Every Day Words | Daily Devotional

Every Day Words | Daily Devotional

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Every Day Words

Every Day Words is short, weekday, one minute devotional written by our pastor and his wife.

It is written to correspond with the sermon each week.

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Where God dwells on earth

In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

– Ephesians 2:22


The temple (and the tabernacle before it) was the place of sacrifice. It was also where God dwelt with man on earth. God dwelt in the tabernacle by pillars of cloud and fire. On the day Solomon’s temple was dedicated, God’s Shekinah glory descended upon it.


God’s people had a physical place and physical signs that God was with them. They were not alone on this earth because God dwelt in His holy temple.


Today we, the church, are now the dwelling place of God. We are the pillar of cloud and fire. We bear, sometimes quite dimly, the glory of God found in the face of Jesus Christ. We are where God is found on earth.


This puts a different spin on what we are doing here as Christ’s body. This makes the church quite a bit more important than any other meeting. We aren’t just gathering to sing, pray, and preach—we are gathered as the place where God dwells.


Our great hope as a local body is that, by the Spirit of God, to be a place where God is made known in all His glory. The glory of the house isn’t the purpose, and the glory of our building is not the purpose. The glory of God in the midst of His gathered people is what we desire. The White House is an amazing place because it shows forth the power and greatness of the man who resides there. God resides here. Do we reflect that reality?

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We are joined together

in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.

 – Ephesians 2:21


Though a foundation is a wonderful thing—and without it nothing can be built to last—it is not the ultimate objective. A foundation is built so a building might be added. And we, as God’s children, are that building.


We are not being built as individual Christians to simply be bricks out in a field somewhere. We were not meant to be formed and left to ourselves. We are being built together into something. The church is the magnificent display of the grace of God. We are being built into a temple.


The Temple of the Jews was holy. It was completely set apart from ordinary use. It was a special place, unique in all the world. It was a place that the mercy of God was declared in a radical, bloody way. It was a place that brought people near to God.


We, as the church, are also holy. We are set apart and utterly unique in the world. There is no other institution that declares the glory of God’s grace the way the church does.


We are constantly being built into this great display. We must rest firmly on Jesus as revealed in the apostles and prophets, but we must not do so on our own. We must be banded together with the rest of the body of the church, brick joined to brick, layer upon layer, so that the full majesty of the wonder of God’s handiwork will be displayed. This is the work of God in His church.

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Members of God's Household

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,

  – Ephesians 2:19


God brought us into the kingdom and, more than that, made us part of His very own household. The wonder of this kindness is hard to fathom!


Before, when we were strangers and aliens, we were living as enemies in the kingdom. We were like poachers, hiding in the weeds and stealing what did not belong to us. We were using someone else’s property in ways that were not permitted and with intent to harm the owner.


Then, God, in His great kindness, brought us into the citizenry of the kingdom. We were given rights to His land and goods. We were made lawful users and no longer had to poach and steal because the cattle were all His!


More than that, He brought us into His own household! It is as if the Queen of England not only made us citizens but gave us royal titles and rights to the court. It is an unbelievable grace.


The rights of the household are more than those of citizens. We see this when Jesus says in John 15:15, “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” We are made special friends in the court of God to know His bidding. And, it is our delight to do it!

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We are no longer strangers

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 

 – Ephesians 2:19


There are times when people outside the church shout that they don’t believe the Bible and tell us to stop quoting it. But we ought to ignore their cries and keep telling them God’s Words. Why, you ask?


Imagine you find yourself stuck in a foreign land among people who do not speak your language. They have their own words for everything and do not make much of an effort to know what your language is, but simply continue to speak their own words. Would you think they were mean? Of course not! You would know that it is better for you to learn their language than for them to learn yours—it is their land.


The same is true for us. It is not unloving or inhospitable to speak a language that others find foreign. Unbelievers are the strangers in this land according to Psalm 24:1, as “[t]he earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein.” The whole earth is God’s, and we are God’s people. Therefore, we are the rightful heirs to the fullness of the earth. We are the ones who know the language of the King. We are the ones who know what He desires, and we seek to please Him. They are the strangers.


We, too, were once strangers and did not know the language of God. Those outside of Christ are strangers in this same way—they will not understand God’s language. Yet, this does not stop God from ruling and reigning. 

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Our Foundation

built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 

 – Ephesians 2:20


Christ Jesus is our cornerstone. He is the first, the prime, the ultimate stone in the household of God. Without Him the building would not be built. He laid a perfect start so that the whole building would not crumble.


Not only this, but God ordained the preserving of the foundation of the church in the apostles and prophets. They are immovable stones that undergird the entirety of the body of Christ. They are just as instrumental as Christ in the foundation of the church—without them we could no more have the church than we could have one without Jesus Himself.


Jesus revealed this truth many times. One of the most clear is recorded in Luke 24:45-47, “Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”


Jesus rightly says that the whole of the Gospel was found in the Old Testament and that it was recorded so that it might be proclaimed. We cannot have a church without being attached to Scripture.


The authority and direction of the Scriptures are as necessary to the proclamation of the Gospel as the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.

