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Philippians 1:1-7

Thursday, September 20, 2018
“Paul and Timothy, bond-servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now. For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. For it is only right for me to feel this way about you all, because I have you in my heart, since both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of grace with me.”
 
---End of Scripture verses---
 
Paul wrote this spiritually substantive letter to the “saints,” “overseers and deacons” of the church of Christ in the city of Philippi (verse 1). This was, is and should be the constitution of every authorized congregation of the Lord’s people. Notice that in Christ’s church there are no offices of priest, assistant pastor, head pastor, associate minister, archbishop, archdeacon, etc. The word “saint” literally means “holy one,” and that designation is given to anyone who has been sanctified by faith and obedience to the Lord in a covenant relationship with Him. Today, a saint is a faithful Christian.
 
The word “overseer” is the Greek word “episkopos” and it is commonly translated “bishop”. This is a compound word where, according to Vine’s dictionary, “epi” means “over” and “skopeo” means “to look or watch”. The words “elder,” “overseer” and “shepherd” (pastor) are used interchangeably in the New Testament because they are different terms which apply to the same “office” (consider Acts 20:17, 28; 1 Peter 5:1-2). Vine’s also says this about overseers: “The term ‘elder’ indicates the mature spiritual experience and understanding of those so described; the term ‘bishop,’ or ‘overseer,’ indicates the character of the work undertaken. There was always a plurality (more than one) of overseers appointed in each local congregation (Acts 14:23; 20:17; Philippians 1:1; Titus 1:5; James 5:14). For their qualifications and responsibilities see 1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9. Please notice that elders are always men.
 
The word “deacon” means “servant” in its generic sense, but in this passage it refers to the position of certain appointed men who function under the oversight of elders in an official capacity of service to a local congregation. The qualifications for deacon are set forth in 1 Timothy 3:8-13. Vine’s dictionary says of deacons that, “The so-called ‘seven deacons’ in Acts 6 are not there mentioned by that name, though the kind of service in which they were engaged was of the character of that committed to such.” It is the conclusion of many (and logically so I believe) that the function of these seven servants recorded in Acts 6:1-6, as they served the church in Jerusalem under the oversight of the 12 Apostles, mirrors the situation that exists in the church today with saints, elders and deacons. Deacons are always men as well.
 
Paul’s epistle to the Philippians is very much a thank you letter for the service that they had rendered to him while he was suffering imprisonment for the service that was rendering to the Lord. He thanked them for their “participation in the gospel” (verse 5), and that they were “partakers” with him in his “imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel” (verse 7). These brethren had helped to alleviate Paul’s “affliction” (4:14), by sending him a very generous “gift” (4:16-17) to support his needs while he was “getting along with humble means” (4:12) under house arrest in the city of Rome. As a matter of fact, they had contributed to Paul’s needs at his “first preaching of the gospel” (4:16), and they helped him plentifully and frequently (4:17) as he dedicated his life to the preaching of the word.
 
Paul loved these benevolent brethren deeply (verse 7) for their love for him and the Lord, and he wanted to encourage them and assure them that God would continue to be with them, and perfect them (verse 6), and supply their every need “according to His riches and glory in Christ Jesus” (4:19).
 
Please read Philippians 1:8-11 for tomorrow.
 
Have a great day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Introduction to Philippians

Wednesday, September 19, 2018
The city of Philippi derived its name from the ancient Greek king, Philip II of Macedon, the father of Alexander the Great. He rebuilt the city of Krenides in the 4th century B.C. and renamed it after himself. Under Roman control it was strategically located on the Via Egnatia (Egnatian Way), making it a very important city for both military and commercial purposes. In the 1st century A.D. Philippi was said to be “a leading city of the district of Macedonia, a Roman colony” (Acts 16:12).
 
“The characteristic of a colony was primarily that it was a miniature resemblance of Rome. The city itself was laid out in the same pattern of Rome, and even the style and architecture were copied extensively. Its government and customs were also like that of the imperial city. Roman law was used…and its constitution was modeled on the municipal constitution of Rome. The coins used in the city bore Roman inscriptions.” (Truth Commentary of Philippians by Walton Weaver, Guardian of Truth Foundation, Copyright 1996)
 
We read about Paul’s visit to the Macedonian city of Philippi on his second preaching journey in Acts 16:11-40. After Paul received the “Macedonian call” (Acts 16:9-10), he and his travelling companions set sail from Troas in Asia Minor, and crossed over the Aegean Sea. While in the city of Philippi Paul helped to convert Lydia and her family (Acts 16:14-15), and the Philippian jailer and his family (Acts 16:31-34). These constituted the first recorded converts to Christianity on European soil.
 
Please read Philippians 1:1-7 for tomorrow.
 
Have a blessed day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Ephesians 6:21-24

Tuesday, September 18, 2018
“But that you also may know about my circumstances, how I am doing, Tychicus, the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, will make everything known to you. I have sent him to you for this very purpose, so that you may know about us, and that he may comfort your hearts. Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with incorruptible love.”
 
--- End of Scripture verses---
 
Paul referred to Tychicus, who was delivering the letter to the church in Ephesus, as “the beloved brother and faithful minister to the Lord” (verse 21). Tychicus had a close relationship with Paul and with Jesus as he carried out his duties as a “ministering” servant of the Gospel. This epistle to the Ephesians was packed full of divine instruction, admonition and exhortation for the brethren (and us), but Tychicus would personally and verbally relate to the Ephesians how Paul was dealing with his wrongful imprisonment for doing the Lord’s will (verse 22).
 
Paul prayed for and extended “peace”, “faith” and “love” for the Ephesians as he drew his letter to a close (verse 23). Paul desired that all his brethren in Christ have harmonious relations with one another and with God, that they care for one another deeply and that they live lives of obedient faith to the Lord. God’s saving grace is only extended to people who truly love the Lord Jesus Christ with “incorruptible love” (verse 24). Jesus said that if we truly love Him we will keep His commandments (John 14:15, 23). This is the kind of love this is sincere, deep, active, spiritual, intellectual, emotional, obedient, consistent and persistent.
 
Lord willing we will have some introductory remarks on Paul’s letter to the Philippians tomorrow and begin reading the text on Wednesday.
 
Have a blessed day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Ephesians 6:18-20

Monday, September 17, 2018
“With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.”
 
--- End of Scripture verses---
 
When we suit up with the full armor of God for battle every day, we are to do so “with all prayer and petition” (verse 18). Even though prayer is not listed as an official aspect of the armor, it is an indispensable part of the daily life and routine of the soldier of Christ. There is no way to endure the daily struggles of life without summoning our all-powerful Champion from heaven to our side to fight our battles with us and for us.
 
The word “prayer” is the general, “umbrella” word for all types of communication with God. The word “petition” is an “entreaty” or a cry to God for help in times of need. Prayer is most effective when we approach our Captain with all reverence and humility, and express to Him our complete dependence upon Him for every provision that we need to obtain victory over Satan and His arrows and schemes.
 
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Now to our God and Father be the glory forever and ever. Amen” (Philippians 4:19-20).
 
As good soldiers, we must “be on the alert” at all times for the dangers that are ever-present in this world of temptation and sin. “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.” (1 Peter 5:8-9)
 
Our prayers should not be limited to supplications for our own wants and needs. We should also petition God for “all the saints” (verse 18) who are immersed in the same battle against the powers of spiritual wickedness, and going through “the same experiences of suffering.” The more we pray for them, and the more they pray for us, the more heaven’s power and blessings will be showered down upon us. Let’s pray for our “boldness” to speak “the mystery of the gospel” to this lost and dying world (verse 19). Let’s pray for the safety and effectiveness of the faithful Gospel preachers of the world and their ability to “speak boldly” as they ought to speak as well (verse 20).
 
Suit up every day prayer warriors and storm the gates of heaven for all who are in need and distress! That includes ourselves!
 
Please read Ephesians 6:21-24 for tomorrow.
 
Have a great day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Ephesians 6:13-17

Sunday, September 16, 2018
 
“Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
 
--- End of Scripture verses---
 
Since the life-and-death battle that we are continually engaged in is “against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (verse 12), we simply must “take up the full armor of God” (verse 13). We are not strong enough to put together a winning plan of attack against the spiritual wickedness of Satan and his legions without God’s grace and plans and equipment. God provides this armor so all the power, praise, honor and glory belong to Him for the security and victory that it provides. But, we MUST take it up and put it on and use it!!!
 
We must wrap the truth around us like a belt or girdle. This was the foundational element of the armor of the Roman soldier. It cinched his clothing around his core to provide strength and much needed support and mobility for fight or flight scenarios. I am reminded of the Apostle Peter’s exhortation to, “gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13). The only way to gird up the loins of our minds and to be ready for action is to get ourselves all wrapped up in God’s TRUTH!
 
We must “put on the breastplate of righteousness” that we derive from God’s truth every day. We must strive to be morally upright, and holy as God is holy, if we plan to resist the temptations that are hurled at us consistently from all of Satan’s points of attack. If we have not thoroughly equipped ourselves with the truth and purposed in our hearts in advance that we will take a strong moral stance against sin and temptation, we will not be able to stand in the heat of the battle!
 
No good soldier would dare to be caught barefoot in a warzone. We must have our feet shod “with the preparation of the Gospel of peace” (verse 15). Once again, preparation in advance of attack is emphasized in this verse. We must give foresight to having a firm footing for fleeing or fighting in our war against spiritual wickedness. It is the “Good News” of what Christ has accomplished for us that provides our nimbleness and swiftness of foot as  we parry in battle. God equips us with the Gospel of “peace” even as we engage in conflict. It is very encouraging to know that even as the war rages around us, “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).
 
To guard our hearts and minds, we also need “the shield of faith” (verse 16), and “the helmet of salvation” (verse 17). Both of these implements, of course, are provided by God through the Bible. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). The Gospel is “the power of God to salvation” (Romans 1:16). And “the sword of the Spirit” is “the word of God.” Not all of the weapons which God provides us are for defense only but, as with the sword, some are offensive for taking the battle to the enemy. But, you simply cannot miss the fact that all of this equipment and weaponry are provided by God through His living, active, powerful, enduring word.
 
Do you think maybe that plunging ourselves deeply within the word of God on a daily basis just might possibly be critical for our spiritual life and welfare, and our ultimate, eternal victory over our greatest enemy (Satan) and our greatest danger (sin)?! I am reminded of the lines from the wonderfully stirring hymn “Soldiers of Christ Arise!” “Stand, then, in His great might, with all His strength endued; But take to arm you for the fight the panoply of God.” “Leave no unguarded place, no weakness of the soul; take every virtue, every grace, and fortify the whole.” Leave no unguarded place friend! Take up the FULL armor of God every day!
 
Please read Ephesians 6:18-20 for tomorrow.
 
If you have no plans to worship God today, please come visit us at the Taylorsville Road church of Christ.
 
