here’s you some...that’s the way they say it in the South!
We are embarking on a new venture--the study of the little book of Ephesians, a letter written by the apostle Paul to a young church he had established in Ephesus in A.D. 52. Just six chapters, it is packed with so much that we can grab ahold of... so much that we will be the richer for having studied and understood. After identifying himself as the author of the letter and his target audience as those who are faithful followers of Jesus, Paul extends grace. EPHESIANS 1. This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus. I am writing to God’s holy people in Ephesus, who are faithful followers of Christ Jesus. May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. [please reread that last line - then personalize it: God, my Father and dear Lord Jesus Christ, grant to me this day your grace and your peace] Grace. Ah, grace. The name has enjoyed a popular resurgence in the last decade; it seems I encounter more and more little girls bearing the name. But to really comprehend grace and its impact in our lives, Paul is the master teacher. He started his letters with it, and ended them similarly, “May God’s grace be eternally upon all who love our Lord Jesus Christ.” As we learned in the series Jesus, Not Another Like Him, Jesus was the very incarnation of grace. No one ever proffered grace the way Jesus did, nor did another really have the right. When he could have rightfully condemned, he extended grace. Consider the unnamed woman caught in adultery expecting to be stoned . . . Jesus offered grace and her accusers literally dropped their rocks and walked away. So powerful. John 8, link below Why, the expression Jesus has in his eyes yet today when he looks at you and me ... each undeserved! No, we haven’t done anything to deserve it, and sometimes do not even know how desperately we are in need of it . . . how it would change us if we would grab a hold of it. Grace – it just is. And it is beautiful, and true grace is always linked with Jesus, hence Paul wrote, ‘May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace ...’ This letter of Ephesians is an unpacking of what it means to be ‘in Christ.’ Grace is lavish and not given because of merit or any good thing we might do. In his letter to the Romans, Paul had described what grace looks like: “For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”1 When trying to grasp grace, I cannot help but think of the poet’s description: I know nothing, except what everyone knows — if there when Grace dances, I should dance.2 God’s very language is the language of grace, and he is in the business of extending to us this favor, even though we do not deserve it. God isn’t concerned with fairness in the way we are; actually, grace is strange because there’s absolutely nothing fair about it. But of course, God’s ways are not our ways... “I don’t think the way you think. The way you work isn’t the way I work." God decrees. "For as the sky soars high above earth, so the way I work surpasses the way you work, and the way I think is beyond the way you think.”3 I pray grace over you, my dear friends, both near and far. The drippings of Grace ... Longing for a scent of a flower we have not found, the Echo of a tune we have not heard, News from a country we have never yet visited. — C. S. Lewis4 What’s your experience with grace? Have you known and accepted God’s grace? Do you need to apprehend it again ~ forgiving yourself, maybe letting go of failure or shame, stopping the ceaseless tapes you play in your own head? Getting personal here: Has the infinite grace of God changed you? Do you extend grace to others? **Question: before you jump all over someone, do you stop and think first? 'Like what might be going on in his world? What is she trying to manage? I want to be known as a Grace Giver. Do you? For love believes all things, bears all things, and gives the benefit of the doubt . . . Well really, that is grace! And we can all use a helping of it. I pray that you will begin to understand and flow in the grace of God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
brand new song from my girl anne wilson, on grace - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3V7QCgLtTzM Christine Jesus offers grace in John 8: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John%208&version=NIV 1 – Romans 5.6-8 2 – W.H. Auden 3 – Isaiah 55.89, Message 4 - The Weight of Glory