Grace and Peace - Ephesians 1:1-2 - Episode 65

Grace and Peace - Ephesians 1:1-2 - Episode 65
Season 5 Sweet Selah Moments Podcas...

 
 
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Welcome to Season Five, friend. Nicole and Sharon are going to be digging in to the wonderful book of Ephesians this season. What better way to begin, then to ponder Paul's greeting? Grace and Peace. Join us for a look at those words from the Bible and ponder with us how they apply to our lives today. Because they really do. And ask you listen, friend? Grace and peace to you.

Read the transcript for Grace and Peace-Ephesians 1:1-2-Episode 65

Speaker 1 (00:03):

Is your world a little crazy and off kilter at the moment, feeling a bit frazzled? Well then, you’ve found the perfect place to regain some quiet today. Welcome to the Sweet Selah Moments Podcast, where we study His Word and encourage one another. The Sweet Selah Moment Podcast is a cooperative production of Word Radio and Sweet Selah Ministries.

Nicole (00:29):

Welcome to the Sweet Selah Moments Podcast. This is episode 65 and the first episode in our brand new season, we’re calling it Grace and Peace. We will be studying Ephesians this season and I can’t wait. I really love Ephesians Sharon. I studied it on my own this past fall, and I love the beginning theme in Ephesians of really securing our identity in Christ. Paul starts out telling us how we are chosen by God and so loved and even chosen to be holy. And then through the next three chapters, he describes all the wonderful things we can do with Christ, through Christ and under the authority of Christ, along with Christ and united with him. It’s very exciting to see all the ways that God is with us. Mid-book there’s a wonderful reassurance about our salvation and how it’s not anything we can earn, but that it’s given to us freely and how we are God’s masterpieces. I really love that part.

Sharon (01:20):

Oh yes.

Nicole (01:21):

And next onto the beautiful description on God’s grace and mercy, and also encouragement to use the gift of the Holy Spirit as strength within us. There’s a great section on husbands and wives, as well as parents and children. And then finally at the end, he closes with the chapter on the full armor of Christ and how to guard these gifts and be aware of the attack of the devil. So essentially, using all these wonderful gifts we learned about in previous chapters. It’s just a great book to read on all the most basic steps in our walk with God. After we are Christians, we may ask, what now? This is the book to study to further grow or to reinvigorate our walk with God. After reading about his great love and mercy I want to spend more time with him. So Sharon, let’s talk about this title, ‘Grace and Peace’. Why did you choose that to start us off?

Sharon (02:09):

Well, first of all, I was excited before your introduction and now I’m more excited. You really did love it, didn’t you?

Nicole (02:17):

I did. It’s a great book.

Sharon (02:17):

Oh, my goodness. It is. And just giving that overview was so helpful to me to remember all the different parts. There’s a lot in this book.

Nicole (02:25):

There’s so much in Ephesians.

Sharon (02:26):

Yes. Well, Season five is all Ephesians except for one little Easter week, because there’s so much in Ephesians that we’re going to want to study. And we’re starting with grace and peace. It’s so good to be back in the studio with you, pondering God’s word and life together. I chose grace and peace, those two key words, because I think we’re gonna see, as we study this book, both words are themes. They’re kind of themes of this letter to the people in Ephesus. And also this is how Paul greets the Ephesian church at the very beginning of the letter. It’s an important way to begin. And I love how he always sort of begins with blessing. So this is what it says, Ephesians 1:1-2. “This letter is from Paul.” (Don’t you like that? I don’t write my letters like that. This letter is from Sharon. Laughing. But anyway though.) “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.”

Nicole (03:36):

Oh, there it is.

Sharon (03:37):

I know.

Nicole (03:37):

That’s nice.

Sharon (03:38):

So it’s almost like a little blessing at the beginning. So we’re gonna define the terms. Grace is one of my very favorite words. It means “undeserved or unmerited favor”. Grace is kindness and love poured out on someone who has not earned a right to it. It’s absolutely what God did for us when he came and died for us. And I love that related word, gracious, Nicole. I am not always gracious. If someone pushes me, I wanna push back, not move out of the way and give them first place. But Jesus encourages graciousness beyond what one would consider reasonable in the Sermon of the Mount. I mean extreme graciousness.