3741 Taylorsville Road. 9:30 AM Bible class. 10:30 AM worship service. 5:00 PM worship service.
 
Have a safe and blessed Lord’s Day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Ephesians 6:10-12

Saturday, September 15, 2018
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
 
--- End of Scripture verses---
 
Often as I exercise in the gym at work, I observe how much strenuous effort the people put into strengthening their physical bodies. Working hard for a strong and healthy body is a wise thing to do, but I know that, in the end, we are all fighting a losing battle in that regard. All of our bodies will eventually fail us no matter how diligent we are in our pursuit of strength and health. I will continue to fight this physical fight for as long as the Lord gives me the ability and will to do so. But the most important exercise that we can engage in as human beings is of the spiritual variety.
 
Make no mistake about it, it takes a great deal of effort to acquire and maintain spiritual strength. The Holy Spirit tells us in verse 10 to “be strong in the Lord.” That is a command that requires action and exertion. We simply must put time in at the spiritual gymnasium in order to gain spiritual strength. We must “suit up” every day with the “full armor of God” (verse 12). We will see in tomorrow’s reading that this requires equipping ourselves daily by immersing ourselves in the word of God, and also by praying “at all times in the Spirit” (verse 18).
 
When we “put on” the armor that God provides for us, He is actually the one who is equipping us with the “strength of His might” (verse 10). The power that is contained in the word of God and in prayer emanates from the glorious throne of God in heaven. The power that spoke the universe into existence from mere thought is the power behind our armor and our personal strengthening. No one of us is strong enough personally and individually to “stand firm against the schemes of the devil” (verse 11). But, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). Even when we are physically and emotionally weak, we can be strong through God’s grace if we avail ourselves of His spiritual provision (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).
 
Our greatest and most consequential battle is against the “spiritual forces of wickedness” (verse 12) that are crafted by Satan and his wily scheming. If we are not putting up a fight then we are losing. There is no escaping the war that is being waged during every second of life on earth after reaching the point of “spiritual accountability”. We are either fighting with God on the winning side, or we are being defeated and taken captive as prisoners of war in the enemy’s camp. The commands are stern and startling. Be strong! Suit up! Stand firm! Be resolute in your battle against the adversary! War is no place for spiritual wimps! You are in a warzone friend. Suit up and take the battle to the enemy!
 
Please read Ephesians 6:13-17 for tomorrow.
 
Have a blessed day! -
 
Louie Taylor

Ephesians 6:5-9

Friday, September 14, 2018
“Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ; not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free. And masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.”
 
--- End of Scripture verses---
 
This passage in no way sanctions slavery, and no one can properly and rightfully use the Bible to justify the atrocities that have taken place in the world, and even in our own country, in the form of human bondage and forced servitude. But slavery was a prevalent reality in the Roman Empire of the first century. It is impossible to know for certain, but it has been estimated that between 30-40 percent of the people living in Rome were slaves. Since God desires all people to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4), the truth is made for everyone, whether they have the status of slave or king or anywhere in between.
 
The Gospel is designed to transform people and save their souls, and not produce political upheaval or societal revolution. So, God inspired the preachers and teachers of the Gospel to instruct everyone to be the very best person they could be in whatever position they found themselves in. There were both slaves and slave owners who obeyed the Gospel in the first century and gave their lives to God. For example, while Paul was in prison he converted a man named Onesimus who was the runaway slave of a Christian named Philemon. Paul convinced Onesimus that it was right for him to go back to his master and fulfill his duties, but he also encouraged Philemon to treat his penitent slave as his beloved brother in Christ (Philemon 1:10-16).
 
You can be a slave and still be a Christian, just as long as you understand that your first priority is a call of service to the Lord (verses 6-7). And you can be a master and still be a Christian, just as long as you understand that you have a Master in heaven that you will answer to for the way that you treat the people that He created in His image (verse 9). The two greatest commandments are to love the Lord with all you’ve got, and to love your neighbor as yourself, whether that neighbor be your servant or your superior.
 
A good application for us to make in our lives today is in the situation that exists with our jobs and careers. God holds us responsible for treating all people fairly and lovingly whether we work for them or they work for us. It doesn’t matter if we are an owner, supervisor, manual laborer, skilled laborer, pencil pusher or computer technician—we all are called by God as Christians to be holy as He is holy, and to do our work to the very best or our ability. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there is no favoritism.” (Colossians 3:23-25 – NIV)
 
Please read Ephesians 6:10-12 for tomorrow.
 
Blessings!
 
- Louie Taylor

Ephesians 6:1-4

Thursday, September 13, 2018
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER (which is the first commandment with a promise), SO THAT IT MAY BE WELL WITH YOU, AND THAT YOU MAY LIVE LONG ON THE EARTH. Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
 
--- End of Scripture verses---
 
My six-year-old daughter can quote verses 1-3 verbatim. This is one of the very first passages that we had her commit to memory. She has still not been convinced of the veracity and the value of these verses but it is our prayer that, with enough teaching and impressing the Lord’s will upon her mind, it will become second nature for her to honor her mom and dad. As we read these and other verses about obedience to parents to her, we always try to stress that learning to follow the rule of her mother and father is critical to her learning to submit her will to her Father in heaven so that she can live with Him eternally.
 
So many of the “dishonorable” people in our society, and those who suffer from dissatisfaction in life and a sense of entitlement were never taught to honor their father and mother as children. This was the first of the Ten Commandments given “with a promise” (verse 2). The promise was that “it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth” (verse 3). Far too many people are living but not very well, and far too many have died earlier than they should have, because they never learned the value and importance of respecting their parents and honoring the Creator of the Universe.
 
While teaching children to honor their parents is a critical part of bringing “them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (verse 4), we as parents (and especially fathers) must make certain to not “provoke them to anger” in the process. Discipline does not merely consist of firm demands and corporal punishment. That kind of parenting will only frustrate and exasperate a child. The essence of the word discipline is teaching, training and instructing. Proper, godly, effective discipline is a combination and balance of teaching, correction, punishment, love and mercy. It’s kind of like walking a tight rope while simultaneously juggling five flaming bowling pins! Okay it’s not quite THAT difficult and demanding, but it sure takes a lot of patience and repentance while trying to raise up a child in the nurture and admonition of the Lord! God please help us with this vocation! And especially me! In Jesus’ name, amen!
 
Please read Ephesians 6:5-9
 
Have a blessed day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Ephesians 5:25-33

Wednesday, September 12, 2018
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body. FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND SHALL BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.”
 
--- End of Scripture verses---
 
Christ “gave Himself up” for His bride, the church (verse 25). God expects husbands to follow the example of Jesus and to sacrifice themselves for their wives. Jesus always put the needs and wellbeing of His beloved before His own self. He often sacrificed food and sleep in order to serve His future bride, and ultimately gave up His own life in order to save and “sanctify her” (verse 26). Marriage is not always easy. It takes a lot of love, patience and hard work. If we as husbands make the effort to follow in the example of our Savior, that is the kind of “headship” that our wives can willingly and lovingly submit to.
 
Husbands are to “love their own wives as their own bodies” (verse 28). Unfortunately many people treat their bodies poorly and even subject them to some forms of physical abuse. But, ideally, I think most of us would prefer to pamper and protect and nourish our bodies so that they can be rested, safe, healthy and sound. We should love our wives and treat them tenderly and kindly so that they can flourish and prosper in a rough, harsh, unforgiving world. When we consider the fact that the Lord binds a husband and wife together in the union of “one flesh” (Genesis 2:24), it is not difficult to understand that when a husband loves his wife he actually “loves himself” and loves his own body!
 
It is sad to have to point this out, but it is significant to notice that a husband is to love “his own” wife (verse 28)! There is no excuse for a husband to be unfaithful to his wife! Ever! Period! End of story! It doesn’t matter how “unloved” he may feel, or how “unattractive” he may find her to be! The marriage bonds are forged by God between 1 man and 1 woman 4 life! “And He answered and said, 'Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE, and said, "FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH"? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.'” (Matthew 19:4-6)
 
SACRIFICE gentlemen!
 
Finally a friendly public service announcement for the wives: few things are more important to a man in a marriage than that he feel respected by his wife. What Paul said at the end of verse 33 was not an incidental comment. It was very purposeful, impactful and meaningful. Ladies if you do not show your husband respect it will make his job as leader, provider and protector much more difficult than it has to be. If you like to poke fun at your husband by “jokingly” mocking him and ridiculing him in the presence of other people, he may be a good sport and laugh and play along with you, but I can assure you that he doesn’t like it! And private respect is just as important to him as public respect, and maybe even more so. If the things that he does for you and has to say to you are insignificant to you, he doesn’t feel respected or loved. Respect and love are inseparable!
 
Please read Ephesians 6:1-4 for tomorrow.
 
Have a great day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Ephesians 5:22-24

Tuesday, September 11, 2018
“Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.”
 
--- End of Scripture verses---
 
Few Bible subjects are more uncomfortable to talk about than the idea of wives being in “subjection” to their husbands. This is very offensive to the sensitivities of the Western mind. Thoughts of “inequality” and “female oppression” and “spousal abuse” come to the minds of many people when something of this sort is discussed. I just did a quick synonym search for the word “subjection” on my word processor and the words “domination,” “subjugation,” “enslavement,” and “oppression” were given. But in God’s arrangement for the family and the congregation, He placed men in the position of the “head,” and this role has nothing to do with slavery or oppression.
 
All this really means is that God has given men the responsibility of leadership in the home and in the church. As with any other entity that involves interaction between people, proper leadership is required for its prosperity and peace. The church and family are certainly not exceptions to this truth. Whether it be a school, a sports league, a business or a nation, without duly designated leaders diligently doing their duties, and without the proper respect for and submission to that authority, chaos and collapse would ensue. The family and the church need godly leaders, and willing participants to defer to their God-given authority.
 
This does not mean that men should make unilateral decisions without the input of the women in their families and congregations. It just means that, after having properly considered all legitimate contribution in matters of judgment, the leaders are responsible to make the final decisions. As the men are to submit to Christ’s authority, so the wives are to follow the husbands’ lead (verse 24). This necessarily implies that husbands should do everything within their power to lead their wives and families in the ways and teaching and authority of Jesus.
 
Our society has intentionally blurred the lines between man and woman, male and female, masculinity and femininity. Regardless of how the world views the roles and characteristics of gender, God’s ways are always best. God still requires wives to “be submissive to your own husbands,” and He still esteems “chaste and respectful behavior” from women, and “the imperishable quality of a gentle and quite spirit” are still “precious” in His sight (1 Peter 3:1-4)! You can choose the ways of the world if you like, but, as for me and my house, we are going with God on this one! As always and in everything else as well!
 
Please read Ephesians 5:25-33 for tomorrow.
 
Have a blessed day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Ephesians 5:18-21

Monday, September 10, 2018
“And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.”
 
