Friday, June 5, 2020

From the Heart: Ephesians

May 30, 2019 by  
Filed under Articles, Devotional, From the Heart

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. 

This is truly Paul’s letter of encouragement to the saints there at Ephesus and it can be good news for all who feel abandoned and unloved.

In chapter 2:19, He writes, “You are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household.”

Imagine with me, that you are a child, abandoned on the streets of New York. Your immigrant parents died on the ship on the way to America. You have no money and no relatives. You can’t speak English. And you are left to fend for yourself.

As many as 10,000 orphans found themselves in exactly that predicament in 1850. They slept in alleys, huddling for warmth in boxes or metal drums. To survive, the boys mostly stole, caught rats to eat, or rummaged in garbage cans. Girls sometimes worked as helpers to prostitutes, slipping their tiny hands through camouflaged openings in the walls to lift a watch or wallet from a preoccupied customer.

Immigrants were flooding New York City then, and no one had the time or money to look after the orphans, no one, that is except a man named Charles Loring Brace, a 26-year old minister. Horrified by their plight, he organized a unique solution, “the Orphan Train.” The idea was simple: pack hundreds of orphans on a train heading west and announce to towns along the way that anyone could claim a new son or daughter when the Orphan Train came through.

By the time the last Orphan Train streamed west in 1929, about a 100,000 children had found new homes and new lives. Two

Orphans from the train went on to become governors, one served as a United States congressman, and still another was a US Supreme Court justice.

The Orphan Train provides us with a vivid parable of the message to the Ephesians. To capture Paul’s enthusiasm in this letter, imagine one more stage of your life. You are homeless on the streets of New York. You have learned to survive and fight off starvation. But one day, someone takes you and puts you on a smoke-belching train filled with hundreds of other foreign speaking youngsters. Three days later you are selected by a kindly middle aged couple in Michigan who introduced themselves as Mr. and Mrs. Henry Ford. You are driven in an automobile to the largest house you have ever seen, and they quietly explain that you are now a part of their family. Everything they have is yours to use and enjoy. At long last, by some miracle you have a family and a home, “and what a home it is!”

Now I’ve said all that to help you see that Paul is saying something like that to his Ephesian brothers and sisters and in like manner, to us as well. “Welcome Home!”

It reminds me of the parable of the Lost Son in Luke 15. His father had been looking for him, waiting, praying that he would repent and come home. Can you imagine the joy he must have felt when he saw his son coming down that long dusty road. I can just imagine the big welcome home banner stretched across the lawn, confetti swirling in the air, balloons hung skyward. What a joyful home coming.

This wonderful letter of encouragement is reminding “all of us as Christians that we have been adopted directly into the family of God and that beautiful new home is waiting for our arrival.

Search your heart today, if you are feeling discouraged or wondering if God really cares or question whether the Christian life is worth the effort, please read the Ephesian letter. You will no longer feel like an orphan. Paul describes the “riches of Christ” available to all and points to us, God’s adopted children, as His sparkling exhibit A in all the universe.

 Eph. 3:10-11, to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, *according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.

This letter contains thoughts that are staggering to our imagination. He wants us to grasp completely, to the fullest extent just how great is the “Love of Christ.”

Eph. 3:18-19, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height *to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Paul, a great apostle of Christ is re-assuring the Ephesians and us as well, that regardless of our standing in this life, whether a king or a beggar, we are all the same to God. He loves us and He has prepared a home in heaven, just for you and me!  

Thank you so very much for your time and attention. May God bless you today and always. In Jesus Name, Amen!

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