Summary: Due to His grace and peace towards us - we are positioned and destined for greatness
Purpose: Confidently connecting people to God
Mission: Grow confident passionate disciples who’ll make other disciples
Vision: A church where no one is left to struggle alone
Ephesians Series Theme: GOD’S FAMILY- DESTINED FOR GREATNESS
Text: Ephesians 1:1-14
By Pastor Andrew Chan
Topic: How God changed our destiny due to His grace and peace towards us and are now destined for greatness
Big Idea: The lavish giving of God promised us greatness
Today we will start on a new series of messages on the letter to the Ephesians. We know the author as… in.v.1 says
1Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
To the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus:
(Scholarly works on Ephesians - some debate whether it is a genuine Pauline letter. One reason is due to lack of personal references which is a characteristic of Paul’s letters. He spent 3 years there and no personal references to people he knew there? Also among the earlier Greek manuscripts the phrase “in Ephesus” was left out, leading some to believe it was not intended for Ephesus but perhaps churches around the general area, i.e. circular letter meant to be taken around the churches. However, there remains no convincing evidence to doubt this is an authentic work of Paul. )
And this is one exciting letter. One commentator, Klyne Snodgrass, says this “ ‘pound for pound’ Ephesians may well be the most influential document ever written”. He also noted how others have called it “the crown and climax of Pauline theology” and “one of the divinest compositions of man.” This message series perhaps should come with a warning, do not proceed if you are scared of changing your life. Read it worshipfully and reverently, receive its message and your life can have a whole new direction.
Personally, I have been drawn to worship as a result of this book. It is a wonderful walk with God into the beauty of His creative design in order for love and relationships to thrive. This book is about the church, about us, as a corporate body united in power and purposes of God. It also about individuals, and the choices individuals make to flow with God’s Spirit in a unified family but diverse God-inspired God initiated family. It shows how great His love is for a hopeless people, lost without God. It shows us how He is weaving out of our broken lives and history to create one people, a new people, the church of Jesus Christ!
Let’s dive into this book…
2Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Two words, “grace and peace” magnificent words, powerful words, inspired words. Come close Sept.11 anniversary, we long for a world that would believe in this two words, don’t we? Instead of grace and peace, our world is locked into revenge and war. Just look at someone the wrong way, boom, blood and guts all over the floor.
The church of Christ has got to get back to these two words. These words of greetings from Paul, I submit to you, are not a nice way to say hello in an ancient manuscript. In ancient Greek letter writing, most start with this standard greeting, “chairein” but Paul used charis “grace.” It was a clever play on words. Kinda like chinese fascination on number eight, which is not literal eight but means to prosper. These words, grace and peace, have clear and present application. This is a hello from God. For this is our God’s longing and wish, this is our God’s desire, this is our God’s words embedded into scripture from a time more than couple of thousand years before the apostle Paul was even born.
Perhaps you have heard this benediction, in churches u gone to. Know where it comes from? Look back with me into your bibles, into the time of Moses, into Numbers 6. 22 The LORD said to Moses, 23 "Tell Aaron and his sons, ’This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them:
24 " ’ "The LORD bless you
and keep you;
25 the LORD make his face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
26 the LORD turn his face toward you
and give you peace." ’
27 "So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them."
Note: This is not Aaron’s wish “I hope God will bless.” This is not Moses’ wish “if pray hard enuff, god will bless”. This is not a hallmark greeting card, hope you get better, feel better. This is what Aaron was instructed by Moses to say as the express desire of God. Make his face shine… connotes divine smile. Turn his face, connotation of relationship, looking full into a face to face relationship. Perhaps we of oriental descent, may understand it more, gain the face of God, we don’t lose face with him, approval, acceptance, warmth, intimacy. My kid sister just had a baby… her smile, even though sleepness nite, proud, eventhough, father too turn face toward that child even though threw up, messed up their lives schedules, dirty diaper… wipe with a smile, on the stinky little guy.