--- End of Scripture verses---
 
In verses 15-16 the inspired author told us to walk as wise men, make the most of our time, and understand what the Lord’s will for us is. The direct opposite of this manner of life is getting “drunk with wine” (verse 18). It is impossible to exercise wisdom and take advantage of our opportunities to do good when we recklessly navigate under the mind-altering influences of drugs and alcohol. Drinking alcohol goes against the Lord’s will. We are much more likely to make foolish, harmful and even devastating decisions while our minds are blurred and distorted by booze. Getting “buzzed up” never sharpens our senses but only dulls them, and our quality of life is always worsened and never improved.
 
Being “filled with the Spirit” has just the opposite effect on our minds and lives than getting drunk does. Filling our minds with the Spirit-inspired word of God clarifies our thoughts and sharpens our focus for doing the Lord’s will. Paul is not telling us to be “drunk with the Spirit,” but to be sobered by His presence so that we can stay focused completely on His grace and revelation (1 Peter 1:13). “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). The Holy Spirit’s influence produces self-control within us, not some sort of “supernatural,” uncontrolled, “spiritual” frenzy.
 
An appropriate “outpouring” from being “under the influence” of the Holy Spirit is expressing thanksgiving to the Lord in song for all of His abundant, benevolent provisions (verse 20). The “melody” that we make should come from the heart, not the piano or the guitar (verse 19). The Holy Spirit authorizes us to “sing” using the instruments that the Lord has created and that please Him (our heart and voice), and not the instruments that humans can make and that are pleasing to them. Lift your voice and praise Him in Song! Sing and be happy today!
 
Please read Ephesians 5:22-24 for tomorrow.
 
Hope you have a great day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Ephesians 5:15-17

Sunday, September 09, 2018
“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”
 
--- End of Scripture verses---
 
Wise people take advantage of the opportunities they have been given to do God’s will because it is foolishness to waste precious time. We should take the time to speak the truth in love to people because we never know if we will be the lamp that shines the Gospel light into the lives of the folks that we know and meet. “Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person. (Colossians 4:5-6)
 
It is wise to take the time that God has afforded us and make opportunity to do good deeds for our fellowman. If we are all wrapped up in serving self and seeking pleasure that is wasting time and sowing to the flesh. “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.” (Galatians 6:7-10)
 
“So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (verse 17). Some people are honestly flummoxed because they just cannot figure out what the Lord’s will for them is. While God gives us a free will and does not plan out what every little detail of our daily lives should be, He does tell us plainly what He wants the most for each of us. Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 4:3, “For this is the will of God, your sanctification…” It is God’s will that every person live a righteous, holy, obedient life of godliness, and that we all obey the Gospel and be saved and grow in the knowledge of truth (1 Timothy 2:4), and stay faithful to His commandments until death (Revelation 2:10).
 
Please read Ephesians 5:18-21 for tomorrow.
 
Please come visit us today at the Taylorsville Road church of Christ and worship the Lord with us in spirit and in truth.
 
3741 Taylorsville Road. 9:30 AM Bible class. 10:30 AM worship period. 5:00 PM worship period.
 
Have a blessed Lord’s Day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Ephesians 5:11-14

Saturday, September 08, 2018
 
“Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. For this reason it says, ‘Awake, sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.’”
 
--- End of Scripture verses---
 
Light and darkness cannot coexist. If we are truly light in Christ then we can have no part with the “unfruitful deeds of darkness” (verse 12). The Apostle Paul asked some rhetorical questions in 2 Corinthians 6:14-16: “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols?” There is no partnership, fellowship, harmony, commonality, agreement between those who are walking in the light and those who are walking in the darkness of sin; and there certainly can be no participation.
 
That is not to say that we should not help the people who are fumbling in the darkness to see the light of truth and be saved. We should shine our light in their lives in such a way that “exposes” people’s sinful deeds as evil and unacceptable. This should be done with our words and our actions (or inactions). The goal is not only to “reprove them” (KJV), but to make their misdeeds “visible” (verse 13) so that they can actually observe their “unfruitful deeds” for what they are, and actually see how God sees them in His perfect light.
 
When Jesus blinded Saul, before he became the Apostle Paul, on the road to Damascus, He said to him: “But get up and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you; rescuing you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you, to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.” (Acts 26:16-18)
 
When we live in the death-grip of sin and error we are aimlessly sleepwalking through life, and that walk only leads to eternal darkness and death! It is time to wake up “and arise from the dead” (verse 14)! Christ died and arose from the dead to defeat sin and to shine His light on us! In Him is life and His life is the light of men (John 1:4)! He is “the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man” (John 1:9)! Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life” (John 8:12). Please do not choose the darkness of death over the Light of life!
 
Please read Ephesians 5:15-17 for tomorrow.
 
Have a great day!

Ephesians 5:6-10

Friday, September 07, 2018
“Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them; for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.”
 
--- End of Scripture verses---
 
Anyone who would try to convince you that promiscuity is no big deal, and that obscenities are just words, and that there is really no such thing as sin is only trying to deceive you, because they have most certainly deceived themselves. When we disobey God and His good will for us, we incur His righteous wrath. The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 1:18, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.” God’s punitive wrath comes in the form of the awful consequences of sins—the further hardening of consciences, the shattering of families and relationships, legal, financial and health troubles, etc., and will ultimately result in eternal damnation.
 
Paul continues to use the method of vivid contrast to depict our existence before coming to Christ, and the true life that we live in Christ. He wrote about the “old self” and the “new self” in chapter four, and now he uses the metaphor of “darkness” and “light” (verse 7). When we live our life dedicated to sin it is like walking and groping in the dangers of darkness. When we are living lives of light in Christ Jesus, we abide by the principles of “all goodness and righteousness and truth” (verse 9). When we walk in the security of light and endeavor to be “pleasing to the Lord” (verse 10) in all that we do, even when we do mess up and sin from time to time, the blood of Christ cleanses us and shields us from God’s wrath when we repent.
 
“This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.” (1 John 1:5-10)
 
The most important thing we can do in life is make it our chief ambition to please God (2 Corinthians 5:9). Everything else pales in importance because nothing that this world has to offer us is worth missing heaven over. If we choose to love and obey God in all goodness, righteousness and truth, we have hope of a better present and a brighter eternity, no matter what fleeting, earthly pleasures we may have to forgo, and no matter what difficulties we may have to endure. “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).
 
Please read Ephesians 5:11-14 for tomorrow.
 
Have a blessed day !

Ephesians 5:3-5

Thursday, September 06, 2018
“But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.”
 
--- End of Scripture verses---
 
Paul is still writing about laying aside the old self and putting on the new self (4:23-24) when he lists these two groups of three sins. It is interesting to me that he starts this combined list by condemning sexual “immorality” (verse 3), and ends with denouncing “coarse jesting” (verse 4). I think most people understand in their hearts that fornication is sinful, even if they refuse to admit it and have hardened their hearts to the truth. But usually people can justify telling “dirty jokes” because it is all done in “fun” and theoretically no harm is being done to anyone.
 
The Holy Spirit is telling us here that, in God’s eyes, the one is just as bad as the other. And I believe that there is a reason that the sins of sexual immorality and “filthiness” and coarseness of speech are condemned in the same context. Quite often the sinful talk leads to the sinful act. We have commented that all sin is a problem with the “heart” or the “mind” because it originates there. What we let into our hearts through sight, sound and touch, often finds expression through our thoughts, words and deeds. We must learn to control our thoughts and our tongues if we ever hope to control our bodies and our actions.
 
It is also interesting to me that “immorality” and “greed” are grouped together in verse 3. There may appear to be no common ground with these sins, but they are really both issues of lust. The Apostle John wrote about this problem in 1 John 2:15-17. “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.”
 
A full two-thirds of the worldliness that plagues mankind comes from lust. If we think that lusting after other people’s bodies (immorality – lust of the flesh) and possessions (greed – lust of the eyes) is not a problem for us, we have probably deceived ourselves. Greedily coveting (strongly desiring) what the world offers is actually a form of idolatry in God’s eyes (verse 5). These are sins (the thoughts and the actions) that are common to mankind and must be admitted, addressed and confronted if we want to have “an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God,” and live forever.
 
Please read Ephesians 5:6-10 for tomorrow.
 
Have a great day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Ephesians 5:1-2

Wednesday, September 05, 2018
“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.”
 
--- End of Scripture verses---
 
Little children love their parents and completely depend upon them as they develop an understanding of the world in which they live. The little ones watch mom and dad like a hawk and pick up their habits, quirks and speech patterns—for better or for worse. As parents, we must be extra careful around our little “sponges” because they are soaking up much of what we do and say, and we want to set the best example that we possibly can so that they will grow up to be loving, responsible, godly adults.
 
We will leave our kids the best kind of example to imitate if we pattern our lives after our perfect, loving Father in heaven. John 1:18 tells us, “No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.” Jesus “explained” or “declared” the Father to us by showing us how to “walk in love” with the perfect life that He lived. Jesus said to the Apostle Philip in John 14:9, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father.”
 
Jesus declared the Father to us by living righteously, lovingly and sacrificially. Jesus “went about doing good” to all people (Acts 10:38). Love was the motivation behind Jesus coming to this earth and for everything that He did as He walked upon the face of the earth. And of course, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Jesus stretched love to its greatest extent by sacrificing His very life in order to help us with our greatest problem and need.
 
When we follow the example of Jesus by waking as He waked and talking as he talked, that is a sacrifice that smells sweet to the Lord!
 
Please read Ephesians 5:3-5 for tomorrow.
 
Have a blessed day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Ephesians 4:31-32

Tuesday, September 04, 2018
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”
 
--- End of Scripture verses---
 
The sins in verse 31 sink their roots in the heart and find their expression in the “unwholesome” words that proceed from the mouth (verse 29). Bitterness grows within our hearts when we firmly plant and cultivate animosity and resentment there, and refuse to forgive a person for a wrong they have done (whether real or perceived). The Hebrew writer tells us that when a “root of bitterness” springs up, it “causes trouble, and by it many be defiled” (Hebrews 12:15). That is because it is very difficult to keep bitterness in the heart and it is often spewed forth from the tongue.
 
When we allow “wrath” to boil and “anger” to seethe within us, outbursts of contentious “clamor” and “slander” against the good name of a fellow human being often ensue. The only remedy for this horrid, hardened condition of heart is to break out the “tenderizer”. The Lord expects us to be “kind” and “tender-hearted” to one another, just as He has been to us. God willingly and eagerly forgives us of all of our sins, and I can assure you that we have wronged Him exponentially more times than the harm that others have done to us.
 
Friends and brethren, true love does not harbor resentment, hold grudges, spew slander. The love of God will never fail nor lose its mercy. Let’s make every effort to emulate the love of our Father in heaven (chapter 5 verse 1).
 
Please read Ephesians 5:1-2 for tomorrow.
 
Have a blessed day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Ephesians 4:29-30

Monday, September 03, 2018
“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”
 
--- End of Scripture verses---
 
One of the most difficult things for a human being to control is his mouth. James wrote in James 3:8-10: “But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way.” The Apostle Paul tells us that a big part of putting on the new self is putting a good filter on the tongue.
 
