Summary: What is the calling of the Church, Paul says walk worthy of our calling. (Preached to a newly established Church)
The Church’s Calling:
We live at a time that the whole world is in a revolution.
The winds of change are blowing, at hurricane strength, and nobody is escaping it.
As the world has seen last year, with the WTC tragedy, the world’s economy, that seems to prosper, is actually balanced on the verge of collapse
Countries all over the world are debt-ridden.
With everyday’s headlines, with every new terrorist attack, there is more and more evidence that the world is moving from civilization into utter chaos!
Only yesterday an Italian Doctor announced the imminent birth of a “man-made” human, yes, the first cloned baby is to be born into this world.
GE is taken the world over, man tampering with nature!
Our Police is getting executed, violence is escalating!
Clearly there is OPEN REVOLT
Against all Law
Against All Authority
And ultimately against God
And what is our response as the Church?
Is there anything the Church can do in the face of such huge and almost insoluble problems.
Can the church still make any difference?
That is the core question tonight!
Or is it sadly to little to late?
B) Let’s turn to our Scripture reading tonight:
The Book of Ephesians and Chapter 4:
Background of this letter:
We see similar problems, at this time the Roman Empire was shaken by political instability, there was civil unrest, crime, and radical change was starting to happen.
Half the population of the Empire was slaves, and they got traded and sold like cattle.
Only a minority of rich aristocrats was left, the rest of the population of this once mighty empire was living on or under the poverty line.
The Moral decline of the City was well known, it was the Center of worship of the sex-goddess Diana.
The cruelty was extreme, with the Roman Legions, slaughtering any form of civil unrest of rebellion.
Nero was now the Emperor, and his life of decadence was a reflection of the downfall of the total society at the time.
Paul writes from Rome, a prisoner of Caesar, when he wrote this letter to the Ephesians, awaiting the hour that he was to appear before Nero, chained night and day to a Roman Soldier.
He knew of the moral decay, an empire crumbling, of the slave trade, so what would his advice be to the Church of the day facing these huge much similar problems, we are facing today?
Lets read together from Ephesians 4: 1-3
1 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, 2with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, 3endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
STRIKING WORDS INDEED:
Paul clearly recognizes...
1) The TRUE nature of the church
2) The function of the Church
As he says:
1) Fulfil your calling
2) Obey your orders
3) Don’t deviate form the Divine plan
4) Follow your Lord.
Clearly he says:
1) The Church is NOT a human institution.
2) It is NOT expected to devise it’s own plan, or set it’s own goals
3) It is NOT an independent organization, existing due to the strength of its numbers!
4) IT IS a BODY CALLED INTO A SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD!
5) Paul uses words, like a body Head the Lord Jesus Christ, a Temple for the exclusive habitation and use of a Person who dwells in it, and who has the sole right to do with that temple what He wills, an army Under a King, who has to obey His orders, follow its Commander, if it wants to make any impact.
C) Our reaction compared to God’s plan:
Now if we look around us and see all of the human suffering, injustice and oppression happening, when we see a world cry out in need, ugly with hate, selfishness, and speeding towards chaos We want to do something!
You say what? And we call out let’s get to work, NOW!
Just do something, any thing!
We start to plan strategies, and apply remedies, that only last for the moment, and sometimes do not even help at all, and before we know it the situation is worse, and we wonder why?
Then we are reminded of this much-needed advice:
“Walk worthy of your calling”
You see the one that called us sees life so much more clearly that we can ever do!
He has a plan that will treat the cause (the root) of the problem, and not only the symptoms, like when we tried to come up with the remedies!
D) So when the Church is faithful to its calling it becomes a healing agency in society, able to lift families, neighborhoods, cities, and even nations to the highest level of healthy wholesome living.