Take a moment and read Ephesians 1:3-13. This (in the original language) is the longest sentence in the Bible. Yes, it really is just one sentence. In this incredible pericope, the Apostle Paul pours out his heart to God with gratitude for what God has done for him. What is unique here is that he thanks God the Father for His blessings, God the Son for His blessings towards Paul and finally God the Holy Spirit for the unique blessings that the Spirit has brought to Paul’s life. Again, you must read the eleven verses referenced, then read the following carefully….
Monday…Remember that Paul spend around three years in the city of Ephesus establishing a powerful church in this capital city (capital of Asia Minor…modern day Turkey). This ministry was not without struggles, hardships and opposition. The Temple of Artemis (Diana) was located in this city. Do yourself a favor and Google this and see the magnificent Temple for yourself…one of the seven wonders of the ancient world…and then realize that this city was given over to idolatry and cynicism as many no longer believed in Graeco/Roman mythology. As Paul writes this cyclical letter which was meant to be passed around to the churches, he starts with a thanksgiving speech/sermon.
Tuesday…Thanks to God the Father: In verses 3-6, Paul thanks God the Father for choosing him, for adopting him, for predestining him to the Christian life and for giving his grace to Paul who called himself, “the chief of sinners.” Folks, has it been awhile since you have thanked God, your Heavenly Father, for the blessings He has given you? At this Thanksgiving season when we are grateful for the temporal things (food, shelter, clothes, etc.), let’s also give thanks to God for what He has done for us. Notice: you are adopted, you are a recipient of forgiveness and grace and God has chosen YOU!
Wednesday…Thanks to God the Son: In verses 7-12, Paul thanks God the Son for redemption, for providing forgiveness through His shed blood, for wisdom and understanding, for making known to us the mystery of His will and also for His choosing us and predestining us to salvation. I will never be able to fully grasp what Christ did for me and for you on the cross, but I at least understand it partially. I understand that I could not pay for my sins so Jesus told me that He would pay for them in return for my allegiance. Best deal I ever made: trading my sins for the righteousness of Christ!
Thursday…Thanks to God the Holy Spirit: In verses 13,14, Paul thanks God the Holy Spirit for two things: for “sealing” us (marking us) and for the fact that the Holy Spirit is a sort of “deposit” guaranteeing what is to come. People get all excited about the “mark of the beast”…let’s get excited about this: the Holy Spirit has marked us and that mark has sealed us for the day of wrath which is coming and/or for our death, whichever comes first. In other words, God will know who is His by the “mark” of the Holy Spirit which you received when you were baptized…see Acts 2:38. Also, the Spirit given to us at our salvation is a “deposit” guaranteeing full payment at some future date. When you bought your house, you were asked to put down deposit money. That guaranteed that 1) you were serious about buying the house and 2) more would follow. God gives the believer His Holy Spirit to guarantee that more will follow. More indeed!
Friday…With all of the hoopla around Thanksgiving and Christmas…most of which obscures anything and everything really important…remember this: we Christians have a lot to be thankful for. Tell your Heavenly Father so. Why not run through a laundry list of what you are grateful for with Him right now?
By Dale Holzbauer