He said that we should make every effort to speak “no” (not even one) “unwholesome word”. The word “unwholesome” means base, shameful, filthy or rotten. This would include “curse” words or obscenities, dirty jokes (5:4), sexual innuendo, insults, angry words or “abusive speech” (Colossians 3:8) of any kind. The problem that this kind of talk causes for the hearers is that it is only good for their destruction and not their “edification”. We should be in the business of building people up with our words and not tearing them down. This means we should be very thoughtful, intentional and selective with our verbal communication.
 
Jesus said in Matthew 12:34 that, “the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.” Speaking “wholesome” words is as much about “heart-control” as it is about “tongue-control”. Let’s be careful about the kinds of thoughts, words and images that we allow into our hearts and harbor there. What goes into the mind through our eyes and ears is very likely to come of our mouths in the form of words.
 
Jesus went on to say in Matthew 12:35-36: “The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil. But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned." Our words are a very big deal. With our words we can please the Lord or actually “grieve” (upset, trouble, sadden) Him. Our words make a difference in the lives of the people we talk to, and they have a bearing on our own spiritual wellbeing.
 
Let’s focus on speaking words that “give grace to those who hear”!
 
Please read Ephesians 4:31-32 for tomorrow.
 
Have a great day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Ephesians 4:28

Sunday, September 02, 2018
“He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need.”
 
--- End of Scripture verses---
 
The right thing to do is not only to stop taking things that do not belong to you, but also to start sharing the things that do belong to you. It is good to be industrious, work hard and make an honest living. And then, to take some of your hard-earned money and set it free by helping out others who have fallen upon hard times. That not only helps the person in need, but it also helps us to liberate ourselves from the grips of greed and to lighten our load of earthly possessions—all of which are on loan from God, and none of which we will be taking into eternity with us.
 
“Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased” (Hebrews 13:15-16).
 
“Share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter — when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood” (Isaiah 58:7).
 
“He who is generous will be blessed, for he gives some of his food to the poor.” (Proverbs 22:9).
 
“One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the LORD, and He will repay him for his good deed.” (Proverbs 19:17)
 
“There is one who scatters, and yet increases all the more, and there is one who withholds what is justly due, and yet it results only in want. The generous man will be prosperous, and he who waters will himself be watered” (Proverbs 11:24-25)
 
Please read Ephesians 4:29-30 for tomorrow.
 
 
Please come visit us today at the Taylorsville Road church of Christ and worship the Lord with us in spirit and in truth.
 
3741 Taylorsville Road. 9:30 AM Bible class. 10:30 AM worship period. 5:00 PM worship period.
 
Have a blessed Lord's Day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Ephesians 4:25-27

Saturday, September 01, 2018
“Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity.”
 
--- End of Scripture verses---
 
Part of flinging off the old self like a dirty, nasty, smelly shirt, and putting on the new self is “laying aside falsehood” and speaking the truth (verse 25). Jesus said that Satan “is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44). If we follow in the steps of the adversary of all humanity, we will have our part “in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death," that is reserved “for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars” (Revelation 21:8). “Truth is in Jesus” (verse 21), so we can’t be in Him or have any part with Him if we are not of the truth.
 
“Be angry, and yet do not sin” (verse 26). Anger is a legitimate emotion that God has given to us, but many, many people have problems controlling their anger. It is only natural and understandable when someone does us wrong that we become upset about that. But if we do not learn to practice self-control and take hold of our anger, it will overpower us and we will do and say sinful things that harm other people, and sabotage our relationships, and destroy our souls.
 
That’s why it is so important to “not let the sun go down on your anger.” If we harbor anger in our hearts it will cause us to seethe with bitterness and resentment, and we neither want to wake a new day with our mind set on animosity, nor face the Lord in judgment with a heart filled of hatred. In this verse Paul cites Psalm 4:4 which also says, “meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still.” If you go to bed angry, try not to fall asleep until you have given your anger to the Lord and resolved the issue in your heart. “This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God” (James 1:19-20).
 
“Do not give the devil an opportunity” (verse 27). Please understand that when we harbor anger and resentment that we are only playing right into the devil’s hand! Getting mad is not sinful, but it sure does provide for perfect and ample “opportunity” for many sins to be committed! Friends, if we do not learn to control our anger, it will control us and destroy us!!! “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:22-24).
 
Please read Ephesians 4:28 for tomorrow.
 
Have a blessed day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Ephesians 4:20-24

Friday, August 31, 2018
“But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”
 
--- End of Scripture verses---
 
In order for a person to come out of the “futility” (verse 17), “darkened…understanding,” “ignorance” and “hardness” (verse 18) of sin, they simply must “learn Christ” (verse 20). It requires studying the Bible, and learning the commandments of Jesus, and “observing” His own personal “walk,” that is revealed in the pages of the New Testament, to lift the darkness of ignorance and shine the light of awareness and comprehension.
 
“Truth is in Jesus” (verse 21). Divine, perfect, absolute truth can only be learned by delving deeply into Jesus. We learn truth by learning who Jesus is, and what He did and still does, and what His will and plans and commands for us are. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6). In Jesus is the truth that illuminates the only way to the Father in heaven where eternal life can be found.
 
The magnificent transformation that Paul writes about in these verses requires “that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind” (verse 22). In order to be pleasing to God we all need a mental and spiritual renewal that can only be generated through learning Jesus and His perfect revelation. Paul wrote in Romans 12:2, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
 
The only way that we can “prove what the will of God is,” is to go to the revelation of His mind. Within the Bible lies the force to elicit this transformation that conforms us into the likeness of Christ. The Bible is the only place where we can find the power to “put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth” (verse 24).
 
Get to know the Savior. Spend time with Him in study and in prayer. Learn His ways and adopt them as your own. You will never regret the positive changes that He can make in your life.
 
Please read Ephesians 4:25-27 for tomorrow.
 
Have a blessed day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Ephesians 4:17-19

Thursday, August 30, 2018
“So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.”
 
--- End of Scripture verses---
 
Starting in verse 17 and extending through the rest of chapter 4, the Apostle Paul and the Lord Jesus “affirm” together our need for a total makeover. In this section of the letter we are told to “lay aside the old self” (verse 22), and “put on the new self” (verse 23), in a continual renewing and remodeling of our lives after the perfect example of Christ. We simply can “no longer” live our lives (“walk”), the in the sinful ways that we used to before we came to the Lord in obedient faith.
 
Before we were touched and enlightened and saved by the Gospel, we existed in a shroud of spiritual darkness. We did not have a good understanding of God’s will for our lives, and the damage that we were doing to ourselves, because of “ignorance”. This lack of understanding on our part was likely a combination of willful ignorance and a careless unawareness. But whether our ignorance was intentional or inadvertent, it still “excluded” us “from the life of God.”
 
Persisting in this condition of alienation from God and deviation from His will for a prolonged period of time can ultimately lead to a “hardened” and “calloused” heart. We can actually progress in our stubborn rebellion and sinfulness to such a degree that we become “past feeling” (verse 19 – NKJV). In this horrid condition a person becomes completely “given” over to “sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity.”
 
The point is that we can start to slip backward and drift in the wrong direction at any time if we are not overly careful, and this can eventually lead to a “spiritual freefall”. We must continually be “checking our walk” and repenting and making the necessary corrections and improvements that point us in the direction of godliness. There is no more devastating place for any person to find himself than “excluded from the life of God”!
 
Please read Ephesians 4:20-24 for tomorrow.
 
Blessings!
 
- Louie Taylor

Ephesians 4:14-16

Wednesday, August 29, 2018
“As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.”
 
--- End of Scripture verses---
 
Christ is the head of the church, “from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.” Jesus is “the brain” that supplies and controls all the essentials for the life and growth of the body. We are totally dependent upon Him and the blessings that He provides through His living, active word of truth (Hebrews 4:12), and His providence.
 
But “the proper working of each individual part” is crucial for the health and prosperity of the body as well. Each one of us, as members of Christ’s body (church), has a part to play and a contribution to make to the whole “organism” that is vital for its wellbeing. Every member is important and no member is excluded from this responsibility to “supply” what he/she is able for the “building up” of the body.
 
If we choose to do nothing, we become more of a liability than an asset, and only a consumer and not a contributor. This will “retard” the growth of the individual as well as the body, and the more members that take this approach, the greater the workload that will be thrust upon the overburdened “willing participants”. If we choose to go “rogue” and refuse to take orders from the Head (Jesus), we will get “carried about by every wind of doctrine” (metaphor shift) and corrupt the truth and poison the body and divide the members.
 
So, we all need to be “working” and working “properly” in order for the body to grow and build itself up “in love”. If love for the Head (Jesus) and each member (brother/sister) is the motivation behind our endeavors, we will put the needs of others before self (Philippians 2:3), and God’s will before our own, selfish desires (Romans 12:2); and the body will grow spiritually, numerically, peacefully.
 
Please read Ephesians 4:17-19 for tomorrow.
 
Have a blessed day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Ephesians 4:14-16

Tuesday, August 28, 2018
“As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.”
 
--- End of Scripture verses---
 
Children are my favorite people in the whole wide world. I love so very much about them including their cuteness and silliness. A big part of me dreads the thought of my sweet little daughter growing up. But I know that, Lord willing, she will, and indeed that she must! If she were to stay this little and immature for many years then something would be dreadfully wrong with her health, growth and development!
 
God expects babes and children in Christ to grow to spiritual maturity as well. It is not cute at all when longtime Christians still behave silly and make foolish and harmful decisions. One vital aspect of spiritual growth and development is getting a good handle on the Truth so as not to fall victim to the “trickery of men” who want to lead people astray into religious error (verse 14).
 
The Bible is rife with warnings about the dangers of false doctrine and the teachers who peddle in counterfeit religion. “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). “I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them” (Acts 20:29-30).
 
That’s why it is so important for each one of us to, “be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:17-18). “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
 
Please stay with Ephesians 4:14-16 for tomorrow as well.
 
Have a great day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Ephesians 4:7-13

Monday, August 27, 2018
 
“But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift. Therefore it says, ‘WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH, HE LED CAPTIVE A HOST OF CAPTIVES, AND HE GAVE GIFTS TO MEN.’ (Now this expression, "He ascended," what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things.) And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.”
 
--- End of Scripture verses---
 
Christ “descended into the lower parts of the earth” (verse 9) in order to consort with and teach the Gospel to sinners and malefactors, and suffer and die for their sins. After He died for the sins of the whole world, He arose from the grave and “ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things” (verse 10). He arose back to the highest height so that He might provide all the gifts and blessings that we could ever need as head of His church.
 
