Live Abundantly


Day 1 - The Messenger

Day 1

The Messenger

Lift Up ...

Father, I confess that this world tugs at my heart to go in directions that are not Your will for me. Use this study to transform my mind and direct my heart to follow You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Look At ...

Meet Paul, the author of the letter to the Ephesians. Paul wrote this letter while imprisoned in Rome for preaching the gospel. Though on trial for his life, Paul was concerned with the spiritual well-being of the churches he established on his missionary journeys. It was his honor and duty to deliver the “last will and testament” of our Savior to the church in Ephesus. Let’s spend some time getting to know Paul, the messenger. As you study, ask yourself, “Am I in God’s will?”

Read Ephesians 1:1.

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God ...

Ephesians 1:1

Q1: What did Paul call himself (Eph. 1:1)? What does this title tell you about his job description?

* Apostle - In Greek, the word apostle literally means “a delegate”—one sent with a special message or commission.

Q2: How did he become an apostle of Jesus Christ? Read Acts 9:1–31 to discover how Saul the Pharisee became Paul the apostle.

Q3: According to Acts 9:1–€“2, what was Paul like before he became a Christian?

* Transformed - God took Saul, a murderous, vengeful man, and transformed him into Paul (Acts 13:9), the apostle who faithfully spread the gospel. Take comfort— God can rescue you from your “Damascus road” and transform your life for His glory.

Q4: Describe how Paul was converted to Christianity (Acts 9:3–18).

Q5: According to Acts 9:15, to whom did the Lord call Paul to go?

* Gentile - The Jews used the term Gentile to refer to all people who were not Jewish. In New Testament times this became a derogatory label filled with prejudice and disdain.

Q6: Focus on Acts 9:22-23. How did the Jews respond to Paul'€™s conversion? Why?

* Prejudice - Prejudice is blinding. The Jewish leaders could not see that Jesus was their Messiah, and they crucified Him. They refused to acknowledge Saul’s conversion and persecuted him. Don’t let discrimination blind you— you may destroy something beautiful!

Q7: According to Acts 9:26, how did the disciples respond to Paul? Why?

Live Out ...

We have seen that Paul knew God’s will and purpose for his life. Write out what these verses teach you about God’s will for your life.

Q8: 1 Thessalonians 4:3

Q9: 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Q10: 1 Peter 2:15

Q11: God'€s will includes our sanctification. Journal about some of the areas in which God has helped you separate yourself from sinful behavior.

* Sanctification - Sanctification is the process of God’s grace by which the believer is separated from sin and becomes dedicated to God’s righteousness. Accomplished by the Word of God and the Holy Spirit, sanctification results in holiness or purification from the guilt and power of sin.

Q12: It is God’s will for us to be thankful. Journal a note of thanksgiving to God.

Q13: It is God'€™s will for His followers to be doers of good deeds. Which of the good deeds below will you perform this week?

  • * Doing Good - To be a Christian is to become Christlike—to imitate our Savior. “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good” (Acts 10:38 NLT).

    .....

    Saul of Tarsus thought he was in God’s will when, in fact, he was in bondage to his strict religious observance of the law. When God interrupted his life, Paul was transported from religion to relationship. He became a new creation in Christ. Paul learned to breathe the air of freedom by living in God’s will. Jesus said, “If the Son sets you free, you are truly free” (John 8:36 NLT).

    Henrietta Mears, a beloved Bible teacher, taught the secret to true freedom. She explained, “A bird is free in the air. Place a bird in the water, and he has lost his liberty. A fish is free in the water, but leave him on the sand and he perishes. He is out of his realm. So ... the Christian is free when he does the will of God and is obedient to God’s command. This is as natural a realm for God’s child as the water is for the fish, or the air for the bird.”

    Saul of Tarsus thought he was in God'€™s will when, in fact, he was in bondage to his strict religious observance of the law. When God interrupted his life, Paul was transported from religion to relationship. He became a new creation in Christ. Paul learned to breathe the air of freedom by living in God'€™s will. Jesus said, "€œIf the Son sets you free, you are truly free"€ (John 8:36 NLT). Henrietta Mears, a beloved Bible teacher, taught the secret to true freedom. She explained, "€œA bird is free in the air. Place a bird in the water, and he has lost his liberty. A fish is free in the water, but leave him on the sand and he perishes. He is out of his realm. So ... the Christian is free when he does the will of God and is obedient to God'€™s command. This is as natural a realm for God'€™s child as the water is for the fish, or the air for the bird."€

    Listen To ...

    All heaven is waiting to help those who will discover the will of God and do it.

    —J. Robert Ashcroft

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