must take off the rags of the old man and put on the new mans robes and walk in the Spirit, in love, especially in the home. In the fifth chapter, Paul gives Gods plan for families and that the father and husband is to love as Christ loves the Church.
In this lesson we begin studying Pauls eloquent thank you note to the church at Phillipi; the one he pointed to as an example for others to follow. Phillip was focused on reaching the lost. We are introduced to what is called an inside-out church, which was faithful in its witness. The true church is made up of people who are followers of Christ because they have heard the Holy Spirit calling them to fellowship with Jesus Christ.
The theme of Philippians is Living in Christ through fellowship. Let this mind be in you. Paul emphasizes the importance of humility in the fellowship of believers and to consider others higher than ourselves. He teaches that we can and should know and fulfill Gods good and perfect will for our lives. Paul also said, This one thing I do, I forget the things that are behind and I reach forward to those things which are ahead.
Do you have the continuous peace of God? If not, that should not surprise or disillusion you if you are not meeting Gods conditions. In Philippians 4 Paul teaches us twelve conditions for the peace of God: Do not worry, pray about everything, think on good things, do the right thing, be thankful, have a reputation for gentleness, be patient, accept your circumstances, look up, delight in Him, value the approval of God, and rest your heart and mind in Christ.
The Book of Colossians is Paul's masterpiece on the Christ of the church: Who Christ is, what Christ has done, and His all-sufficiency. The church at Colosse had 3 major problems: a philosophical attack upon the deity and person of Jesus Christ, an intellectual attack upon the faith of the people, and there were Jews imposing legalism upon the church. Paul emphasizes that Christ was Very God. Paul challenges believers to pray earnestly, with thanksgiving.
The theme of Pauls first letter to the Thessalonians is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. It is important to understand that the Second Coming of Jesus Christ is not one event but a series of events. We will note how Paul encourages the Thessalonians with the coming rapture and physical second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul writes that the first thing to happen when the rapture of the church takes place is the dead in Christ shall rise first.
In Thessalonians Paul says the Lord Jesus is coming back and we are to be busy while we watch and wait for His return; pray without ceasing, and always give thanks. Although we cannot know when Jesus will return, He said there are signs of the times to watch for. In Second Thessalonians, Paul explains about the Day of the Lord that will come once Satan is given free reign over the earth before the millennial rule of Jesus Christ.
As we survey the Books of First Timothy, Second Timothy and Titus, we are entering into the "Pastoral Epistles." The Paul/Timothy relationship has been a model for hundreds of thousands of senior pastors and junior pastors throughout church history. II Timothy 2:2, focuses for us a kind of education that will never be replace: teach reliable men who are also capable to teach other men. Paul emphasized the character that the men should have who are going to lead in church.
Paul profiles the Gospel: there is only One Mediator between God and man. In the same sense that Christ oversees the Church and shepherds the Church, a man should shepherd and oversee his wife and family, and men should oversee or shepherd the church. The Bible clearly gives the man the responsibility to be the leader of the home and the church. Paul lists the qualifications for spiritual leaders. Paul teaches us to measure your life by the Word of God.
The Sermon on the Mount is one of the key teachings of the Bible. Jesus preached this sermon on a mountaintop in Galilee when He challenged people who professed to be His disciples to be strategically placed between the love of God and the pain of the hurting people in the world. He challenged His disciples to partner with Him and be conduits of His love. He concluded His sermon with a call to commitment. It changed the lives of many who heard it.
Jesus begins by teaching His disciples eight attitudes called, the beatitudes, or blessed attitudes, because each one is introduced by the word blessed. Jesus is promising to bless the disciple who has each of these attitudes. This word blessed can actually mean happy, spiritually prosperous, or in a state of grace. Each attitude also includes a promise that describes the form in which this blessing will come into the life of that disciple.
The word mercy means unconditional love. When David writes in Psalm 23:6 that mercy will follow him all the days of his life, the word he uses for follow actually means pursue. Gods unconditional love will pursue David all of his life. This is the kind of love for others that we must have too, if we are to be like God.
When we are meek, seeking Gods leadership, we develop a hunger for righteousnessthe desire to live our lives with the goal of pleasing God. We want to know what is right and do what is right. What you do and how you act are important to God. We are called to do what is rightnot just what is expedient. That is what it means to hunger and thirst for righteousness.
Believers sometimes have the misguided opinion that their faith is weak if they show signs of mourning. This beatitude not only supports mourning it links it to a blessing. Mourning a loss is normal and there are things God wants us to learn from the loss. We must let God use our mourning to move us in three ways. First, mourning helps us ask the right questions about life. Second, it helps us to seek Gods answers. Third, it also helps us to accept the blessing God has provided including our salvation.