While it is true that “He gave gifts to men,” the gifts were not given only for the benefit of the individual men who possessed them. These human gifts were predetermined and planned by the Lord from before the beginning of time, and provided to the church, “for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.” (verses 12-13)
 
Jesus gave the church certain “functionaries” for its “equipping” and its “building up” and its “unity” and “maturity”. He gave “apostles, and…prophets” to the church. And even though there are none of these “inspired spokespersons” alive among us today, nor have there been for the past 1900 years or so, they still bless and guide and teach us the truth today. They do that through the written word that the Holy Spirit inspired through them and that God compiled into the collection of books that we call the Bible.
 
Jesus also gave the church “evangelists” (preachers), “pastors” (elders or bishops) and “teachers” that still actively and personally serve the Lord’s collective on earth, and they always will as long as there are people and local churches of Christ to serve. All of these five “gifts” are given for the purpose of teaching and upholding and leading by the inspired revelation of the mind of God. And nothing, but nothing, is more important to the soundness of a congregation and the spiritual health and eternal salvation of each individual child of God.
 
Let's be grateful to our God for the greatest gifts that have been showered upon us by our Lord and Savior in heaven. And let’s appreciate the men who serve in the position of elders and preachers, and the men and women who serve as teachers of the truth.
 
Please read Ephesians 4:14-17 for tomorrow.
 
Have a blessed day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Ephesians 4:7-13

Sunday, August 26, 2018

“But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift. Therefore it says, ‘WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH, HE LED CAPTIVE A HOST OF CAPTIVES, AND HE GAVE GIFTS TO MEN.’ (Now this expression, "He ascended," what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things.) And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.”

--- End of Scripture verses---

Since God has given “to each one of us grace” (verse 7), we must do our part to “preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (verse 3). God has given each individual Christian the full “measure” of “Christ’s gift” of saving grace and eternal salvation. Each and every member of a local church of Christ is responsible to contribute to the peace and unity of their spiritual family. No one is left out. No one is unimportant. No one is exempt from this responsibility. What Christ did for one, He did for all, and each of us must be grateful and responsible.

When Jesus arose from the grave, and “ascended on high” (verse 8) to the right hand of the Father in heaven, “He led captive a host of captives” (Psalm 68:18). This speaks to the victory that Christ secured over Satan and his forces of evil when He tasted death, but then defeated it, and ascended “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named” (Ephesians 1:21). Paul wrote in Colossians 2:15, “When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.”

Christ reigned and reigns triumphant over all His physical and spiritual creation, and to the Victor go the spoils. That is really the subject matter of Psalm 68 that Paul quotes in today’s verses. King David sings the praises of the Lord who returns to His people in total and complete triumph over His enemies. In this victory psalm, verse 18 actually reads, “You have ascended on high, You have led captive Your captives; You have received gifts among men, even among the rebellious also, that the LORD God may dwell there.” The Lord “received gifts” but He did not, and does not, keep them for himself. Paul, in citing this Old Testament verse, said that God “gave” gifts to men.

More on Ephesians 4:7-13 and these wonderful “gifts” for tomorrow.

Please come worship God with us today at the Taylorsville Road church of Christ!

3741 Taylorsville Road. 9:30 AM Bible class. 10:30 AM worship period. 5:00 PM worship period.

Have a blessed Lord’s Day!

- Louie Taylor

Ephesians 4:1-6

Saturday, August 25, 2018
 
“Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.”
 
--- End of Scripture verses---
 
There is only “one baptism”. It is not the baptism of John (Acts 19:3). John’s immersion was a “preparatory” baptism that was administered while he was making ready the way for the Lord to come preaching the Good News (Mark 1:3). It is not “Holy Spirit” baptism. Not counting Jesus, there are only two instances recorded in the New Testament of people being “baptized with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:5), and that is when the Apostles received “power” from on high (Acts 1:8) on that special day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4). And the second was about ten years later when the Holy Spirit “fell upon” some Gentiles gathered in the house of Cornelius, to confirm to Peter and the rest of the Apostles that the blessed Gospel is for all people, not just the Jews (Acts 10:44-48).
 
The “one baptism” that unites all Christians into the “one body” of Christ is immersion in water for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38; 8:36-39). This one baptism is in the “name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 19:6), and in the “name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). Water baptism is the act and the place that we come in contact with the precious blood of Jesus (Romans 6:3-6) that figuratively “washes away” or sins (Acts 22:16; Revelation 1:5), but literally removes them from our lives so that we are forgiven and no longer held accountable for them. This is the baptism that “now saves us” (1 Peter 3:21), when it is accompanied with belief and repentance (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38).
 
Have you been fully immersed in water, in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in order to have your sins forgiven? If not, then you are not a part of the one, blood-bought body of Jesus, and you do not have access to “every spiritual blessing” that can only found “in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). Please don’t wait another minute to obey the Gospel and make your life right with God!
 
Please read Ephesians 4:7-13 for tomorrow.
 
Have a great day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Ephesians 3:20-21

Friday, August 24, 2018
 
“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.”
 
--- End of Scripture verses---
 
Paul had just prayed a most magnificent prayer for his brethren in Christ in which He petitioned the Lord for some tremendous blessings. He prayed that they “be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man” (verse 16). He prayed that Christ would dwell in their hearts and that they would be rooted and grounded in His love (verse 17). He also prayed for their ability to comprehend the love of the Lord that surpasses knowledge (verse 18), and that they be filled up with all the fullness of His love, blessings, knowledge and wisdom (verse 19).
 
Then in verse 20 he told them that God is more than capable of answering this prayer and delivering on all the wonderful blessings that Paul had petitioned Him for. God can do “far more abundantly beyond” anything that we can “ask” or even “think”. God’s power is limitless and His love is boundless. There is no good thing that we could ask of Him that would be beyond His ability to bestow. He may choose to answer “No” or “Not at this time” to any of our requests if those answers are in our best interest and in accordance with His will.
 
But, like so many of the requests that we make to God, much of the answers have to do with our willingness to do our part. I cannot imagine when there would be a time that God would refuse a request for spiritual strength, deeper knowledge and greater love. But if we spend most of our time planted in front of the TV screen and very little time with our faces in the Bible and our knees on the floor, we will likely be weak in the faith, deficient in the knowledge of His will, and ungrounded by His love. Often times God’s unlimited power IS limited by our feeble faith.
 
Paul said that God’s power “works within us”. The same Almighty God that created the universe wants to wield His power within our very lives. Open up to His will. Receive His word. Obey His commandments. Allow the Father, Son and Holy Spirit to “dwell in your hearts through faith” (verse 17), and permit yourself to be used as “instruments of righteousness to God” (Romans 6:13). He will do wonderful things in you, by you and through you.
 
To Him be the glory IN THE CHURCH and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever (verse 21)! Are you a baptized, blood-bought, born again member of the body of Jesus Christ? The only way you can access God’s power and properly give Him the glory for all good things in your life is to be a part of His church!
 
Please read Ephesians 4:1-5 for tomorrow.
 
Have a blessed day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Ephesians 3:14-19

Thursday, August 23, 2018
“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.”
 
--- End of Scripture verses---
 
The underpinnings of our faith, indeed our very lives, should be love. It is not surprising that Paul would pray that his brethren be “rooted and grounded in love” (verse 17). Just as the root system of a plant or tree supplies it with much needed stability and nourishment, so our faith is firmed up and fed through our love for God and our fellowman. And as the integrity of a structure or building is utterly dependent upon a solid foundation, the framework of our lives in Christ Jesus will surely fall to ruin and destruction unless it rests squarely and soundly upon the foundation love.
 
Jesus tells us in Matthew 22:37-40 that love is the greatest of all God’s commandments: “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”
 
Paul wrote in Colossians 3:12-14 that love is the bond of perfection that unites brothers and sisters together in the body of Christ: “So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.”
 
Jesus said in John 13:34-35 that love is the mark that identifies us as true disciple of His: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” Please take the time to read 1 John chapters 3 and 4 to see the emphasis that God places upon loving our brothers and sisters in Christ.
 
If we are not very careful, we can allow the ordeals and sufferings of life to turn us into angry, bitter, unloving people. We must let love put down deep roots within our hearts so that we can weather the droughts and storms of life with our faith and hope in tact. If we find our hearts filled with anger, hatred and animosity for the people that God created in His own image, and especially for our spiritual brethren who have been recreated in the likeness of the Savior, then Christ is not dwelling in our hearts through faith (verse 17).
 
Love “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails…” (1 Corinthians 13:7-8)
 
Let’s make certain that our love is “abounding” and “increasing” (Philippians 1:9; 1 Thessalonians 3:12), and that we not allow it to fall from the level of first importance in Christ (Revelation 2:4).
 
One more day for tomorrow in Ephesians 3:20-21.
 
Have a great day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Ephesians 3:14-19

Wednesday, August 22, 2018
“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.”
 
--- End of Scripture verses---
 
All of us with children like to give them good gifts. We would even be willing to personally do without some things we like, and even need, in order to shower our loved ones with excellent blessings. The wonderful thing about being children of the Father in Heaven is that He wants to “grant” (verse 16) us all good things (Matthew 7:11; Romans 8:32; 1 Timothy 6:17), and He has an unlimited storehouse of riches from which to draw, and unlimited power with which to grant them.
 
One of the things we all find ourselves in need of from time to time is strength (verse 16). We get physically exhausted from the toil and challenges of everyday life, and grow mentally and spiritually weary from exposure to all the temptation, darkness and godlessness of the world in which we live. Sometimes we become so weak that we do not even know if we will find the strength to go on. God is more than willing and able to strengthen us “in the inner man” so that we can stand firm in our faith, and continue to run the race with endurance.
 
God strengthens us “with power through the Holy Spirit.” Jesus said in Luke 11:13, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” We learn from Jesus that we need to “ask” (pray) for the strength that comes through the giving of the Spirit. And we know that the Spirit gives us strength by reading and dwelling upon the word that He has inspired (Psalm 119:28).
 
Much of our strength also depends upon our own faith and attitude. When we realize, like Paul did, that we “can do all things through Him who strengthens” us (Philippians 4:13), there is no spiritual challenge that the Lord will not empower us to overcome. So, when you are feeling feeble and fragile, remember to pray to the Father for strength, and to plug into your spiritual power plant (the Bible), and to flip the attitude switch from negative to positive, having faithful confidence in the Lord and His potency to empower.
 
“We have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience.” (Colossians 1:9-11)
 
Stay with Ephesians 3:14-19 for one more day.
 
Blessings!d
 
- Louie Taylor

Ephesians 3:14-19

Tuesday, August 21, 2018
“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.”
 
--- End of Scripture verses---
Paul “bowed his knees before the Father” (verse 14) in heaven in a solemn, heart-felt prayer on the behalf of his beloved brethren in Ephesus. Once again, we see the humility of the apostle who considered himself to be “the least of all saints” (verse 8). Bowing before the Father was an act of humble submission to His absolute authority. But Paul is expressing a heart condition and not a bodily position with this statement. We can approach God’s glorious throne in boldness and confidence knowing what Christ has accomplished for us (verse 12), but we should do so with reverence and humility in understanding that God is the Creator of the universe and we are His lowly servants (James 4:10; 1 Peter 5:6). God is our loving Father but He is also our sovereign monarch.
 