Nicole (04:23):

Oh yeah.

Sharon (04:23):

So, can you read that very hard portion of scripture that talks about graciousness?

Nicole (04:30):

Oh yes. This portion makes me cringe a little. It’s from Matthew 5:38-48. “You have heard the law that says the punishment must match injury, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say, do not resist an evil person. If somebody slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also. If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat too. If the soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles. Give to those who ask and don’t turn away from those who want to borrow. You have heard the law that says, love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies. Pray for those who persecute you. In that way, you’ll be acting as true children of your Father in heaven, for he gives sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just, and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you were kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that, but you are to be perfect even as your father in heaven is perfect.

Sharon (05:37):

Yowsers. I mean, it’s like crazy. Oh, you took my coat, have have my shirt as well, or vice versa, you know?

Nicole (05:45):

Yes, I’ve just never felt that way spontaneously on my own.

Sharon (05:48):

No, just that grace, that undeserved favor on someone that super doesn’t deserve it. It’s just amazing. Grace doesn’t demand, its own way. A gracious person gives the other the benefit of the doubt and steps aside, rather than shoving back.

Nicole (06:03):

I know. And that is, it’s so hard, Sharon. It’s not the normal way of life. And it’s certainly foreign to us in America, you know, used to getting, demanding our rights.

Sharon (06:11):

Yeah, it is.

Nicole (06:11):

It’s downright uncomfortable to be gracious sometimes. I don’t know why this is so hard, to be gracious. Maybe because it feels so personal to be wronged. So we just react straight from our flesh, you know? (Sharon: Mm-hmm) I know I’ve had times when Josh has extended loads of grace when I’ve made a mistake or just had a bad week and made some poor financial choices, which makes his job of balancing the budget a lot more work, but he’s so kind and he will explain again, how it all works and help me figure out how to balance it again and find money.

Sharon (06:41):

Oh, patient Josh.

Nicole (06:41):

Even though it was my impulse-shopping. Yes. He’s very gracious. He’s a good example to me of it.

Sharon (06:47):

Oh my goodness. Well, Ray was a good example to me this past week because, oh my goodness, Nicole, he bought me the most beautiful surprise present at Christmas. Ray never gives me surprises. (Nicole: No.) He much prefers to know in advance I will like it.

Nicole (07:01):

Yes. I remember you telling me.

Sharon (07:02):

He was super nervous about it. It’s the first time in, we’ve been married over 40 years, that I have been given a surprise gift of this magnitude.

Nicole (07:10):

This is really special then.

Sharon (07:11):

I know it is. Yes. (Nicole: I can’t wait to hear.) So anyways, for my 60th birthday, he got me this new wedding set and it’s white gold with a pink star Sapphire.

Nicole (07:20):

Oh beautiful.

Sharon (07:21):

Just what I wanted. And he did it. So, but I chose it out. So that’s more typical. So he was scrolling through Kohl’s online and he saw star sapphire white gold earrings that really matched this. And so, they were on sale, which, good, because they were seventy percent off. So he buys me these earrings anyways. (Nicole: Oh.) So I open them Christmas morning. I cry. I weep. I’m so excited. (Nicole: Yes.) Then Kathryn comes to visit. I wear them, the end of the day I reach up and one is gone.

Nicole (07:52):

Oh no!

Sharon (07:53):

Can you stand it?

Nicole (07:54):

Oh no!

Sharon (07:55):

I wear earrings every day. And at the end of the day are two in my ears.

Nicole (08:00):

Always.

Sharon (08:01):

So why, why?

Nicole (08:02):

The special Ray earrings?

Sharon (08:03):

So I didn’t tell him right away ’cause I kept hoping I’d find it.

Nicole (08:06):

Right.

Sharon (08:07):

You know? So, but in the end of course I knew I needed to tell him because that’s honesty and that’s right. And it was terrible. So I was a coward. I wrote him a letter and I told him in the letter how much I loved it and how sad I was I lost it. And all that. So, I wrote him the letter. I made him go read it by himself.

Nicole (08:26):

(Laughing) Oh, Sharon that’s so funny.

