Summary: Our joy in God’s grace and peace must translate into real life, a life worthy of the calling which we have received.
How Church is Done 3:
Growth via Small Groups
Let me give a quick overview so far in our message series on Ephesians. Eph 1-3 paints a picture of how God is running the show with all his love. The universe has meaning and purpose and God is in the middle of it. Yes the world we live in is dark but it is going through a whole renewal process and it all begins with two words:
1. GRACE and PEACE: this came thru revelation of Christ. God wants us to receive this!
2. JOY of God: Paul gives a picture of God the Father who is in His total joy has determined in his heart to bless the world. Eph.1 captures the pure pleasure of God. He enjoys doing this new thing in Christ. Invite upstairs for more.
3. Destined for Greatness: the church’s destination is greatness in the love of God: He chose us before the world was made.
4. Centre of all things in heaven and earth: Jesus who lived and died and resurrected. This same Jesus brought us forgiveness of sins by His blood, reconciling all things in heaven and earth.
5. Signed, Sealed and delivered: All believers are guaranteed God’s riches tru faith inscribed by the Spirit. Now we have a glorious inheritance.
6. Life change resulted: all barriers knocked down, sin, racial and cultural walls long erected smashed – the church is one, there is incomparable power for all who believe, the Spirit now dwells in the believer enabling, the church now is God’s pride and joy, revealing His masterful wisdom in getting us to be in the Kingdom of God.
7. New family: Paul prayer is that we get this vision of a new family in Christ together, rooted and established in love, be strong together, be alive together, under the reign and rule of God who blesses us with every spiritual blessing in Christ. Take pride in this family as God is taking pride in his church, his masterpiece, His creation His family.
8. Faith: All this can be had simply by faith, it is not by merit, by grace thru faith, not our works.
What a picture of new order of peace and grace. Contrast it to what we have now in our world, everytime you travel by air reminded it is not a safe world. A world that is teetering on the edge of insanity where even a bottle of water can be suspected as a weapon of mass destruction. Tensions with N Korea, our soldiers dying in Afghan, school shootings. Graceless world, a world with no peace, no guarantees that u can be safe, who knows what can happen next, an airplane could just smash into where you live just like the way a NY Yankees pitcher died recently. Thanks be to God, that God has revealed to us a world that is much better, where grace and peace exists, where safety is guaranteed, where no one is left to struggle alone, loved forever.
So what God revealed is all wonderful, but what does God expect of us now. Certainly the people of God cannot go back to sinful patterns of behavior they used to love in. How do will Christians live in the now.
1. GOD WANTS US TO GROW AND BE LIKE HIM NOW.
Expectation of scripture is that eternal life begins now, and new set of behavior is to be set in place in place of the rotten stuff the world churns out. Christians have a job to reflect the grace and peace of God in world dying for something pure and good. Our job is to translate this grace and peace of God to real life. Eternal life does not begin when you die, it starts now with new ways of relating to one another with Christ at the centre with a view of how great the family of God is, due to the greatness of love shown us in the first place thru’ the redemptive theology, Paul outlined in Eph.1-3. Paul writes now to us, with a view that heaven cannot wait. Heaven can be had now, though not in all its fullness and glory, but we can get a head start if we would live what Paul calls “a life worthy of the calling.” So Paul writes,
1As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.