Isaiah 41:17-43:13, Ephesians 2:1-22, Psalms 67:1-7, Proverbs 23:29-35
Today is the 23rd day of September. Welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I’m Brian. It is a joy and an honor to be here with you today as we take the next step forward in our or on our adventure this year through the Scriptures. So, we’ve been working our way through the book of Isaiah and we are definitely in the back half of that book. And we are in the New Testament reading through the letter to the Ephesians, which contains some pretty earthmoving things, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We’re reading from the Voice Translation this week. Isaiah chapter 41 verse 17 through 43 verse 13 today.
Okay. So, I have traveled a lot in my lifetime. I’ve been lots of places all around the world and I’ve been some places in the world that are…that are so spectacular it’s hard to believe like…like the Isle of Skye in Scotland or Rocky Mountain National Park here in the United States, places that you can…like you’re driving and or your hiking but like around every corner is something even better than before…like it just keeps revealing itself to the point that you’re in such beauty that you’re…you’re like…you’re like in a postcard, right? You’re like in the painting. It’s so magnificent that you almost just can’t take it all in. And this is what the letter to the Ephesians will read like if we’ll let it because it’s gonna let us see why the gospel actually is such good news. Like, we call it that all the time, it’s just part of our subcultures. It’s the good news about Jesus, it’s the good news, it’s the story that God came to rescue mankind through Jesus, but the implications of what that means. Like…like we have that down but what does that mean? What does that do? What changes? Ephesians is one of these stops along the way as we take this travel through the Bible this year that lays that out in such a way that you’re looking at it and it’s like, “this is…this is more than good news…this is like too good.” Like, if this is all true, then this changes everything. So, Ephesians just lets us climb and we get these vistas and we’re in one of those beautiful places on earth that we’re looking at it and it’s like, “the color of that water can’t be real. The height of that peak…like how is this?” And you’re struck dumb basically because what are you gonna say? “That’s beautiful.” Like it’s more than beautiful. It’s like your heart cries out in worship at the glory of what God has created and we came to one of those kind of vistas in our faith today. So, Paul says, “it’s by God’s grace that you have been saved. You received it through faith. It was not our plan or effort. It is God’s gift, pure and simple. You didn’t earn it. Not one of us did. So, don’t go around bragging that you must’ve done something amazing for we are the product of His hand, heavens poetry etched on lives created in the Anointed, Jesus, to accomplish the good works God arranged long ago.” So, I read that. It’s a pretty common…pretty…it’s Ephesians 2:8-10. It’s…like many people have it memorized…like its famous. So, it’s foundational and we can just move right on by. But have you ever actually stopped, like not driving around that been but actually pulled over to look out across the valley. Have you ever contemplated the vastness of what Paul is saying here? This is way, way, way more than distilling this down into a theological concept. If this is true, then our salvation is not something that has anything to do with our good behavior and there is no way we could earn it with our good behavior anyway. It’s a gift. It can only be received, and it can only be received faith, which means actually like really deeply authentically believing that it is true. And it is…it’s a paradigm shifter. We didn’t choose God. God came for us personally. He drew near and when he did, we sensed it, that one moment, that one moment it all came clear. Like we were just looking out over this vastness, this beauty, and we saw it and it was too good to be true and we reached out and when God reached back it was with a gift, a gift of salvation that cannot be taken. Like, we can…we can reject it. We can throw it away, but it can’t be stolen from us. And since it’s not something that can be earned then we have nothing to brag about. Like, we didn’t earn it. Nobody can brag about it. It’s a humbling gift. We’re lucky to be here. And, so, becoming aware of that should just…it should change things. We should be in awe. We do not deserve, we have not earned, and we cannot earn this kind of kindness. And what kind of kindness are we even talking about, that God knows who you are, and He came for you. Like, that…that’s almost too good to be true, the Creator of all things seen and unseen, known and unknown knows you because you are a creation and He came for you. It’s like one of those vistas where, the more you look, the more you’re like, “this is surreal. This is unbelievable. I don’t every wanna leave this place. It’s too perfect. Like this is how it’s supposed to be.” But the more that we drink in, like when we sit in those beautiful places, the more that we do sit there, the more it reveals itself, the more we see. And in terms of what Paul is showing us spiritually, the more that we see the more that our lives are given context. And, so, from here we can see that our lives are supposed to be much more than we’re usually filling them with. Like, we’re made as masterpieces of God. Like let that just sink in. You feel like a masterpiece? Right? Like, do you feel like God’s masterpiece or do you feel like you’re anything but God’s masterpiece? Because it doesn’t matter how you feel. The reality is the reality. So, if it feels too good to be true and if it feels like it couldn’t be speaking of you, then you just need to keep lookin’ here. You need to think again because Paul said we were created anew, which means that God made us new again or that God renewed us and He did this so that we could accomplish the good things He planned long ago for us so. So, we can either read stuff like that go, “okay, here's…here’s my invitation to get work. I gotta be good.” That’s not the whole story. Our good behavior does not earn the gift. The gift is a gift. He didn’t offer us a free gift and then force us to earn it. It’s that our good works, our good behavior, our living into a righteous life becomes an automatic overflow of being in love with Jesus because of this gift that we did not deserve and cannot earn. We won the lottery as it were, the cosmic one, eternal life. And God planned this for us long ago. So, let’s just sit here with it today. Let’s just gaze out upon the beauty of what’s being described for us spiritually. God knows who we are. We’re supposed to be here. We’re supposed to be here enjoying His presence. We’re supposed to be here inviting others to experience this free gift that changes everything. And if the gospel is true, and I believe that it is, then this is how we’re supposed to be looking at ourselves. And this is how we’re supposed to be looking at the world.
Father, we sit here with this. We know that there’s more…like…we’re on this trail through Ephesians. So, we’re climbing upward and looking out at all of these grand vistas. But as we sit here at this parking spot we want to contemplate this today. No matter what we do, we can’t earn what You are offering us, which means You loved us when we were Your enemies, You love us when we are the betrayer. Like it’s too good. Your love is so vastly beyond anything that we can…like when we try to imitate You and we think we’re doing good we haven’t even scratched the surface of the depths of Your love for us. And You have bestowed upon us. This is magnificent, that we are intentionally created as a masterpiece. This is magnificent. And, so, we see that we’re not living in the glory that You have bestowed upon us. We’re living less and we’re sitting here looking at this reveal itself when we’re saying that there is so much more. So, come Holy Spirit as we sit with this today. Plant it deep within our hearts and lives changing the way that we look at ourselves, being humbled by Your generosity, and may this change the way we that we look at our brothers and sisters of the human race, everyone that we interact with today. Come Jesus. We pray in Your mighty name. Amen.
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And that’s it for today. I’m Brian I love you and I’ll be waiting for you here tomorrow.