Sharon (08:26):

So then I’m sitting in the other room, waiting for him to read the letter. He comes right in. He puts his arms open. (Nicole: Oh!) He’s like, ‘come here”. He said, you got yourself all worked up about this. He said, yes, it was expensive, but it was seventy percent off, which made me feel better. So we’re gonna look again for another seventy percent off sale and I’ll have three.

Nicole (08:47):

That’s sweet.

Sharon (08:47):

That’s a long story, but it’s just such a sweet example of grace extended toward me because, you know, that was his first attempt at pleasing me and I went and lost it the second time I wore them. So.

Nicole (09:01):

He could have been really quite fired up about it if he chose, but he chose the gracious response.

Sharon (09:05):

He did. He did so thank the Lord.

Nicole (09:08):

Well, it’s good that you remember that. I feel like I’m bad at remembering the times when people are gracious to me, Sharon.

Sharon (09:14):

Yes. Yes. Yes.

Nicole (09:15):

It’s hard in the moment when you’re frustrated to extend that same grace.

Sharon (09:18):

It is.

Nicole (09:19):

I’ll have to remember when I see his socks on the floor to give him grace, because he gave me some grace.

Sharon (09:23):

Exactly. Exactly.

Nicole (09:25):

Oh, well let’s talk about peace now. I bet we can get some peace if we remember to be gracious to others, what do you think?

Sharon (09:32):

I think so.

Nicole (09:33):

Oh, so anyway, I looked up ‘peace’ and it is defined as ‘freedom from disturbance or, tranquility’. Sounds pretty great, doesn’t it?

Sharon (09:41):

Yes it does.

Nicole (09:42):

But the thing is we live in an incredibly terrifying and very unpeaceful world at times. So I looked up what the definition of ‘peace’ is as it’s meant in the Bible. And I found this really great description of biblical peace and I really loved it. It said biblical peace is more than just the absence of conflict. It is taking action to restore a broken situation. It’s more than a state of inner tranquility. It is a state of wholeness and completeness. Biblical peace is not something we can create on our own. It is a fruit of the Spirit. And as we, you know, believers know that ultimately God is the only source of true peace in this world. And Sharon, tell me, how do we grow these fruits of the Spirit?

Sharon (10:21):

I know because it’s hard to do, isn’t it?

Nicole (10:23):

It is!

Sharon (10:24):

And it starts with Sweet Selah time. It always does. It starts with sitting at his feet, remembering who he is and remembering what’s true. That’s what I always have to go back to. When I’m feeling unpeaceful, okay, well, what is true? I’m loved.

Nicole (10:42):

Yes.

Sharon (10:42):

And I’m not loved because I’ve been particularly fancy. I’m loved cause God made me and, and he likes me, you know? (Nicole: That’s true.) And my destination is heaven. Things like that, help bring back the peace. (Nicole: Yes.) How about you? What brings back peace to you?

Nicole (10:58):

I love when you think about like the fruits of the Spirit I think of like a little tree again. We’ve talked about being a tree planted in the right place. And I think about like, well where, what am I feeding right now? What am I feeding my little roots? Am I feeding it on God’s Word and sitting at his feet? Or am I listening to the news and listening to all the people and frenzy around me? Like what what’s feeding my, my peace or lack of it.

Sharon (11:19):

You know what? That’s so true. That’s true. Where our mind goes, what we’re thinking about, affects peace or lack of it. (Nicole: Oh, for sure.) Anxiety’s super… Well, anxiety attacks you can’t really help. They just like hit you, but, but the worry kind of thing? (Nicole: Yes.) That comes when we choose to dwell on the unpleasant instead of what is eternally true.

Nicole (11:40):

Yes.

Sharon (11:40):

Which in the end, it works out great.

Nicole (11:42):

It does. (Laughing) We keep forgetting the ending. We know the ending. I keep forgetting. It’s like, oh, this is horrible!

Sharon (11:48):

It’s a messy middle. It’s the pacing in the garage looking for an earring. (Nicole: Yes) Right? Oh my goodness, please, let me find it Lord. But the Lord said, no, I think you need to talk to Ray about this. (Nicole: Yeah) So, anyways.

Nicole (12:00):

Oh, that’s sweet. It’s much better just to get it out there too.