Colly Coldwell wrote the following about verse 15 in his Truth Commentary by the Guardian of Truth Foundation: “The expression ‘whole family’ (pasa patria) should properly and contextually be translated ‘all the fatherhood.’ The idea is that all beings who worship and serve God are identified spiritually with the Father in the family. These verses speak of the Fatherhood of God in terms of spiritual life rather than physical life…Certainly God is the Source of all human life, but Paul discusses the higher spiritual creation and the one family in Christ in the book of Ephesians (cf. Eph. 2:18-19). It is God as the spiritual Father and Creator that serves as a theme in this epistle. The whole spiritual family of God includes beings in the heavens (the spirits of just men made perfect, the angels, etc., Heb. 12:22-24; Col. 1:20) and beings on earth (those who receive his grace by faith and become a part of his spiritual temple; Eph. 2:19-22).”
 
Please stay with Ephesians 3:14-19 again for tomorrow.
 
Have a blessed day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Ephesians 3:14-19

Monday, August 20, 2018
“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.”
 
--- End of Scripture verses---
 
Quoting Colly Caldwell from his Guardian of Truth Foundation commentary on Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, pages 135-137, about the idea of “Christ dwelling in our hearts through faith” (verse 17):
 
“Christ dwelling in us and our being strengthened through the Spirit are not two different experiences performed through different processes (cf. Rom. 8:9f; Gal. 2:20). The Spirit reveals the great truths about Christ and his will (Col. 1:9-11). That leads to our being filled with Christ. The metaphor of Christ dwelling in us involves the picture of Christ making his home within our hearts, living in us, abiding continually in our lives as a result of our having been strengthened through the Spirit. Paul here prayed for closer communion, more submission, and greater commitment to Christ. Notice the emphasis upon our knowledge and comprehension of truth in the following verses (17-21). Christ comes into our hearts by faith, when we hear his voice and open the door to him (Rev. 3:20).
 
“The Scriptures teach that each of the three Divine Persons dwells in each true Christian. It further teaches that Christians dwell in the persons of deity. The New Testament clearly affirms that God dwells in some men… (1 John 4:12-16; see also 1 John 3:24). Not only does God dwell in some men, but the same passages teach that we abide in the Father. That should make it obvious that literal, personal possession of our persons is not being considered... ‘The human heart, which has accepted the word of faith, the summons of the promise, the wisdom of the demands and the commandments of the doctrine, becomes the temple of God in us’ (TDNT V:154)…'”
 
Please stay with this prayer in Ephesians 3:14-19 for tomorrow.
 
Have a great day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Ephesians 3:7-13

Sunday, August 19, 2018

“Of which I was made a minister, according to the gift of God’s grace which was given to me according to the working of His power. To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things; so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places. This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him. Therefore I ask you not to lose heart at my tribulations on your behalf, for they are your glory.”

--- End of Scripture verses---

It was such an honor for Paul, who considered himself the “very least” to be able to provide for the Gentiles the very most (verse 8). Paul knew he was unworthy to be given such a lofty and privileged position as an Apostle of the Christ whom he persecuted (Acts 9:4-5), so the thoughts of the “gift of God’s grace” that was given to him always humbled him.

The “riches” that are provided by the faithful preaching of the Gospel are “unfathomable,” so appreciate your Bible and your preacher. The wealth of spiritual blessings that gush forth from God’s living word are immeasurable and incomprehensible. The gospel is packed with amazing grace (John 1:16), surpassing peace (Philippians 4:7), complete joy (John 15:11) and great salvation (Hebrews 2:3). “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!” (Romans 11:33)

God has brought to light, through Christ Jesus, the truths that were once shrouded in darkness (verse 9). God’s word is given to us as a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (Psalm 119:105). It illuminates the darkness so that we can see to walk clearly, safely and righteously. “For you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light” (Ephesians 5:8).

God’s “manifold” (multifaceted) wisdom is “made known through the church” (verse 10). It was God’s “eternal purpose” for Jesus to die for the sins of the world, and arise from the dead in order to build His church (verse 11). That means that God has had plans for you and me from eternity as well. The Lord “has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity” (2 Timothy 1:9).

Because of what Christ has done for us, we have access to the Father that is both bold and confident (verse 12). But let’s not confuse confidence with arrogance. Let’s remember Paul’s example of meekness and humility as people that are equally undeserving of God’s riches and grace and salvation. Let’s approach God’s mighty throne with boldness and humbleness.

Please read Ephesians 3:14-19 for tomorrow.

 

- Louie Taylor

Ephesians 3:1-6

Saturday, August 18, 2018
“For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—if indeed you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace which was given to me for you; that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief. By referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit; to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.”
 
--- End of Scripture verses---
 
Today’s reading really sums up exactly how God makes His will known to people in this current and final dispensation of His dealing with mankind. “By revelation there was made known to” Paul “the mystery” (verse 3). The Holy Spirit miraculously revealed important knowledge to the “apostles and prophets” (verse 5), some of which had not been fully disclosed prior to Christ’s coming. He is specifically writing about the fact that, in Christ Jesus, both Jews and Gentiles are brought together into one, redeemed collective called His church (verse 6).
 
After the Spirit revealed the mind of Christ to God’s chosen instruments, they proceeded to record the word of God onto the written page. These pieces of inspired, inscribed literature have since been organized into a codified collective knows as the Bible. Paul wrote that “when you read” the revelation of God’s mind, “you can understand” the writers’ “insight into” it (verse 4). God has chosen the medium of the (inspired) written word to convey His will to us. We must read it, or have it read to us, in order to understand what God would have us to believe, know and do.
 
And, when we do take the time to read it, we truly CAN understand it. It is not so “mysterious” that it is beyond the ability of the average mind to grasp. Now, mind you, some things are DIFFICULT to understand (2 Peter 3:16), but they are not IMPOSSIBLE to understand. If the will of God is important to us, and we apply ourselves to the study and pursuit of it, then He will lead us to a clarity and comprehension that will allow us to lead lives that are pleasing to Him.
 
Quite frankly, the written word of God is far too vital to our eternal welfare to NOT be important to us. God’s glorious inheritance and all of His spiritual blessings and precious promises are given to us “in Christ Jesus,” and are made known and available “through the gospel” (verse 6). Dig deep my friends!!!
 
Please read Ephesians 3:7-13 for tomorrow.
 
Have a blessed day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Ephesians 2:18-22

Friday, August 17, 2018

“For through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.”

--- End of Scripture verses---

In Christ Jesus, we have an all “access” pass to the Father in heaven (verse 18). Jesus is the door that provides us the freedom and the privilege to come into the presence of our Father and have a spiritual relationship with Him. In Christ, we can cast all our anxieties upon the Lord because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). We can go to the Father in prayer and share with Him our failures and successes, our worries and delights, our fears and our joys. We can ask Him to help us with any of life’s challenges and difficulties. “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

When we are born again in Christ Jesus, we are adopted into the household of God (verse 19). That means we are bona fide members of the family of God. With Jesus as our brother (Hebrews 2:11) and God as our Father (Romans 8:15), we never need want or fear for anything again. It is an awesome and comforting thought to know that we have the Creator of the universe as our Protector and Provider. In Christ Jesus, we are not only members of the household, we are actually part of the house (verse 22). As living stones (1 Peter 2:5), Christians are “being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.” This is an every growing and expanding “holy temple in the Lord” (verse 21) which is the church of Jesus Christ.

One of the main focal points of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is the need for unity and harmony among brothers and sisters in Christ. As the body of Christ continues to grow and expand, its members should strive to grow stronger and closer together. As we are “being built together” into God’s dwelling place, the mortar that binds us in unity is the love and teaching of “Christ Jesus Himself” who is “the corner stone” of God’s spiritual temple (verse 20). As long as we are standing on the firm foundation of the truth taught by “the apostles and prophets,” and the love of the “chief corner stone” (Acts 4:11) who gave himself for the sins of the world, God will dwell among us and we will be His people (Revelation 21:3).

Please read Ephesians 3:1-6 for tomorrow.

Have a blessed day!

 

- Louie Taylor

Ephesians 2:14-17

Thursday, August 16, 2018
“For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. And He came, and preached peace to you who were far off, and peace to those who were near.”
 
--- End of Scripture verses---
 
Quoting today from the Truth Commentary series on Paul’s letter to the Ephesians written by Colly Caldwell, Guardian of Truth Foundation, Copyright 1994.
 
On verse 14: “The apostle dealt with three aspects of the ethnic division between Jew and Gentile in this passage: (a) the Gentiles’ former condition had left them without the inner peace which comes with hope (2:11-13); (b) there was no peace between two larger ethnic groups, the Jews and the Gentiles, who were at enmity with each other (2:14-15); and (c) both ethnic groups were separated from God without peace because of sin and were therefore alike spiritually (2:16-18). The conclusion provided by the Holy Spirit to each phase of the discussion is ‘Christ is our peace.’ He alone provides peace within our own souls, peace with our fellows, and peace with God.
 
“Specifically, he made both (amphotera) one. He brought the two peoples (Jews and Gentiles) together as Christians. He did that by breaking down the wall between them. To break down…is literally to loosen in such a way as to destroy or demolish. A middle wall (mesotoichon) is a barrier. In this case it was a barrier of hostility, hatred, contempt, and separation created by their customs and laws. A partition (phargmou) is a fence, hedge or divider. In this case, it was in their minds and attitudes toward one another.
 
“The old temple grounds in Jerusalem had contained a dividing wall between the court of the Gentiles and the court of the Israelites. The new temple of God (cf. v. 21) was established upon unity and identification of all men as one (John 10:16; Gal. 3:28). Christ had provided a great commonness for them. They all had the same God, the same Christ, the same salvation, and the same hope (Eph. 4:4-6). Christ’s coming destroyed all dividing barriers and brought all men spiritually together in one body.”
 
On verse 15: “All this was affected by Christ when he abolished (katargesas) the source of the enmity, the Law itself. To ‘abolish’ is to make null and void, to render inoperative and no longer mandatory, to make useless, to cancel, or to abrogate. The Law of Moses was the source of enmity (echtran) between the two peoples. Their animosity, feuding, and alienation resulted from national application of the ordinances and promises of the Law to only one side of the dispute.
 
“Christ nailed the Law to his cross (Col. 1:20-22; 2:14; Heb. 10:1-10). The separating influence, the Law, had divided the nations because it was a national law, designed for Israel only. The Law, in which they had taken so much pride, had been the very source of their separation. Christ took away the entire Mosaic legal system contained in ordinances and left the Jew with no reason for special pride (Col. 2:1-4; Rom. 7:1-4; Gal. 5:2-4; 2 Cor. 3:14).
 
