Summary: Praising God and praying on a regular basis are both duties and response for Christians.
We are here to worship God!
Have you ever wondered why there is a message within a Worship Service? Would you say that many in Wisconsin worship the Packers? And when Coach McCarthy speaks, many fans intently listen! Are you a fan of God?
Listening to what God has is to say is worship. So please have your Bibles ready. But we are also to worship God on a daily basis and we worship God on a daily basis by doing what He tells us. Therefore we need to take notes. So please have your bulletin and pens ready. And most importantly, have your hearts ready to hear God and remember what He has to say.
The Title of the message today is “Saints are to Praise and Pray”.
Next week we will talk about what these “saints” have from God.
Please open your Bibles to Ephesians Chapter 1. Ephesians is a letter from God to Christians through the Apostle Paul. One way to note where Ephesians is located in the Bible is to remember the 4 letters in the middle of the New Testament, beginning with G-E-P-C: Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians or Go Eat Pop Corn or Gentiles Eat Pork Chops. Did you find Ephesians yet or are you thinking about lunch?
Let us together pray our commitment to God’s Word….. Ephesians 1……
People always ask what the will of God is. All we have to do is open the Bible! Ephesians 1:1 starts with “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God”. Yes, Paul became an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God but this beginning statement indicates that what was written is the will of God to those it was written to.
The letter is directed to saints. The letter to the Ephesians is the will of God for the saints.
We should note that some earlier manuscripts of this letter did not have the word Ephesus. You see, the letter was to be passed on from one Christian church to another. The letter was addressed to anyone who is a saint. Who are the saints? Do you have to be dead to be a saint?
The letter was not addressed to dead people was it?
Verse 1 tells us that the saints are people who are alive and faithful in Christ Jesus. What does it mean to be faithful in Christ? Being faithful in Christ means to completely trust in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord of all!
Another way to answer the question “Who is a saint?” is to note who are not. Those who do not believe and completely trust that Jesus Christ is God who died for their sins are not saints. Do you completely trust Jesus Christ as your God and only Savior for your sins?
If so, then you too are defined by God as a saint and this letter is the will of God for you!
Verses 3-14 describes what saints have. We will explore these verses next week. But for today let us just focus on 2 personal questions:
1. Can God call me a saint? and,
2. If I am a saint, what is God telling me to do?
If you can not accept the truth that you are a saint, I pray that you would think about what Jesus Christ did for you.
Today is the day to completely trust in Jesus Christ and be a saint for God, for tomorrow maybe too late and you will be judged by God forever for your sins.
Let us now focus on what God is telling saints to do.
Of course we will hear more from God throughout this letter. But right here in Chapter 1, we can note 2 important things that saints are to do.
The first one saints are to do is directly stated in verse 3: “Praise” be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! What does it mean to praise God? How do we do it?
There are at least 3 things we should do whenever we have questions in Scriptures. First, is there anything in context to help us better understand? Prior to verse 3 we read the greetings from the Apostle Paul and after verse 3 we read what God has done for Believers of Christ. And so, praising God is both an instruction and a respond back to God.
Praising God is a duty but it should be in response to what God has done. When you praise God are you just doing it for the sake of praise or are you truly responding to what God has done for you? Is it possible for people to just raise their hands and say “praise the Lord, praise the Lord” and not really have a meaning? Think about that the next time you are praising Him. Give your praise to God meaning! Please take a moment to write down what God has done for you….