Summary: We need to identify who we are in Christ and what that means in our lives today.
August 31, 2014
Text: Ephesians 1:1-3
Subject: Ephesians Series Part 1
Title: Appointed In Christ
Have you ever been involved with an organization or group where people want you to take a leadership role even though you may have never thought of yourself as a leader? That has happened to me on numerous occasions. Back in the early 70’s I was working in a factory as a lead-man over a production line. There were 8 production lines and 95% of the people on the lines were women. Now bear with me… we all know that there are certain times when women can become … how do I want to say it… well, they just get emotional. And as a lead-man I had to deal with 10-12 women every day I worked. Now I’m not complaining about that. That was part of the job description when I accepted the promotion. It was eye opening to me. I was 21 years old. We had been married about 2 years. I was still learning how to adapt to one woman much less deal with all these others at work. It was about this time that Charlotte began playing fast pitch softball. A good friend of mine was the manager and I agreed to help coach. The key word here is help. I never saw myself as one who could be in charge of a team. And things looked like they were going to go well until right before the first game my friend came to me and told me that he had been transferred to the night shift and that I would have to take over as manager. Now here was my dilemma. I worked with women every day and listened to nagging and complaining and pettiness every day for 8 hours – Why in the world would I place myself in the same position away from the job?
But you know what? I agreed to it. And I survived it though there were times when I wondered if I would. Even though this was not a place I felt comfortable in or even felt called or qualified to do, I agreed and I did make it through. I think we even managed to win a few games that summer.
Now, fast forward from that time about 25 years. I had been miraculously saved by the grace of God for about 8 years and it was about this time that I began to sense to call of God on my life for ministry. I thought managing a women’s softball team was out of my range of ability – this was really stretching it. At least with softball I knew the game and knew the rules and was pretty good at teaching the ups and downs of hitting and fielding. But ministry? I’m talking about a guy who stood in front of his junior English class to give an oral book report and shook so hard that I could hardly keep my glasses on. Who couldn’t catch my breath because I was so afraid of speaking in front of a crowd. I’m talking about someone who did OK in school but not because of my study habits – I just had a pretty good memory. How in the world would I be able to study for ministry? But you know, there was one big difference. This was not a position that a friend had dumped on me. This was the call of God to do work that He would later appoint for me. So I began to study and prepare for that call. And now, here I am.
1Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
To the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus:
2Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I believe this is God’s word…
I believe it is for me…
I accept it as mine…
I appropriate it to my life today…
Today we begin a series of sermons through the book of Ephesians. I want to encourage you on this Labor Day weekend that there is a place of work and ministry for each of you in the church of Jesus Christ.
I. Identify Yourself… Paul begins this letter to the church in Ephesus with a standard greeting – much the same way that he and anyone of that time would begin a letter … “Paul”… When you get a letter in the mail what is the first thing you do? You look at the return address to see who it is from. You may be a lot quicker to open a letter from Aunt Ruth than you would a bill from your insurance company. So when Paul sends his letters he wants everyone to know who it is from. It’s me! Paul – the one who spent 27 months teaching and preaching about the grace of God. Do you think that the church would be glad to hear from their old friend and spiritual father? But Paul doesn’t stop there. 1Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus… Gr. apostolos (ap-os'-tol-os) n.