Wednesday, 31 July 2013
Made in God's Image
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Question:  In what senses is man made in God’s image (1:27)?  (How do man’s abilities and function on earth reflect God’s image?)

Genesis 1:27 -- So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

Man has a free will.  He has the ability to think, to plan, to create, albeit on a limited basis.  He recognizes and appreciates beauty, perfection, even though, he often spoils these things. 

FOR THOUGHT AND DISCUSSION:  According to Genesis 1-2, does a person’s worth come from what he does, or from something else?  How might this fact affect the way you treat others?

We are here as a deliberate act of God; we are not random accidents.  He thought about each of our lives and according to Acts 17, He has placed each and every human being who was ever born, in a specific place and time so that we might feel our way to Him and find Him should we choose.  We have a purpose and that purpose is found in God.

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Posted on 07/31/2013 3:34 PM by Larry G
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Wednesday, 31 July 2013
Received by Christ
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Question:  Read Romans 15:7.  In this verse Paul reminds the Christians at Rome that they have been received (that is “accepted”) by Christ.  This theme is echoed in Ephesians 1:6.  What is so significant about this concept?  

Romans 15:7

 Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. (NIV)( Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.) (NKJV) 

Ephesians 1:6

to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 

Jesus is the way that we receive God’s grace and it is all about bringing glory to God.  Which means to me that it is all about giving credit where credit is due.  Giving glory to God is essentially recognizing who He is and what He does.  God is the final reality.  Without Him we have nothing, with Him, we have everything---He is everything.

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Posted on 07/31/2013 8:36 AM by Larry G
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Tuesday, 30 July 2013
Humanity's Intended Purpose and Task
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Question:  what do these passages tell you about humanity’s intended purpose and task?

Genesis 1:26, 28 -- Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." …. 28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth." 

We were to have dominion over the earth and everything on it.  We were also directed to have children and settle the entire earth.

Genesis 2:15 -- The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 

We were meant to work, to be purposefully occupied with keeping and tending the earth.  This doesn’t mean destroying the earth.

Genesis: 2:19-20 -- 19 Now out of the ground the LORD God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. 

Man was to decide what to call each creature that God had created.  Also the last verse implies that Eve when she is created was meant to be a helper for the man; to complement him.

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Posted on 07/30/2013 3:30 PM by Larry G
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Tuesday, 30 July 2013
A Righteousness From God
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Romans 3:21-26

21 But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,24 and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished--26 he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. 

Question:  How does this passage in Romans compare and contrast with the teachings in Ephesians 1:7 (In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace)?

It’s just a reiteration and amplification of Ephesians 1:7.

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Posted on 07/30/2013 8:31 AM by Larry G
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Monday, 29 July 2013
Man's Original Nature and Character
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Question:  Genesis asserts that man came into being by a decision and act of God (1:26, 2:7).  What can we learn from the following passages about man’s original nature and character?

Genesis 1:26-27 -- 26 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them

God created “man” to include both the man and the woman.  Creation entails both and they complement and support each other; they are part of the whole.  Also God tells us that we are made in His image; we are not Him.  We are like Him; but we are not Him.  This is big.

Genesis 2:7 -- then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. 

God is the source of our lives.  He made us and the only reason we are alive is because of Him.

Genesis 2:25 -- And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

The first man and woman were in an environment in which they needed no coverings to protect them against cold, heat, etc.  Their own personalities were such that they needed no ornaments or baubles to cover up what they felt might be character or physical deficiencies; they were created perfect. There was nothing to be ashamed about that needed to be covered or hidden.

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Posted on 07/29/2013 3:28 PM by Larry G
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Sunday, 28 July 2013
God's Purpose For Salvation
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Question:  Several times in these verses in Ephesians 1,  we are granted insight into God’s purpose(s) for salvation.  Why did God predestine us to adoption as sons (v.5)?

"he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will"

Bottom line is that it pleased or pleases Him to do so.

Question:  What do you think “to the praise of the glory of His grace” (v.6) means?  How is this idea also reflected in the last phrases in verses 12 and 14?

I think this means that we or all of creation will give Him credit for who He is and What He has done.  

Question:  The text states states clearly that God receives glory, pleasure, and praise from our salvation.  What does Paul say that we receive from the gracious hand of God?

