Opening Scripture: Read Ephesians 3:1-13
v. 1-7: Essentially He was sent to help break down the barrier between Jews and Gentiles.
v. 8: The difference between you and Paul is that he wasn’t bragging. Paul never got over the fact that Jesus chose him. He was literally blown away by the vastness of Christ’s love for him.
v. 9-13: “I ask you that you not lose heart at my tribulations for you, for they are your glory.”
Paul is sitting in prison, chained to a Roman guard, giving a pep talk to the church in Ephesus about not losing heart.
Paul has either completely lost his mind or he knows something, believes something, lives something that nobody else does.
You don’t live the life Paul lived without waking up once a week asking yourself “Am I crazy?”. He had been shipwrecked three times, beaten within an inch of his life eight times, snake bit, abandoned, rejected, thrown in prison and finally killed for his faith. And yet, some of his final words again declare the victory
Discussion: So, why is it that there are so manny believers today who seem to be losing the faith, losing heart in their circumstances?
2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith;
Let’s consider the church in Ephesus for a moment:
– It was only a few years previous to this letter that Paul had been with them and now Paul, the Father of their faith, was sitting in prison chained to a guard. From Paul’s perspective, they would see his circumstances and lose heart.
– Do you see that they were losing heart over his circumstances, not over their own?
– It seems you can’t go anywhere these days without hearing people worry about what’s going on in the world. The worry, the concern, our seeing only what we an see with physical eyes is stealing the heart of the church.
Understand, for Paul, it didn’t matter where He was, what the circumstances were, He trusted God to be there to keep His promises, in all seasons, in all places, at all times.
It was during this imprisonment that the Prison Epistles were written. History tells us that they had to regularly change the guards chained to him because he kept converting them to Christ.
Paul saw every experience as an opportunity that God had given him.
Please don’t misunderstand. I’m not saying life isn’t at times a challenge or that circumstances aren’t difficult, but maybe we are asking the wrong questions.
Maybe we are asking to get out of all of the situations he is trying to use. Maybe we should be asking “God, what do you want me to get out of this?”
Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
Don’t lose heart! Don’t give up! God is preparing you for His kingdom and just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean He isn’t there.
2 Kings 6:16-17 So he answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 17 Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” And the Lord opened the servant’s eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
Those who are for us are more than those who are against us!
Are you watching the world? is your world falling apart? Are you losing heart?
Discussion: What situations are you going through right now that you find yourself quick to ask God to get you out of and slow to ask what He wants me to get out of it?
Your Father in heaven wants you to know He hasn’t forgotten you.
– Has the business God told you to start been difficult and you
are not sure it’s going to make it?
– Have you had some hurdles in your marriage and you’ve
stalled, and you are not sure you have the strength to keep
– Do you have a wayward child who seems their life is only
Don’t lose heart!
Read Ephesians 3:14-19 “…strength with might through His Spirit”