Sharon (12:02):

It is, it is. Oh, and you know what I liked about that definition of ‘peace’? I just wanted to emphasize it again before we go on cause I loved it. You said that it’s not just the absence of conflict. It is taking action to restore a broken situation. I really love that. That a peacemaker takes action to restore and not make things worse. I mean the Proverbs talk about stirring up anger.

Nicole (12:24):

Right.

Sharon (12:25):

You know, when you bring peace to something you’re looking to fix and heal, not stir up and agitate more.

Nicole (12:32):

Right. Oh, and you’re not looking to get your own way or to be right either. You’re looking to fix something broken. (Sharon: Yes!) You’re looking for the pieces that are missing or what’s needed.

Sharon (12:39):

Yes. It’s so beautiful. (Nicole: Yeah) What a glorious thing for Paul to say? (Nicole: I know) Grace, undeserved favor to you. Peace. Oh, I should say that more. Next time I see you I’m gonna say ‘grace and peace to you, Nicole’.

Nicole (12:51):

Oh, well, thank you, I know what that means now.

Sharon (12:54):

Well, okay then. We’re gonna look at Ephesians from the perspective of grace and peace. Paul’s gonna unpack these two words for us over and over throughout our study and we’re gonna return to them. But now it’s time to return to the opening verses in Ephesians again. Nicole, why don’t you read Ephesians 1:1-2 one more time?

Nicole (13:12):

Sure. “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.”

Sharon (13:27):

Hmm. You know, I love how Paul identifies himself as chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ. And he sure was. Yeah. I mean, he’s just walking along a road and all of a sudden he’s blinded by a light. He can’t see. And there’s Jesus saying hello, here I am. I’m real.

Nicole (13:44):

There’s no questioning that.

Sharon (13:44):

I feel like he was chosen pretty clearly. (Nicole: Yeah, laughing) You know, he really was. But even we are, maybe not as dramatically, but it’s really wild to think that he was called so specifically, wasn’t it?

Nicole (13:57):

Oh, yeah. That is pretty cool. I couldn’t imagine being called that dramatically. It would be much easier to be told very specifically with a blinding light, you are to do this.

Sharon (14:05):

I know it! We don’t get that do we? No. No.

Nicole (14:07):

But I think sometimes like I, you know, I’ve gotten so caught up in looking for God’s big plan for my life that I’ve forgotten to simply be kind to my neighbor or my family members, you know? (Sharon: mm-hmm) But God calls us to the thousands of little ways to follow his will and be kind each day.

Sharon (14:22):

He sure does and if we don’t know the big plan, and sometimes he only gives us enough light for the step right ahead of us, we know the small plan and you’re right. It’s kindness.

Nicole (14:31):

Yep. So not everyone gets the big laid out plan, like Paul. That’s okay. We have to rest in our own little path with Jesus.

Sharon (14:36):

Exactly right. And step by step he’ll unveil it. Yes. You’re right. So, so well after Paul identifies himself, he identifies the readers of the letter. He calls them the holy people in Ephesus who are faithful followers of Christ Jesus. So let’s start with Ephesus.

Nicole (14:51):

Yeah. So Ephesus (I did some research) was a magnificent city back in the day. I didn’t know that. (Sharon: Oh!) It was located where modern day Turkey is now. It was a capital city and a trade port and it was also a huge center of pagan worship. So, a rough place to start a church.

Sharon (15:06):

Yes, it would be.

Nicole (15:08):

So Paul ended up in Ephesus on one of his missionary journeys and preached to the people and converted many of them to Christianity. A church was established there and he left a couple in charge of it and went on to continue his missionary work. But he did come back to Ephesus and spent three years with this church to continue to encourage them and to help them grow in their faith as new believers. The Ephesians’ church really struggled with sticking to this one new way and they had a hard time separating some of Paul’s teaching and their new beliefs from the pervasive pagan culture around them. It’s pretty interesting, Sharon. Ephesus was a location of the temple of Artemis or Diana. You ever heard of that?

Sharon (15:46):

Oh yes.

Nicole (15:47):

Yeah. It’s one of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World.

Sharon (15:50):

It was huge.

Nicole (15:50):

Yeah, it was magnificent. I think it’s mostly destroyed now. I’ve never seen it, but (laughs).