Grace (His favor and mercy) and peace (Shalom)

We will be special and perfect in His sight--Completeness and cleanness

We will be His sons

Reunification/Union

Freedom

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Posted on 07/28/2013 10:17 AM by Larry G
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Sunday, 28 July 2013
The Creation of Man -- Adam and Eve
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Chapter 1 told how God created the earth and shaped it to accommodate its ruler—the human race.  The rest of Genesis will focus on that last and chief of God’s earthly creations.

The Babylonian myth Enuma Elish told people they were made as an afterthought to feed and work for the gods.  Modern doctrines teach that humans evolved by chance from lower life forms and may still be evolving into greater forms.  However, Genesis 2 answers these false claims to set God’s people straight.  Genesis 1:1 and 2:4 are topic sentences summarizing 2:4-4:26.  Genesis 1:2 and 2:5-6 tell the state of things before God begins the work at hand.

The story begins just before the sixth day of creation and focuses on important information about man’s place in the world.  Read 1:26-29 and 2:4-25 to see what man and woman were before they fell.  Look for clues to these two questions: “Who am I?” and “What should I do?”

Genesis 1:26-29, 2:2-25

26 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth." 29 And God said, "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food…. 2 And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. 3 So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.  4 These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens. 5 When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up--for the LORD God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, 6 and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground-- 7 then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. 8 And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9 And out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. 10 A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers. 11 The name of the first is the Pishon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 And the gold of that land is good; bdellium and onyx stone are there. 13 The name of the second river is the Gihon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Cush. 14 And the name of the third river is the Tigris, which flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates. 15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, "You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." 18 Then the LORD God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him."19 Now out of the ground the LORD God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. 21 So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said, "This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man." 24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

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Posted on 07/28/2013 3:20 PM by Larry G
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Saturday, 27 July 2013
The Role of the Trinity in the Salvation Process
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Question:  Go through and high light the various references to the members of the Trinity--God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  What unique role does each play in the salvation process?

Ephesians 1: 1-14

1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus: 2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love

5 he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will-- 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace

8 that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.

9 And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ,

10 to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment--to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.

11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,

12 in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.

13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,

14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession--to the praise of his glory. 

God the Father has determined the plan for Salvation.  God the Son is the means of Salvation.  God the Holy Spirit is the agent that actually empowers the person who has believed or trusted in what God the Father has done through Jesus, God the Son.

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Posted on 07/27/2013 10:07 AM by Larry G
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Saturday, 27 July 2013
God's Revelation of Himself in Creation
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According to Romans 1:20-21, how should humans respond to God’s revelation of Himself in creation?

20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 

This is in keeping with the first three commandments.  We need to acknowledge or come to the realization that He is God; there is no other god but Him; He is the only reality.  We cannot attribute our existence to something else or our survival to something that is not God and finally, in acknowledging these realities we must give Him the credit that is due to Him.

What happens to those who don’t respond like this (Romans 1:21-32)?

21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. 28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God's decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

People who do not honor God are given over to themselves.  They deliberately choose to believe a lie and then their lives are turned into one big lie that results in depravity, immorality and outright destruction; they go insane, total insanity.

 so. 

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Posted on 07/27/2013 3:14 PM by Larry G
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Friday, 26 July 2013
The Believer's Broad View of Life
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Question:  From this passage, Ephesians 1:1-14,  identify the past, present, and future aspects of God’s work in our lives (vv. 3-6, 6-11, 12-14.  Why do you think Paul takes such a broad view?

PAST:  He blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ.  He also chose us to be holy and blameless in His sight.   He determined in advance that through Yeshua the Messiah we would be his sons - in keeping with his pleasure and purpose 

PRESENT:  We are bringing Him praise.  We are free from our sins and are now in union with Him.  He has also shown us the meaning of the mystery of His will and He is now working out His plan with us and through us.

FUTURE:  Our lives or what we will become is going to result in further praise of God, who He is, and the wisdom of what He has done and is doing.  And some day we will be totally brought back to Him, totally reunited with Him.

Paul takes such a broad view because God is in control of all things; always has been and always will be.  He controls every life and every aspect of all lives.  Everything is tied together and has a purpose.  

