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Sunday, May 19, 2019
I Kings 14-18
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are also faithful in Christ Jesus:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,
even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.
He destined us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,
to the praise of his glorious grace which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace
which he lavished upon us.
For he has made known to us in all wisdom and insight the mystery of his will, according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ
as a plan for the fulness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
In him, according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to the counsel of his will,
we who first hoped in Christ have been destined and appointed to live for the praise of his glory.
In him you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,
which is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints,
I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers,
that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him,
having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,
and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power in us who believe, according to the working of his great might
which he accomplished in Christ when he raised him from the dead and made him sit at his right hand in the heavenly places,
far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come;
and he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church,
which is his body, the fulness of him who fills all in all.
And you he made alive, when you were dead through the trespasses and sins
in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience.
Among these we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, following the desires of body and mind, and so we were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us,
even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
and raised us up with him, and made us sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God--
not because of works, lest any man should boast.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called the uncircumcision by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands--
remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near in the blood of Christ.
For he is our peace, who has made us both one, and has broken down the dividing wall of hostility,
by abolishing in his flesh the law of commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace,
and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby bringing the hostility to an end.
And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near;
for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.
So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,
built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone,
in whom the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord;
in whom you also are built into it for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles--
assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God's grace that was given to me for you,
how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly.
When you read this you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ,
which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;
that is, how the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God's grace which was given me by the working of his power.
To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ,
and to make all men see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things;
that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places.
This was according to the eternal purpose which he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord,
in whom we have boldness and confidence of access through our faith in him.
So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory.
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,
from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named,
that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with might through his Spirit in the inner man,
and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
may have power to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fulness of God.
Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think,
to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.
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