Sharon (15:56):

Neither have I.

Nicole (15:56):

So this city had its very own magnificent temple to a pagan god. So the Christians have that looming nearby in their culture.

Sharon (16:03):

Literally looming. Yes. You’re right.

Nicole (16:06):

Where, and they had people coming from all over to worship at this temple. So because of this, many sales of goods were dedicated to the goddess Diana to her worship. They were making and selling little small idols of her and various forms of ways to worship her. So this was a huge part of the livelihoods of the people around them.

Sharon (16:24):

It’s basically a tourist city. Right?

Nicole (16:25):

Yeah. Yes. And it was like a big part of getting the money into the city too. (Sharon: Mm-hmm) So then there were other temples and gods that were worshiped there too, but the Diana temple was the big one. So this poor little church, this poor little new church was fighting a very strong multi-deity culture. That’s actually one of the big things that set them apart right away and caused them quite a bit of trouble. (Sharon: Yeah, yeah) It was the fact that this new religion, these new Christians didn’t accept any other gods or any other pagan rituals as acceptable in their form of worshiping the One True God. (Sharon: Yeah) That was a big deal because most of the other religions in that area at the time were accepting of several different religions and kind of all muddled it together and as long as you didn’t cause trouble or affect Ephesus or you know, it’s prosperity they didn’t care.

Sharon (17:07):

They didn’t care. You could worship lots of gods.

Nicole (17:09):

You could just kind of pick. It was like a buffet of gods.

Sharon (17:11):

(Laughs) A buffet, a god buffet!

Nicole (17:13):

They were everywhere. So you can actually read about a big fight that broke out in the end of the book of Acts, I think it’s like chapter 18 or 20 or something (Sharon: Uhhuh) that talks just about this, that some of the local silversmiths were really angry because the sale of their idols of Diana were plummeting.

Sharon (17:29):

Wow! That means there were a lot of Christians.

Nicole (17:31):

Yes! So it was booming despite all of this controversy, you know.

Sharon (17:34):

Fascinating.

Nicole (17:35):

So it was really neat and they kind of went after Paul, because they were upset with him. (Sharon: Uhhuh) but you know, it’s just … Ephesus … they held their ground in the beginning. That poor little church did a really good job to faithfully read the letters that Paul had written to them. And when he was there for three years, he encouraged them so much to kind of stand firm in their faith during a time when that was a tough culture to start out with.

Sharon (17:57):

You better believe it was. Yeah.

Nicole (17:58):

Yeah. So I really admire them, you know?

Sharon (18:00):

Oh, I think that’s neat. I really do. I love that Paul absolutely loves the people he leads to faith in Christ, don’t you?

Nicole (18:08):

Yeah, you can see it in his letters. Yeah.

Sharon (18:09):

You see it over and over again. You really can. It shows in each and every letter, it does. And this introduction shows what he valued in them. So I, I love that about it. So he calls them holy, first of all, holy means separate set apart, sanctified for a purpose. Nicole, that’s us.

Nicole (18:27):

How cool is that?

Sharon (18:28):

It feels weird to say we’re holy because we’re not, except for Christ. But, but he’s made us holy. We’re in the process of being made holy as God uses us for a purpose in his kingdom. We are not like people that don’t know him. We are his. Wholly his, using that other word that sounds like holy, our whole selves ought to be surrendered to him, set apart for his use. And that’s what Paul valued, people who were gladly surrendered to the God who knew best how to make their lives meaningful and full of value and purpose. I love that. He also called them faithful followers of Christ Jesus. So, all right. Faithful follower, Nicole, what makes someone a faithful follower?

Nicole (19:08):

I they think they did a good job showing that, didn’t they. True faithful followers would follow in the bad times, along with the good. It’s easy to follow God when he says yes to our prayers and life is going well, but it’s a lot harder to follow God when life is hard and confusing. But God calls us to a faithfulness that means all the time. And he will bless us for sticking with him through the tough times.

Sharon (19:30):

I like that, ‘all the time’ faithfulness.

Nicole (19:32):

Yeah. And not just when we feel like it.