“Our word ‘dogma’ comes from the Greek word ordinances (dogmasin). ‘Ordinances’ are decrees, statutes, edicts or specific rules. When the Law with its specific edicts concerning the segregation of Israel from the nations was taken away, there was no reason to identify separately the Jews from Gentiles in any spiritual sense. Christ willed that the Gentiles be included in the one body by grace through faith.”
 
Please read Ephesians 2:18-22 for tomorrow.
 
Have a great day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Ephesians 2:11-13

Wednesday, August 15, 2018
“Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called ‘Uncircumcision’ by the so-called ‘Circumcision,’ which is performed in the flesh by human hands — remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”
 
--- End of Scripture verses---
 
Verse 12 tells the tragic story of what our lives looked like before we believed in Christ and obeyed the Gospel and had our sins forgiven. It has been said that the people who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. It is profitable to, periodically, recollect what it was like to be dead in our sins (verse 1) and enslaved by “the prince of the power of the air” (verse 2), just to remind ourselves that we never want to go back to that lost, dark, distressing place of anguish again. To be clear, Paul is recalling the condition of the Gentile world before Christ came to save the world, but we can make application to each person’s life individually, before they came to Christ.
 
“Separate from Christ” – We were once the “walking dead” (verse 2), living without a Savior. We were alive, but only because our heart was pumping blood through our arteries. A life severed from Jesus is no real life at all.
 
“Excluded from the commonwealth of Israel” – We were without a “country” so to speak. “Commonwealth” is the Greek word “politeia” and it is where we get our English word “polity” from. Now, in Christ, “our citizenship (politeuma) is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20). Before Christ, we just wandered aimlessly about the Earth with no real permanent residency.
 
“Strangers of the covenants of promise” – We were also once without a home. It is true that we are considered “strangers and pilgrims” on the earth while in Christ Jesus (1 Peter 2:11). But before we came to the Lord, we were estranged from Him and all the great and precious promises that accompany being in a covenant relationship with Him (2 Peter 1:4),
 
“Having no hope” – Without Christ we were completely hopeless! No hope of a peaceful present and no hope of a blissful eternity! The hope that we have in Christ is called “an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within” heaven itself (Hebrews 6:19). Without that hope we are just aimlessly drifting in a sea of senselessness and sin, darkness and confusion.
 
“Without God in the world” – Before we came to Christ we were just Godless people! What a horrific, forlorn and depressing existence!
 
But now, in Christ Jesus we who formerly were far off have, in the greatest hope, been brought near to the God that we were estranged from, and united with Christ in an everlasting covenant filled with eternal promise. “But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God's OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY.” (1 Peter 2:9-10)
 
Please read Ephesians 2:14-17 for tomorrow.
 
Have a blessed day!
 
- Louie Taylor

Ephesians 2:8-10

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”

--- End of Scripture verses---

Quite often God’s blessings prompt people to be BOASTFUL instead of stimulating them to be THANKFUL. Every good thing that we have in life is provided through God’s grace. Grace is “unearned” or “unmerited favor”. We acquire many good things by our own mental and physical exertion, and we should utilize the resources that we have for advancement in life. But who gave us our intellect and physical wellbeing? They were gifts that we received from God that we had no control over.

Some people boast that they built their careers and net worth from the strength of their back, and the sweat of their brow, by their own two hands. But did they make their back, brow and hands? Of course not! God bestows those blessings upon people (who do not deserve them) through conference of His benevolent grace. So, let us allow God’s graciousness to cultivate gratefulness within our hearts, and strive to avoid arrogance at all costs.

The greatest manifestation of God’s grace is eternal salvation. We are completely dependent upon God’s favor, and totally helpless to devise the means to secure our deliverance from the death sentence that sin incurs. Praise be to God that He loved us enough to formulate the plan and provide the sacrifice that all people need to be saved.

But, just as our personal exertion is required in acquiring God’s good, temporal blessings, God also requires efforts on our part to receive His gift of eternal life. We must believe the Gospel (John 6:29), repent of our sins (Acts 2:38), confess our faith in Jesus (Matthew 10:32), be baptized to be saved (Mark 16:16), and live lives of faithful obedience to all of the commands of Jesus (Matthew 28:20, Revelation 2:10). And, even when we have done these necessary acts of obedience, salvation is still a gift of God’s grace that we do not deserve and we could not possibly earn.

God saves us by His grace, but He spiritually recreates us in Christ Jesus to walk in good works (verse 10).

Please read Ephesians 2:11-13 for tomorrow.

Have a blessed day!

- Louie Taylor

Ephesians 2:4-7

Monday, August 13, 2018

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”

--- End of Scripture verses---

Four words stand out in today’s “after” portion of the “before and after picture” that Paul painted in Ephesians chapter 2: mercy, love, grace and kindness. God was “rich in mercy” and driven by “great love” when he “made us alive together with Christ.” God looked down in dynamic mercy upon us because we were “dead” in our “trespasses and sins” (verse 1). He loved us so very much “that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

We are saved by grace (verse 5), but not grace alone. We are saved by belief (John 3:16), but not belief alone. The same Apostle Paul tells us in Colossians 2:12-13 how and where God made us alive together with Christ. “Having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions.”

Once we bury the old person of sin in the grave of baptism and arise to walk in newness of life, we are seated “with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (verse 6). As “reborn,” new creations in Christ, we reign with our Lord Jesus in the heavenly, spiritual realm. This is a reminder that this world is not our home, we’re just a passing through. Our treasures are laid up, somewhere beyond the blue.

“Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.” (Colossians 3:1-4)

Please read Ephesians 2:8-10 for tomorrow.

Blessings!

- Louie Taylor

Ephesians 2:1-3

Sunday, August 12, 2018

“And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.”

--- End of Scripture verses---

As Christ arose from the dead and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God in heaven (1:20), His powerful display over death has also produced a resurrection in the lives of His followers. Paul said that his brethren in Christ “were dead” in their trespasses and sins (verse 1). In the Bible, death always indicates separation. When the spirit is separated from the fleshly body it results in physical death (James 2:26). When sin enters our lives, our spirits are separated from God, which is the equivalent of spiritual death (Isaiah 59:1-2).

When we were dead in sins, we “walked according to the course of this world” (verse 2). The Walking Dead may make for an interesting bit of science fiction (although I honestly don’t understand the fixation on that ridiculous show!), but conducting our lives as dead men walking in sin and estranged from the Father in heaven is certainly not the slightest bit amusing. I think John summed up quite well what it means to walk “according to the course of the world” in 1 John 2:15-17:

“Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.” Living a life of lustful, fleshly indulgence that is given over to pride and arrogance is walking with the devil (the god of this world – 2 Corinthians 4:4), and succumbing to his “power”, and that is a sinful, destructive walk.

Paul distinguishes “you” from “we” to demonstrate that all people, both Jews and Gentiles, at one time or another, “lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind” (verse 3). We can become so comfortable with and accustomed to sin that it just becomes second “nature”. But, as children “born again” of God (John 3:3), “born of water and the Spirit” (John 3:5); buried through baptism into Christ’s death, and raised in the likeness of His resurrection (Romans 6:3-6); we are to walk in newness of life in the light of His word and love (1 John 1:7-9).

Please read Ephesians 2:4-7 for tomorrow.

 

- Louie Taylor

Ephesians 1:19-23

Saturday, August 11, 2018

“These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.”

--- End of Scripture verses---

Paul is still expressing his heart-felt prayer to God on behalf of the Ephesian brethren. He is revealing the power source behind “the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints” (verse 18). “The surpassing greatness of the power” that He demonstrates “toward us who believe” (verse 19) emanates from the Father in heaven, and it is the same power that raised Christ “from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places” (verse 20).

Paul uses four words in verse 19 to place great emphasis on the supreme power of God. “Power” is the Greek word “dunameos” and from its root we get the English word “dynamite”. It means “capacity” or “potency” and Paul wrote that this power that belongs to God alone is of “surpassing greatness” (verse 19). The word “working” is “energeian” and I’m sure you can see the word “energy” it its root. This word “speaks of the powerful energizing force of God to cause action” (Caldwell’s Truth commentary on Ephesians). The other two words are “strength” and “might”.

It provides the utmost comfort and encouragement to know that the same power that raised Christ from the dead is also more than capable of pulling us out of the death-grip of sin, and transforming our lives into something beautiful in the sight of the Lord. Christ fills His church, and our individual lives, with the “fullness” of God. He fills us up with the riches and the goodness of all His spiritual blessings!

Please read Ephesians 2:1-3 for tomorrow.

Have a blessed day!

 

- Louie Taylor

Ephesians 1:15-19

Friday, August 10, 2018

“For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints, do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might.”

--- End of Scripture verses---

It is a beautiful petition on Paul’s part to pray that the “spiritual eyes” of his brethren be opened and enlightened (verse 18). He had written about all the spiritual blessings which reside in Christ in the “heavenly places” (1:3), and he wanted to help elevate the Ephesians to greater heights in that spiritual realm. He prayed that the Lord would give them a “spirit of wisdom” to perceive and discern the desires of God, and how best to apply God’s will to their lives. He prayed for a spirit of “revelation” in order that they might gain deeper insight and understanding into the revealed mind of the Creator.

He prayed that they would acquire a greater “knowledge” of their heavenly Father. That they would not just learn more ABOUT Him, but have a stronger relationship WITH Him by striving for a closer walk by His side. The prophet Jeremiah wrote in Jeremiah 9:23-24: “Thus says the LORD, ‘Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,’ declares the LORD.”

“I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:8).

No earthly possession or sensation or relationship is worthy of comparing to a true knowledge of the Lord Yahweh!

Please read Ephesians 1:20-23 for tomorrow.

Have a wonderful day!

-Louie Taylor

Ephesians 1:11-14 (Part 2)

Thursday, August 09, 2018

“Also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation — having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory.”

--- End of Scripture verses---

More on the idea of “receiving the Holy Spirit” for today. Receiving the Holy Spirit cannot be separated from “listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation” and “having also believed” (verse 13). Hearing (or reading) and believing the Spirit-revealed message (the Truth taught in the Bible, the Gospel, the New Testament) is exactly how we receive Him. If we reject His revelation then we reject Him and have no part with Him, and He will not “seal” us and we cannot receive Him as a “pledge” of a future inheritance. If we receive His message and believe and obey it, and allow the Truth to transform us, we welcome the Spirit into our lives and have fellowship with Him.

Quoting from the Truth Commentary series on Paul’s letter to the Ephesians written by Colly Caldwell, Guardian of Truth Foundation, Copyright 1994:

“Scripturally, being sealed does not entail supernatural intervention by the Holy spirit. We are marked or certified by the Spirit as children of God when our character and attitudes are changed by our response to the Word delivered through the Spirit. Paul said, ‘And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice. And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, and forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you’ (Eph. 4:30-32). We are sealed by the Holy Spirit when we put away evil and become kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving. All this occurs through the instruction of the Spirit, not through some miraculous or supernatural indwelling or special activity of the Spirit.”

