Summary: God’s goodwill to us is not because of our worthiness or beauty, but because we belong to Jesus Christ. Stay close to Jesus & you will know the constant goodwill of God: the grace & peace from God the Father & the Lord Jesus Christ.
Q. Are you familiar with the word “capricious”
- The Greek gods in the days of the Ephesian Church were known to be capricious
- Dictionary definition = “subject to sudden changes in behaviour, mood or opinion, often for no good reason”.
- You never knew where you stood
- In a Greek legend, Mudusa was one of the 3 Gorgons (which is a terrifying feminine monster). The 3 Gorgons were all sisters and all 3 had a very dangerous power - their gaze turned men to stone
- One version of the story says that Medusa was beautiful at first, with long flowing hair, but she angered Athena the goddess of wisdom & war by violating her temple.
- So true to the capricious nature of the gods, the jealous and angry Athena turned Medusa into a snaky-haired killer with menacing teeth and brass claws.
- The gods of the ancient world were not only capricious but wilful & needed their egos to be constantly appeased
- They were prone to assuming human form in order to "play" with their human subjects
Q. Is this the picture we get of the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ?
- The title of the sermon is “God’s goodwill toward us”
- Goodwill means an attitude of kindness, friendliness and benevolence
- It means that God desires a healthy & beneficial relationship with us
- That toward His people flows a river of constant goodwill from God
Q. How do we know that God has constant goodwill toward us?
- We know it by His actions – they speak louder than words
- In this letter to the Ephesian Church, the apostle Paul not only tells us of what Jesus has done for us, but the benefits that flow from what He has done
Q. Can we believe that this letter is true to the thoughts & actions of God? I say, absolutely!
- The first thing we need to do, however, is accept the apostles’ authority
- If we don’t accept that the apostle Paul’s words are a true reflection of God’s love towards us, then these words will not have much meaning
1. Paul’s Authority as an Apostle
- Here he not only claims that he is a messenger of Jesus Christ, which is what an apostle is, but that God willed it
- So he is not wanting to give you his opinion on the matter, but God’s
- He hasn’t set himself up as a guru & self-proclaimed expert, but one who is under the authority of Jesus Christ
- This same man was a persecutor of Christians
- He is responsible for the first brutal death of a Christian
- Steven was one of the leaders in the church at Jerusalem
- He was brought before the supreme court of Israel called the Sanhedrin & there spoke out against their refusal to obey God & accept Jesus as the Messiah
- They became so enraged at him that they immediately ordered his execution
- It was Paul who was the then called Saul who was in charge of his execution
- Once that was completed, Saul made it his ambition to force the church out of existence
- He went on a persecution spree – it became his full-time job to seek out & bring Christians to trial
- But Jesus had other plans for Saul
- And on the road to Damascus, Saul’s mission of persecution came to an abrupt halt
- It was on this road that Saul, who became Paul, had a personal encounter with Jesus Christ
a. Paul’s personal encounter with Jesus Christ
Ac 9:3-6 ..... 3 As he was traveling, it happened that he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him; 4 and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” 5 And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” And He said, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting, 6 but get up and enter the city, and it will be told you what you must do.”
- Not only did Jesus save Paul from his sins by granting him forgiveness even for his persecution against His Church, but He assigned him a mission – a task that he was to find out about when he reached Damascus
Ac 22:12-16 ..... 12 “A certain Ananias, a man who was devout by the standard of the Law, and well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there (in Damscus), 13 came to me, and standing near said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight!’ And at that very time I looked up at him. 14 “And he said, ‘The God of our fathers has appointed you to know His will and to see the Righteous One and to hear an utterance from His mouth. 15 ‘For you will be a witness for Him to all men of what you have seen and heard. 16 ‘Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.’