Sharon (19:33):

Lord, give me ‘all the time’ faithfulness. (Nicole: Yep) Yeah. Yeah. You know, I think Paul demonstrates great faithfulness through his writing letters from prison. This is during his first captivity in Rome that he writes this letter to the Ephesians and Bible scholars believe that there were two separate times that Paul was imprisoned. So, it’s interesting. Ephesians is penned during this first captivity, which is relatively an easier one than his second one. And if extra biblical sources are right and we have really early records from Jerome and Eusebius, Paul was released after two years in Rome, around AD 62 and went and preached other places maybe as far away as Spain. (Nicole: Wow) We don’t have Bible sources on that, but (Nicole: Right) early, early, Christian historians have said that.

Nicole (20:17):

That’s so cool.

Sharon (20:18):

But then he must have come back to Rome. He was beheaded in AD 64 after the great fire in Rome where Nero chose conveniently to blame the Christians.

Nicole (20:26):

Yes.

Sharon (20:27):

So Paul was certainly a famous Christian and got blamed along with everyone else. So Paul’s second letter to Timothy is written during a much less pleasant prison time. But we’re gonna read Acts 28:16-24 to understand his prison conditions while he was writing Ephesians. (Nicole: Yeah, that’ll be good) to finish up this podcast. So, why don’t you start with verse 16?

Nicole (20:47):

Okay. “When we arrived in Rome, Paul was permitted to have his own private lodging though he was guarded by a soldier.”

Sharon (20:54):

“Three days after Paul’s arrival he called together the local Jewish leaders. He said to them, ‘brothers, I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Roman government even though I had done nothing against our people or the customs of our ancestors’.”

Nicole (21:11):

“The Romans tried me and wanted to release me because they found no cause for the death sentence.”

Sharon (21:15):

“But when the Jewish leaders protested the decision, I felt it necessary to appeal to Caesar even though I had no desire to press charges against my own people.”

Nicole (21:25):

“I asked you to come here today so we could get acquainted. And so I could explain to you that I am bound with this chain because I believe that the hope of Israel, the Messiah, has already come.”

Sharon (21:35):

“They replied, ‘we have had no letters from Judea or reports against you from anyone who has come here.”

Nicole (21:40):

“But we want to hear what you believe for the only thing we know about this movement is that it is denounced everywhere.”

Sharon (21:46):

Oh, that’s so funny. All we know about you is that nobody likes you.

Nicole (21:49):

Right! Tell us more.

Sharon (21:50):

That’s all. Yeah. “So a time was set and on that day, a large number of people came to Paul’s lodging. He explained and testified about the kingdom of God and tried to persuade them about Jesus from the scriptures, using the law of Moses and the books of the prophets he spoke to from morning until evening.

Nicole (22:10):

That’s a long sermon.

Sharon (22:11):

Oh man. Yes.

Nicole (22:12):

They must have been hungry to listen to that for so long. Some were persuaded by the things he said, but others did not believe.

Sharon (22:20):

Okay. So there you go. Then he’s in prison and I love his declaration there where he goes, basically, I’m here to tell you that the hope of Israel, Messiah has come. I mean, there it is in a nutshell. That’s our message.

Nicole (22:32):

Not pulling any punches, not trying to sneak it in. They’re like, this is what he believes firmly.

Sharon (22:36):

Yeah, not pulling punches. He’s not like luring them to give them free gifts. (Nicole: Right. Right.) He’s like, if you wanna come listen to me, I’m going to spend an entire day talking about that. But, but let’s go back to the prison part of this. What were the hardships that Paul faced in Rome during this captivity would you say?

Nicole (22:54):

Yeah, well he was, I mean, falsely accused and imprisoned.

Sharon (22:57):

Yeah, that’s pretty hard to begin with. Right.

Nicole (23:00):

He was, he did have his own lodgings, which was nice, but he was guarded by a soldier. So he probably had no privacy.

Sharon (23:05):

Right.

Nicole (23:05):

And he probably was listening to everything he was saying. So that would be kind of awkward you know.

Sharon (23:10):

It would. Can you imagine somebody in your house all the time that you didn’t know going…? Watching you?

Nicole (23:13):

Yeah. Just listening. Yeah, it would be very uncomfortable even if you were in your own home. And he probably got a little stir crazy. If you’re stuck at home, even if you’re in your own home, you can get a little, you know?