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Peace for those who are near

And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 

– Ephesians 2:17


As Paul records for us, Jesus preached peace to those who were near, the Jews, and to those who were far off, the Gentiles. Today, Christ continues to preach to those who are near, the Church, and to those who are outside, unbelievers.


There are vast differences between these groups, and sometimes it comes out in ugly ways. But Christ abolished those differences on the Cross by His blood. He made an impossible task—reconciliation to God and each other—possible for both. So, His Spirit preaches the same message to those who are near and far: be made righteous in Christ and then live like a Christian.


This is how we are able to overcome our old natural, judgmental self: we know that it is the same Gospel that saves us now as saved us when we were far off. It is the same Gospel that unites those outside to the body of Christ.


We need the help of the Holy Spirit to be transformed into peaceful people. If we’re being honest, pride and hostility are often “easier” ways to relate to unbelievers. But with the Holy Spirit’s help, we will be made—sometimes quickly and sometimes slowly—into  peacemakers with those who are far off. With the Holy Spirit’s help, we can work to win outsiders to the inward truth of the Gospel. And, once they know the peace they have with God through Jesus, we can bring them into the fullness of the body of Christ and his ordinances: preaching, prayer, giving, reading Scripture, and the Sacraments.

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The Ordinances of the Law

by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 

   – Ephesians 2:15


What exactly did Christ abolish? The law of God? Absolutely not! Jesus says, “I did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it.” (Matthew 5:17)


What was abolished, then? The law as expressed in ordinances.


What does that mean? The priesthood and its ceremonies are done away with in Christ. He is the final priest. He is the ultimate sacrifice. He has made the unclean clean. He abolished the whole work of the priesthood, as well as the outward ordinances that differentiated the clean Jews from the unclean Gentiles.


The ordinances were given to Israel as a shadow of the One to come. They were meant to show the Israelites how impossible it is to make oneself righteous in the eyes of God. Christ abolished these things from the Old Testament to show the completeness of himself before God.


We, the New Testament church, have been given ordinances also: preaching, prayer, giving, reading Scripture, and the Sacraments (Acts 2:42-46). But we fall for a similar error as the Israelites if we believe that by doing these things we are made righteous before God. It is neither the ordinances of the church nor the ordinances of Moses that unite us to Christ and each other: it is only Christ and his work.

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Peace by Breaking

For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility

– Ephesians 2:14


Do you think of Christ as a peacemaker between enemies? Can you imagine what it usually takes to make peace between enemies? It is not a peaceful process, though it ends in peace.


Peacemaking is not a gentle thing. It takes work. It takes sweat. It takes blood. And Christ did it all for the sake of the peace of His people.


Think of all the ways you know that peace has been formed. I don’t mean in the breaking up of a spat between two 5-year-olds. I mean real deep differences, formed out of different worldviews that resulted in real physical harm against one another. How was that peace won?


We know the answer: war. War is waged until the victor triumphs. There is a war that must be waged to end the conflict that exists between people. The Good News is that the war was ended by the Lord of Glory. We are not the ones responsible for fighting for the victory; instead, we must figure out how to live in post-war reconciliation times.


We do not fight the battle that Jesus won for us on the cross by way of his flesh. Instead, we know that peace has been won. It is our Christian duty and joy to walk in a way that makes that peace a reality for those who don’t yet know that the war has ended.

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Alienated and Separated

remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.  

 – Ephesians 2:12


The Gentiles had had no hope. They had weak and petty gods and were deeply religious. We see this in the account of the riot in Ephesus where the loss of religious fervor for Artemis resulted in a city-wide riot (Acts 19:21-41). If Artemis were really powerful, then she would not need the rioting civilians to help her. The Ephesians knew they had an impotent god and became unhinged when she was revealed as such. And so, the promises of God were strange to them. They were of a different language: the Gentile Ephesians could not understand what it meant to be loved by a god.


Does this sound familiar to you? This is the non-Christian populous of the US. They riot. They are unhinged. They are without hope. They do not understand the love of God in the Gospel.


It is very easy to let a hostile wall grow between the church and the world. It is easy to think that the people of the world are so very different, because they are different from those in the church. It is very easy to deny them the knowledge of the hope of the Gospel.


But we cannot give in to these divisions. Christ can unite even the most disparate of peoples. He can join together those who were once far off and bring them together into One Head, Jesus Christ. He will tear down the wall of hostility.

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Divided over deep differences

Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands

– Ephesians 2:11


The Jews and Gentiles were divided over very real things. The outward obedience to the covenant sign of circumcision was simply an indication of vast differences between them. Differences in food, differences in ethics, differences in religion, differences in politics.


These differences had grown for generations and generations. What began as a curse on Canaan by Noah continued down through the millennia to affect present day realities. The people of Israel despised the Gentiles. They had opposed their way of life since the beginning.


And now, Christ had come to make two peoples into one. He came to make the people of God, outwardly circumcised, and the people of the world, outwardly uncircumcised, into one heart-circumcised group.


The power of Christ to save sinners is not limited to justification before the throne of God. The Gospel of Jesus is not simply “your sins are forgiven.” The Good News is a call to newness of life that results in the overturning of thousands of years of differences.


How could this simple news, that we might be reconciled to God, be such a powerful weapon against the hatred of man? 

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