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Posted on 07/26/2013 9:57 AM by Larry G
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Friday, 26 July 2013
God's Purpose in Creation
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Question:  What purposes or commands did God give to….

the sun and moon (1:16-18) --16 God made two great lights--the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. 

the animals (1:22,26) -- 22 God blessed them and said, "Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth." …..26 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." 

men and women (1:28) -- 28 God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground." 

plants (1:29-30) -- 29 Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground--everything that has the breath of life in it--I give every green plant for food." And it was so. 

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Posted on 07/26/2013 3:09 PM by Larry G
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Thursday, 25 July 2013
The Riches of His Grace -- Ephesians 1
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Paul spent three years pasturing the church at Ephesus and instructing them in the things of God.  During that time he probably taught them all the great truths of this epistle.  Because of Satanic opposition as well as the human tendency to forget what is true, however, Paul sensed the need for a letter of reminder and encouragement.  He wanted to challenge his brothers and sisters in the faith to grow in grace and to stand firm in the midst of an evil age.  

Rather than beginning with a long list of dos and don’ts, Paul began his correspondence with a refresher course in theology, answering questions such as: How is salvation accomplished?  Why did God bestow His grace on us?  What does the future hold for those who put their faith in Christ?

Paul recognized that such an emphasis on difficult doctrines was necessary because God-honoring behavior always spring from right beliefs.  Christians who lack a proper theological foundation will not have a proper appreciation for what God has done, nor will they adequately understand the resources at their disposal in the life of faith.

In the following passage, Paul describes believers’ infinite blessing Christ. Specifically he gives a panoramic view of God’s great salvation.

Read Ephesians 1:1-14, noting the key words, phrases in the passage, and their definitions.

1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus:

2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

3 Blessed (from the same Greek word as “eulogy,” which means to praise or commend.  It refers to God’s kindness to us as well as the appreciation or thanks we express back to Him.) be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,

4 just as He chose us (This refers to God’s pretemporal, sovereign act of electing who will be saved, a common theme in Paul’s writings [Rom, 8L29l 9:11; 1 Thess. 1:3, 4; 2 Thess. 2:13; 2 Tim. 2:10])  in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,

5 having predestined us to adoption as sons (the spiritual act whereby God brings a regenerated believer into His own family [see John 1:12]) by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,

6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.

7 In Him we have redemption (The Greek word means to “buy back” or “ransom.”  Used in a salvation context, it refers to Christ’s death on the cross that paid the price required to purchase the elect from the slave market of sin.)  through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace

8 which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence,

9 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself,

10that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times (The Greek word translated “dispensation” is the word from which we get our English word “economy.”  It means God’s perfect arrangement or administration of events and history to accomplish His plan. The phrase here refers to the millennial kingdom at the end of the world.)   He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth--in Him.

11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will,

12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.

13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit  (The spiritual act in which the Spirit of God, at the time of conversion, indwells a new believer and secures and preserves his or her salvation.)  of promise,

14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory. 

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Posted on 07/25/2013 9:24 AM by Larry G
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Thursday, 25 July 2013
The Seven Days of Creation
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Question:  What Correspondence do you see between days 1-3 and 4-6?

The overall sequence ultimately leads to man.  Each day provides the prerequisite conditions for the things that God will do on the following days.  Also we see on days 1-3 God acting on the Macro scale but on days 4-6, His creation goes into detail; He fleshes out the specifics of each dimension of His creation.

Question:  What does this pattern tell you about God and His creation?

God’s creation is deliberate, thought out, ordered, precise and everything fits together and provides a thoroughly functioning whole; and it was perfect and good.

Question: What do you think God wants us to learn about Himself, the world, or ourselves from each of the following repeated phrases?

“And God said, ‘Let….’And it was so”   ----   He deliberately created the universe; He is the beginning of all things and the creation was just as He decreed or wanted it to be.

“it was good” (each created thing) and “it was very good” (all creation) --- Everything that He created or creates is good; it is perfect.  Why?  Because He is good; He is perfect.

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Posted on 07/25/2013 3:05 PM by Larry G
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Wednesday, 24 July 2013
INTRODUCTION TO EPHESIANS --A STUDY ON THE BOOK OF EPHESIANS BY JOHN MACARTHUR
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The letter is addressed to the church in the city of Ephesus, capital of the Roman province of Asia (Asia Minor, modern Turkey).  Because the name Ephesus is not mentioned in every early manuscript of this letter, some scholars believe the letter was an encyclical, intended to be circulated and read among all the churches in Asia Minor and simply sent first to believers in Ephesus.