Sharon (23:23):

Cabin fever

Nicole (23:23):

Yeah, I feel like I feel like we can relate a little bit to this with, you know, quarantining in our current culture. It’s like, so let me outta here. But at least we don’t have a guard lurking in our house.

Sharon (23:32):

That’s right. Watching our every single minute. (Nicole: Yeah) Yeah, I think having a Roman guard with me 24/7 would get old really, really fast.

Nicole (23:40):

Yes.

Sharon (23:40):

Also, much as I love my home, I do wanna see other things. See other people, right? But on the other hand, because Paul could no longer travel, he was kind of stuck and had time to talk about Jesus and write to churches. Right?

Nicole (23:55):

That’s true.

Sharon (23:55):

And he did write quite a few letters from this place and think through things. It’s really special when you think about it. He lived in his own house. And his only mission during that time was to encourage via letters and to talk to whoever came to him. He didn’t even have to figure out ‘where should I go on my next mission trip?’.

Nicole (24:11):

Right.

Sharon (24:11):

He’s just there and God brings him people. (Nicole: Oh) Furthermore, every guard that heard Paul, right?

Nicole (24:16):

Mm-hmm. Forgot about that.

Sharon (24:17):

Oh yeah. Oh yeah.

Nicole (24:18):

Oh. It never ceases to amaze me how God can use some of the worst times to produce the best results in us.

Sharon (24:25):

I know. Isn’t he amazing?

Nicole (24:26):

It is just so cool. Like I understand this in my head, but to experience it myself and truly know, you know, know it in my heart. It’s another thing, you know? (Sharon: Mm-hmm) and God really can’t speak to us as well when we’re running around busy, even if we’re busy with good things and serving him. So if God needs to use imprisonment or illness or whatever, to get us to be still and listen, he will. And that’s so cool. He uses all things for his good. That’s such a comfort that he can reach through even the worst circumstances and still produce wonderful things.

Sharon (24:52):

He can, he can, and I am sure that there’s a guard or two from that time in Paul’s life that is in heaven today. (Nicole: Oh) Because God placed them where they would hear the Word preached.

Nicole (25:04):

That that’s really cool to think about.

Sharon (25:06):

I’ll bet there is.

Nicole (25:06):

Maybe there’s a whole lineage of his family that’s believers. And we’re reading his letters now and benefiting from that imprisonment of Paul.

Sharon (25:13):

Right. Right. And the time he had to meditate and think where he couldn’t be, you know, getting shipwrecked and stuff.

Nicole (25:18):

Right. Bitten by snakes. He had quite the life. He could be fun to talk to some day.

Sharon (25:23):

Oh my goodness. And to think he started out pretty much cushy. I mean he had Roman citizenship.

Nicole (25:29):

Oh yeah.

Sharon (25:29):

He was a fan-dancey Pharisee. (Nicole: Yeah) He threw it all over when Jesus blinded him that day.

Nicole (25:34):

I know. Isn’t that amazing? Gave it all up for…

Sharon (25:36):

He did. He did.

Nicole (25:37):

So it’s really neat. He’s cool.

Sharon (25:38):

Oh man. Well, that’s a lot to learn from opening verses in Ephesians.

Nicole (25:42):

I know we’re never gonna get through this whole book.

Sharon (25:44):

And we cannot do it all at this two-verse pace. We just can’t. So, but I’m gonna summarize, let’s just summarize the lessons learned for a minute. I have six little summaries. So here we go. Number one, Paul, even though in prison, cared to write a detailed letter to Christians, he probably would never see again. He never stopped caring for them. (Nicole: That was nice.) Number two, Paul never forgot he was chosen by Jesus. He never got over that wonder. And even though our choosings might not be quite as spectacular we should never get over the fact that God chose us. It should be a constant source of amazement and awe for us. I love that Paul was still like, ‘I was chosen’. (Nicole: I know that’s so neat.) So beautiful. Number three, we are to be holy, setting ourselves apart to do God’s will and not our own, gladly.

