Summary: Remembering and reflecting on what God has done for us in Christ leads to rejoicing for those who now belong to Christ.
THE BLESSING THAT COMES FROM BELONGING TO CHRIST
Lord we are assembled here as your holy temple, the family of God, a gathered congregation as an army of the Lord --
And as soldiers of Christ we want to be equipped by you today to win victories in battle for your glory and take ground for your kingdom
As the body of Christ we want to excel in the harmony of unity in diversity -- ministering powerfully in the gifts of the Spirit and serving with you as we build one another up with encouragement and faith.
Lord -- come to your temple today, and let your shekinah glory fall -- Dwell amongst us in grace and power and be glorified in the worship we offer you today.
Our prayer is for the hearing ear. Lord, we remember your challenging word, 'he who has ears to hear, let him hear' And Lord we long to hear from you today and in the coming week.
Break down every barrier that stands defiantly before us seeking to hold us back from spiritual breakthrough as a church or in our personal lives.
In faith today we defy in Jesus name and We demolish every argument and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. Lord Revive us
I wonder what it was like for the early church believers in Ephesus when they met together. Were they very different from us?
Can you imagine the folks getting together and one of the Elders saying to them -- 'Hey, another letter from Paul has arrived -- and I'm going to read it to you this morning'
What would have been their response?
Enthusiasm? Apprehension? Indifference? Concern in case they couldn't understand it? Fear that they might be challenged by it? Or eagerness because here was another opportunity to hear a message from God?
No doubt they were just like us in many ways. Some would have come to the assembly worrying about their health or that of their loved ones. Others would feel the burdens we all feel concerning the pain and struggles of those we love -- in particular those of family members.
But what we would have in common with them would be that they wanted more than anything else to hear from God.
Have you ever read somebody else's mail? Come on, admit it. Surely there was a time you can remember when you saw an opened letter somewhere and you invented some reason why it would be the responsible thing to do to read it! Or perhaps I'm preaching to a congregation of truly wonderful saints this morning who would never have dreamed of reading someone else's mail.
And yet when it comes to reading the New Testament letters the strange thing is that, though it is very apparent that this is someone else's mail, the true Author the letter(God the Holy Spirit) knew full well that others would be reading it also, and so he was inspired to write it in such a way as to make it relevant for us also.
What might God be saying to you and I today?
READING Ephesians 2:11-22
What single words describe what this is all about? We could summarize the message with the word: UNITY or BELONGING or THANKSGIVING because here is a call to remember with praise and thanksgiving what God has done for us in uniting all believers together in Christ, causing each one of us to belong to God. But the word I would choose from all of these is the word BELONGING.
I went to a local garage in order to take my car in for some essential work this week and I was speaking to the garage owner who I've known for a few years now. We exchanged greetings and he asked me how things were going. As I was sharing with him how well things are going spiritually at present it struck me just how much this guy was missing out, not having discovered Jesus and what it means to be saved and be at the centre of what God is doing today and what really matters -- so I told him! I told him just how much he was missing out, and that he really should get himself down to our local Church and begin to enjoy what life is really about. And in addition to this make sure he's right with God for eternity.
He responded with good humor and said something about going to church as keeping your foot in the door just in case. But he knew that I was, as they say in the West of Scotland, 'Half joking, whole earnest' in what I had to say, and I wonder what it would take for him to respond.