AUTHOR AND DATE

No evidence has arisen for questioning Paul’s authorship.  He is indicated as author in the opening salutation (1:1; 3:1).  Written from prison in Rome (Acts 28:16-31) sometime between AD 60-62, the letter is, therefore, often labeled a prison epistle (along with Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon).  Ephesians may have been composed almost at the same time as Colossians and initially sent with that epistle and Philemon by Tychicus (6:21-22; Col. 4:7-8).

BACKGROUND AND SETTING

The gospel probably was first brought to Ephesus by Priscilla and Aquila, an exceptionally gifted couple (see Acts 18::26), who had been left there by Paul on his second missionary journey (Acts 18:18-19).  Located at the mouth of the Cayster River, on the east side of the Aegean Sea, Ephesus was perhaps best known for its magnificent temple of Artemis, or Diana, on the seven wonders of the ancient world.  It was also an important political, educational , and commercial center, ranking with Alexandria in Egypt and Antioch of Pisidia, in southern Asia Minor.

Later, Paul firmly established this fledgling  church on his third missionary journey (Acts 19), and he pastured it for some three years.  After Paul left, Timothy pastured the congregation for perhaps a year and a half, primarily to counter the false teaching of a few influential men (such as Hymenaeus and Alexander), who were probably elders in the congregation there (1 Tim. 1:3, 20).  Because of those men, the church at Ephesus was plagued by “fables and endless genealogies” (1 Tim. 1:4) and by such ascetic and unscriptural ideas as the forbidding of marriage and abstaining from certain foods (1Tim. 4::3).  Although those false teachers did not rightly understand Scripture, they propounded their ungodly interpretations with confidence (1 Tim. 1:7), which produced in the church harmful “disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith” (1 Tim 1:4).  About thirty years later, Christ gave the apostle John a letter for the church indicating that its people had left their first love for Him (Rev. 2:1-7).

HISTORICAL AND THEOLOGICAL THEMES

The first three chapters are theological, emphasizing New Testament doctrine, whereas the last three chapters are practical and focus on Christian behavior.  Above all, this is a letter of encouragement and admonition, written to remind believers of their immeasurable blessings in Jesus Christ, not only to be thankful for those blessings, but also to live in a manner worthy of them. Despite, and partly even because of, Christians’ great blessing in Jesus Christ, they are sure to be tempted by Satan to self-satisfaction and complacency.  Thus, in the last chapter, Paul reminds believers of the full and sufficient spiritual armor supplied to them through God’s Word and by His Spirit (6:10-17) and of their need for vigilant and persistent prayer.

A key theme of Ephesians is the mystery (meaning a heretofore unrevealed truth) of the church--”that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel” (3:6), a truth completely hidden from the Old Testament saints (3:5, 9).  All believers in Jesus Christ, the Messiah, are equal before the Lord as His children and as citizens of His eternal kingdom, a marvelous truth that only believers of this present age possess.  Paul also speaks of the mystery of the church as the bride of Christ (5:32; Rev. 21:9).  Paul emphasizes the major truth that the church is Christ’s present spiritual, earthly body, also a distinct and formerly unrevealed truth about God’s people.  This metaphor depicts the church not an organization, but as a living organism composed of the mutually related and interdependent parts.  Christ is Head of the body, and the Holy Spirit is its lifeblood.  The body functions through the faithful use of its members’ various spiritual gifts, sovereignty and uniquely given by the Holy Spirit to each believer.

 Another prominent theme is the riches and fullness of blessing to believers.  Paul writes of the “riches of His [God’s] grace (1:7), the “unsearchable riches of Christ” (3:8), and the “riches of His glory (3:16).  Paul admonishes believers to “be filled with all the fullness of God” (3:19), to “come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (4:13), and “to be filled with the Spirit” (5:18).  Believers’ riches in Christ are based on God’s grace (1:2, 6-7; 2:7), peace (1:2), will (1:5), pleasure and purpose (1:9), glory (1:12-14), calling and inheritance (1:18), power and strength (1:19; 6:10), love (2:4), workmanship (2:10), Holy Spirit (3:16), offering and sacrifice (5:2), and armor (6:11-13). The word “riches” is used five times in the letter; “grace” is used twelve times, “fullness” or “filled” six times; and the key phrase “in Christ (or “in Him”) twelve times.