Sharon (26:33):

Number four. We are to be faithful even when it’s tough. The always faithful. Number five. We are to be gracious, filled with grace. Undeserved pardon for others. Yeah. It’s nice to remember it’s undeserved, but that’s what grace is. You know, it’s not like I’m saying I’m doing this for you because you earned it.

Nicole (26:53):

Right.

Sharon (26:54):

I just wanna give you grace like I’ve been given grace. And number five. Oh no, I just did number five, number six, we are to cling to the peace that only he can give by growing in our trust that he really does have all things under his control. No matter what.

Nicole (27:12):

Yes.

Sharon (27:12):

And we have to remember that. Also, number seven, I need to say grace and peace more often to people. (Nicole: Yes) I really do.

Nicole (27:19):

You should make it your new greeting. I like it.

Sharon (27:20):

I really love it because it’s wishing for their hearts to be right. And to be whole. It’s like the, the sweetest thing I can do, not just have a good day. (Nicole: Right) But have grace, have peace today.

Nicole (27:33):

A deeper meaning.

Sharon (27:34):

Let’s do that.

Nicole (27:34):

I like it. We should.

Sharon (27:35):

Well, let’s shake things up today and let’s have you close in prayer.

Nicole (27:39):

All right, then I will.

Sharon (27:39):

Can you do that?

Nicole (27:40):

Yes, I can. Oh, Lord, thank you so much. Thank you for Paul who wrote these wonderful letters that we can read now. Thank you for his faithfulness in following you and doing what you called him to do. Lord, I pray for our listeners. I pray that you will give them grace and peace. Help them to find their true peace in you Lord, as that’s our only source of peace that will not be shaken. And I pray for grace that we will extend it to those around us, that undeserved merit, Lord. You have given us so much grace. Help us to give it to others and not be stingy with it. Lord, thank you so much for your word and thank you for this time to talk about it. We’re excited to dig more into this book and thank you Lord, for all the blessings you give us. In your name, we pray. Amen.

Sharon (28:27):

Amen. Well, thank you for listening today, friends, we would love for you to join us as a podcast partner for this new season. And we have the sweetest news. We now are fully funded for the podcast, with the exception of paying our Nicole a little stipend each month, she works hard. Not only in the areas that you get to hear when you listen, but also behind the scenes, she gets our podcast ready to air every week. And y’all, that is a multi step process. I had no idea how complicated it was. So with a donation of as little as a dollar a month, you can help us out and get a fun newsletter that we write for you every week. Uh, no, we do not. We write it for you every month, and be part of the podcast partner gang. So go to SweetSelah.org/donations. Join us, be a podcast partner.

Nicole (29:18):

Thanks so much for jumping back in for season five, our study of Ephesians. Next week, we are digging into chapter one. Episode 66 is called Count Your Blessings. And that’s just what we’re going to do. Have a wonderful week filled with grace and peace.

Speaker 1 (29:35):

We are so glad you stopped for a while with us. The Sweet Selah Moments Podcast is a cooperative production of Word, Radio and Sweet Selah Ministries. More information about this podcast can be found at SweetSelah.org. Thank you for joining us.

 

You can download and print the transcript here.

6 Responses to “Grace and Peace - Ephesians 1:1-2 - Episode 65”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. Thank you for your time and commitment to teaching us all you know and understand what the Bible is telling us to
    do. Thank you for knowing you're following God's instructions so we know how to follow properly. Love you both for
    what you do for us. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Joyce Lee Parker.

  2. Marsha says:

    I'm so blessed to have the Podcasts start again

    • Sharon Gamble says:

      This is SUCH an encouragement. Thank you, Marsha. It feels good to know there are people "out there" listening. <3

  3. Lori Bell says:

    Dear Sharon and Nicole ~ Grace and peace to you! It's such a joy to listen to your podcast again. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and insights. And Sharon, I rejoice with you in the finding of your earring! I just read that this morning ♡. Warmly, Lori

    • Sharon Gamble says:

      Lori, I am beyond thrilled about finding the earring and can't help wondering if some of our podcast listeners prayed on Tuesday when they heard the story! To have it found after being lost for almost two months the day after the podcast ... perhaps God was answering the prayers of some of our listeners on my little behalf. In any case ... it's GREAT to be back and we love that you are happy about it, too.

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