Please read Ephesians 1:15-19 for tomorrow.

Have a great day!

-Louie Taylor

Ephesians 1:11-14 (Part 1)

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

“Also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation — having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory.”

--- End of Scripture verses---

What I want to be more than anything in this world is “God’s own possession” (verse 14). The KJV and NKJV use the term “purchased passion.” We usually treat the things that we buy with our own, hard-earned money with great care and vigilance. How much more will our Father in heaven love and protect and provide for us since He paid the price in the precious blood of His own beloved Son to purchase our redemption?

When God owns us, then we actually possess all that He owns because we are His rightful heirs, and there is no better inheritance that anyone could hope for than all the riches and glory of heaven. As security for this future inheritance, the Father has given to us “the Holy Spirit of promise” (verse 13). 

The Spirit is given to us as a “seal” and a “pledge”. God has “stamped” those who obey “the message of truth” with His “seal” of authenticity as proof of His ownership. And He has given His possessions the Holy Spirit as a “pledge” or “earnest” which is a down payment, or a “good faith deposit”, as a guarantee that the full price of the inheritance will be paid in the future.

People receive the “gift” of the Holy Spirit when they are baptized for the forgiveness of their sins. “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). Many people believe that the gift of the Holy Spirit that Peter promises is the gift of salvation (Ephesians 2:8). I believe that the gift we receive at baptism is the Holy Spirit himself. That is when God gives us His “seal” and “pledge”.

More on this idea of “receiving the Holy Spirit” tomorrow.

Stay with Ephesians 1:11-14.

Have a great day!

Ephesians 1:7-10

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth.”

--- End of Scripture verses---

I love the proclamation of God lavishing his riches and grace upon us through Jesus Christ (verses 6-8). There is really no better expression of His love that He could offer humanity than the sacrificial gift of His Only Begotten Son. Think of all the wonderful gifts and blessings that God has loaned to you in your earthly life. None compare to the gifts of “redemption” and “forgiveness” that provide for your eternal security through the Savior. You can really sense Paul’s grasp of this as his heart gushed forth with appreciation in this first chapter.

The “mystery” that God made know to us is that, “the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel” (Ephesians 3:3-6). All of us non-Jewish people should continually praise the Lord that His “kind intention,” from the foundation of the world, was to include all of humanity in His covenant promises, even though this did not become fully evident until He sent Jesus into the world in “the fullness of the times” (verse 10).

“The summing up of all things in Christ” includes the uniting of both Jews and Gentiles into one body, which is His church (verses 22-23). Paul wrote in Colossians 1:20 that God reconciled “all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.” Every good plan that God had purposed for the world He created was coalesced and accomplished in the giving of His Son. All that remains is the final culmination when Christ returns to Judge the world and deliver up His beloved brethren to the Father in heaven.

Please read Ephesians 1:11-14 for tomorrow.

Have a blessed day!

-Louie Taylor

Ephesians 1:1-6

Monday, August 06, 2018

“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.”

--- End of Scripture verses---

Verse 3 – “Every spiritual blessing” – There are lot of “spiritually minded” people in the world today who do and receive some good on this physical plane from their “religious” pursuits. But the “spiritual blessings” of the eternal variety can only be found and obtained through a covenant relationship with God “in Christ”.

Paul enumerates some of these special blessings in this chapter. They include “redemption through His blood” and the “forgiveness of our trespasses” (verse 7). Christ paid the purchase price in His blood to “buy us back” after we had been “sold into bondage to sin” (Romans 7:14). Once we are forgiven of our sins by contacting that blood through the waters of baptism (Acts 2:38), we have eternal “salvation” (verse 13) and can live our lives in the eternal “hope” (verse 12) that we will receive an eternal “inheritance” (verse 11) in heaven.

Verse 3 – “In the heavenly places” – There is an “invisible world” and spiritual activity is going on all around us that we cannot see and have no perceptual awareness of. Paul uses the term “the heavenly places” five times in his letter to the Ephesians, and most are in relation to the blessings we receive in our “positive”, spiritual relationship with God through Christ Jesus.

But there is a “dark side” to this realm as well that we must do battle with. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). These “spiritual forces” are real and they are powerful. But praise the Lord that they are no match for our All-powerful God. We will reign victoriously with Jesus and overwhelmingly conquer our spiritual foes if we remain faithful to Christ until death (Romans 8:37; Revelation 2:10).

Verse 4 – “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world” – God “wants all people to be saved” (1 Timothy 2:4), so Ephesians does not teach us that He has “chosen” or “predetermined” the people who will be saved and lost before they were even born. Instead, Ephesians teaches us that God has “predetermined” from eternity that everyone who will be forgiven, redeemed and saved eternally, must live a life that is “holy and blameless before Him.” He “predestined” the plan, not the man (or person).

Verse 5 – “He predestined us to adoption” – This statement is further evidence of the fact that God predestined the plan of salvation and not the individual people who will be saved. All people are “born saved” because they are spiritually innocent and incapable of having committed any sin that could condemn them (Ezekiel 18:20; Matthew 18:3; 1 John 3:4). But, once a person of adequate intellectual capacity transgresses God’s will, he is then lost and in need of “adoption” into the family of God. If people were truly predestined by God to be saved, they would never be lost in the first place, and need to be adopted into God’s family.

All praise and glory be to God for “the kind intention of His will” (verses 5-6)!

Please read Ephesians 1:7-10 for tomorrow.

Have a great day!

Introduction To Paul's Letter To The Ephesians

Sunday, August 05, 2018

We are starting our reading program for Paul’s letter to the Ephesians today. I encourage you to read about Paul’s work in the city of Ephesus and the establishment of the church there in Acts chapters 18-19. Paul wrote this letter from a prison in Rome (Ephesians 3:1; 6:20) sometime around 62 AD.

I have often heard it said that the grand theme of Ephesians is “the summing up of all things in Christ.” “He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth.” (Ephesians 1:9-10).

With this in mind, Paul tells us that “all spiritual blessings” have been made available “in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3-14). These abundant blessings are only realized and attained in His church, which was eternally purposed in the mind of God, according to His “manifold wisdom” (Ephesians 3:10-11). Within this precious, tightly-knit, blood-bought body, the members should strive for perfect peace and unity, while growing in faith and maturity (Ephesians 4:1-16).

This thumbnail sketch only scratches the surface of this profound piece of inspired New Testament literature. Looking forward to diving deeper with you over the next few weeks.

Please read Ephesians 1:1-6 for tomorrow.

Have a great day!

-Louie Taylor

Galatians 6:17-18

Saturday, August 04, 2018

“From now on let no one cause trouble for me, for I bear on my body the brand-marks of Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brethren. Amen.”

---End of Scripture verses---

Circumcision was not the “mark” that proved that the Apostle Paul belonged to his Master Jesus. The “brands” that demonstrated the Lord’s ownership were the wounds and scars that Paul received while faithfully and lovingly serving Him and carrying out His will.

“Are they servants of Christ?—I speak as if insane—I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren.” (2 Corinthians 11:23-26)

I pray that none of us will ever be exposed to the kind of abuse that Paul was forced to endure. But even so, choosing to follow Jesus should leave a permanent mark upon us. A Christian should be a changed person who is never quite the same after a true encounter with and conversion to the Lord. 
“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ” comes with a price. It cost Jesus is life. It will cost us something as well.

We will begin our excursion into Paul’s letter to the Ephesians with some introductory remarks tomorrow.

Have a great day!

-Louie Taylor

Galatians 6:14-16

Friday, August 03, 2018

“But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.”

---End of Scripture verses---

The false teachers wanted the Gentile Christians to be circumcised so that they could boast in their flesh (verse 15), but Paul would only boast “in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (verse 14). If anyone had reason to boast in the flesh, it would have been Paul. He pointed out as much in his letter to the Philippians, but he realized that all of those vain fleshly birthrights and achievements were eternally inconsequential and paled in comparison to the excellence of knowing Christ Jesus.

“Although I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more: circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless. But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ.” (Philippians 3:4-7)

Think of all the things that people put so much confidence in and brag about: how much money they make, how many promotions they have received, what college they attended, the number of degrees they’ve earned, the wins of their favorite sports teams, how smart their children are, and the list goes on and on. While some of these things are noteworthy and commendable, they will only have positive bearing on life this side of the grave. Only “the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” has lasting significance and provides eternal security.

Through Christ Jesus and what He did for each of us on Calvary’ cross, we should willingly allow the lusts and desires of the world to be crucified to us, and we should be crucified to them. “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me” (2:20). “Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.” (Galatians 5:24-26)

If we have truly become “a new creation” in Christ (verse 15), then we should make every effort to “put off” the old person of sin with his evil practices (Colossians 3:8-9); and “as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.” (Colossians 3:12-13)

Please read Galatians 6:17-18 for tomorrow.

Have a blessed day!

-Louie Taylor

Galatians 6:11-13

Thursday, August 02, 2018

“See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand. Those who desire to make a good showing in the flesh try to compel you to be circumcised, simply so that they will not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. For those who are circumcised do not even keep the Law themselves, but they desire to have you circumcised so that they may boast in your flesh.”

---End of Scripture verses---

As Paul drew his epistle to the Galatians to a close, he placed his “autograph” upon it to authenticate that the letter had actually come from him. He had likely been dictating to an “amanuensis” up until this point in which he took the writing instrument and wrote in “large letters”. It is uncertain as to why he wrote with larger letters than his assistant did, but maybe it was for emphasis as he summarized and closed this very important piece of inspired Scripture.

Paul gets to the motivation behind the people who had been “troubling” (5:12) the brethren about circumcision. They were only trying to “compel” the Gentile Christians to be circumcised in order to avoid being “persecuted” themselves (verse 12). They obviously thought that if they could wield their influence over their non-Jewish brothers in Christ, then Christianity as a whole would be more acceptable to the Jewish community at large.

But the Apostle Paul would have no part with compromising the truth just to avoid persecution for following Christ. He had written in Galatians 5:11: “But I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? Then the stumbling block of the cross has been abolished.” Paul was not nearly as interested in pleasing people as he was in pleasing the Lord. The subject of Gentile circumcision was just one of those issues that tripped some people up. But these people needed to come to a better understanding and acceptance of the truth and change their views, because God would not change the truth just to appease them.

Some people place far more emphasis on “the flesh” (verses 12-13) then they do on the spirit. When we get too focused on outward appearances it skews our perspective, and causes us to loose sight of the things that matter the most in life. As we close today, let’s consider the four following verses written by Paul that show us how God is more concerned about our inward condition and not our outer façade .

“Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but what matters is the keeping of the commandments of God.” (1 Corinthians 7:19)

“But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.” (Romans 2:27)

“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love.” (Galatians 5:6)

“For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.” (Galatians 6:15)

Please read Galatians 6:14-16 for tomorrow.

Have a great day!

-Louie Taylor

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