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Posted on 07/24/2013 9:15 AM by Larry G
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Wednesday, 24 July 2013
Creation of the Heavens and Earth
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As you read the passage below, notice how God gives form to what had been the formless darkness of chaos on days 1-3 (Observe the repeated word “separated” or “divided” in 1:3-13).  Notice that on days 4-6, He fills the emptiness of chaos.

Genesis 1:1-2:3

1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. 3 And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light "day," and the darkness he called "night." And there was evening, and there was morning--the first day. 6 And God said, "Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water." 7 So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so. 8 God called the expanse "sky." And there was evening, and there was morning--the second day. 9 And God said, "Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear." And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground "land," and the gathered waters he called "seas." And God saw that it was good. 11 Then God said, "Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds." And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.13 And there was evening, and there was morning--the third day. 14 And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth." And it was so. 16 God made two great lights--the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening, and there was morning--the fourth day. 20 And God said, "Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky." 21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them and said, "Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth." 23And there was evening, and there was morning--the fifth day. 24 And God said, "Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind." And it was so. 25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 26 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 28 God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground." 29 Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground--everything that has the breath of life in it--I give every green plant for food." And it was so. 31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning--the sixth day…….1 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. 2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.3 And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.

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Posted on 07/24/2013 2:58 PM by Larry G
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Tuesday, 23 July 2013
Creation Myths
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The accounts in Genesis 1-4 have been called “myth,” but experts on myth agree that Genesis is very different from what is usually called myth, as we can see if we compare Genesis 1 to other ancient stories.

Five Egyptian cities had five different accounts of the origin of the world, the gods and man.  Each myth was designed to prove that its city was the place where creation began and that its god was supreme.  The stories varied, but each portrayed creation as a birth process from single gods or male-female couples.  The gods embodied such forces as air, moisture, earth, sky, and sun.

Likewise Babylon’s creation account, Enuma Elish, was written to show how Marduk became the chief god of Babylon.  The myth was used for magical recitation to influence natural events.  To get the flavor of how Babylonians conceived of gods and man, consider this summary:

“In the beginning there were two gods, Apsu and Tiamat, who represented the fresh waters (male) and marine waters (female).  They cohabited and produced a second generation of divine beings.  Soon Apsu was suffering from insomnia because the young deities were making so much noise; he just could not get to sleep.  He wanted to kill the noisy upstarts, despite the protests of his spouse, Tiamat.  But before he managed to do that, Ea, the god of wisdom and magic, put Apsu to sleep under a magic spell and killed him.

“Not to be outdone, wife Tiamat plotted revenge on her husband’s killer and those who aided the killing. Her first move was to take a second husband, whose name was Kingu. Then she raised an army for her retaliation plans.

“At this point the gods appealed to the god Marduk to save them. He happily accepted the challenge, on the condition that if he was victorious over Tiamat, they would make him chief of all gods.

“The confrontation between Tiamat and Marduk ended in a blazing victory for Marduk.  He captured Tiamat’s followers and made them his slaves.  Then he cut the corpse of Tiamat in half, creating heaven from one half of it and the earth from the other half.  He ordered the earlier supporters of Tiamat to take care of the world.

“Shortly thereafter, Marduk conceived another plan.  He had Kingu killed and arranged for Ea to make man out of his blood.  In the words of the story, man’s lot is to be burdened with the toil of the gods.’  To demonstrate their gratitude to Marduk, the gods then helped him to build the great city of Babylon and its imposing temple.

Notice that the Babylonians could not imagine creation without a male and female god, for they thought gods were like humans.  Observe also that, unlike Israel’s God, the gods needed companionship, food, and sleep (compare Psalm 121:4), and had selfish rather than loving, moral motives.  Man was an afterthought, created from the blood of a rebel god to be a slave.  These were the notions current in Abraham’s and Moses’ day that the Lord needed to refute.

The Babylonian story is wordy and elaborate, while Genesis 1 uses “only 76 different word forms fundamental to all mankind, arranged in a wonderful poetical pattern free from any highly colored figures of speech. “  It is intelligible to any child, yet includes all the essential facts of creation. (pages 25, 26, of the Life Change Series study on Genesis)

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Posted on 07/23/2013 2:57 PM by Larry G
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Tuesday, 23 July 2013
Bible Studies for Genesis, Ephesians and Acts to be Reposted
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We will be reposting bible studies that were originally posted on our website when the domain was with another carrier.  Once again these are Bible studies that were completed in adult classes.  The Book of Acts study and the study on Genesis came from the LIFE CHANGE Series, which were published by NavPress.  The Ephesians study was taken from the John MacArthur study titled: EPHESIANS: Our Immeasurable Blessings in Christ.  All topical questions and any Discussion sections are from the respective studies.  We hope you get as much pleasure from these as those of us who had a chance to go through this material during the adult studies at Calvary.  Grace and Peace to you.
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Posted on 07/23/2013 2:44 PM by Larry G
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Monday, 22 July 2013
Noah an example of Christian Baptism
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Question: Read 1 Peter 3:18-22 and Romans 6:3-4.  How is Noah’s experience a type of Christian baptism?

1 Peter 3:18-22 (NLT)

18 Christ also suffered when he died for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners that he might bring us safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit. 19 So he went and preached to the spirits in prison -- 20 those who disobeyed God long ago when God waited patiently while Noah was building his boat. Only eight people were saved from drowning in that terrible flood. 21 And this is a picture of baptism, which now saves you by the power of Jesus Christ's resurrection. Baptism is not a removal of dirt from your body; it is an appeal to God from a clean conscience. 22 Now Christ has gone to heaven. He is seated in the place of honor next to God, and all the angels and authorities and powers are bowing before him.

Romans 6:3-4 (ESV)

3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.

As Noah was brought into a place of safety which GOD provided and consequently, saved by GOD, Christians are also brought into a place of safety by being baptized or immersed into Jesus.  In Him we are finally brought to the Father and our final place of rest.  As Psalm 23 tells us, we will dwell in the house of the LORD, forever and He is the one who will bring us home.

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Posted on 07/22/2013 6:02 PM by Larry G
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Sunday, 21 July 2013
The Personal Qualities of Noah the man
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What good qualities of Noah can we observe in Genesis 6:9-8:20?

It is interesting that if we look at Genesis 6:8, we are told that Noah found favor or “grace” in the eyes of the LORD.  Grace isn’t something that is earned; it is something that is given.  Noah is righteous in the same manner that Abraham was righteous—HE TRUSTS GOD.  Also Noah is a thinker, he considers what he knows about the world he is living in and he bounces it off what GOD is telling him and this enables him to begin and continue on this task.  Noah is also an individual who can focus and the bottom line is that this man was a “doer” not just a talker.  He was a “worker.” 

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Posted on 07/21/2013 5:56 PM by Larry G
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Saturday, 20 July 2013
Noah -- Walking With God
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How did Noah display the trait of “holy fear” (Genesis 6:9-8:20)?

Interesting that in the beginning of this passage, we are told that Noah was a “just man.”  Then we are told that the earth was corrupt; men were corrupt, all flesh, everything was corrupt; and as a result of this corruption the whole earth was filled with violence.  Noah could see that what GOD was telling him about the earth and all creatures was true.  He knew that GOD was talking to him about reality.  Because Noah is described as a “just man” he could recognize that GOD spoke the truth and was the truth.  So what he does next is pretty significant.  When GOD tells when what is going to happen next, Noah makes a conscious decision to trust Him.  And when GOD describes what is going to happen, Noah takes Him seriously, even though, neither he nor anybody else on earth had ever seen catastrophic flood or even rain.  But he trusts God and does exactly what he is instructed to do which involves building a huge ocean-going vessel to receive mass numbers of animals, which somehow are going to show up and get on board.  While the sun was probably still shining he and his family go into the ark and the door is shut and after the flood happens, in spite of the horrendous destruction, rather than remain in the relative safety of the ark, Noah and his family leave the ark when told to do so.  All in all, it comes down to one thing—trust.  Noah trusts God.  He realizes who GOD is and what He has done, and Noah worships Him by trusting and obeying. 

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Posted on 07/20/2013 5:51 PM by Larry G
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