Summary: Focus on truths that trigger God’s working in our lives when we believe and obey them.
Focusing on Truth – a Study in Ephesians
Lesson Seven: “The Domino Effect”
Subtitle: Truths that Trigger God’s Work
Note: As I preached this message, I used dominos in the following ways:
1) I had the ushers hand one to every adult and teen in the service.
2) I illustrated what I was talking about, setting up a table that I continued building a domino chain throughout my message. It was during the invitation that I knocked the chain over. Every time you see the word “domino,” place a new domino in the chain.
3) The domino played part of the invitation.
Dominos – as a kid I loved playing with Dominos. Setting them up, snaking them throughout our linoleum kitchen, and then seeing if they would fall in the proper order. Dominos teach us science, about processes, sequences, and the way things work. Regarding sequences, we learn from dominos that:
1) You have to have a starting point and ending point.
2) You don’t start in the middle.
3) You have to make sure there is enough space between each domino to cause an effective chain reaction.
4) To pull out a few dominos is to ruin the chain.
Dominos teaches about cause and effect, about the power of orderly systems, and about the impact of a chain of events.
Ephesians 1 has been very much like a chain of dominos. (domino) We spent weeks talking about the blessings we have in Christ – what are our three blessings? Election (domino), adoption (domino), and living under the authority of Christ (domino). Last week, we learned that because of these blessings, we have the responsibility to bless others (domino) – we saw that the blessings we have allow us 1) to focus on God’s plan for our lives (domino) and His purpose, which is worship (domino); 2) rest in God’s love because of the Holy Spirit that we receive when we believe (domino); and 3) we are blessed to be instruments of blessing, not just recipients (domino).
Today, I want to carry as Ephesians continues to give us a chain of events. Quite simply, up to this point we have seen that we are blessed to bless others, but the last part of chapter 1 – vs. 15-23, shows us the process that happens in our lives when we know the truth and walk in it. As we know the truth and walk in it, we trigger a wonderful reaction in our spiritual walk that draws us closer to God and effects every single area of our lives. Today we are going look at “Truths that Trigger God’s Work.”
We’ve already read Ephesians 1:15-20. These verses make up the majority of a powerful prayer by Paul for the church – and because this book was meant to be circulatory, this would be Paul’s prayer for any church – ours included. This prayer is what Paul would pray for The Journey today if he were here. From this prayer, we are going to see several “trigger” points – dominos – in our spiritual lives that can trigger a greater work of God in our lives. These truths, when embraced, will unlock doors in your spiritual life that would never have been opened to begin with. For our time today, let’s call each point a “truth that triggers” – these truths trigger the greater work of God in our lives.
The first truth that triggers is:
1) My obedience to God is the beginning of my spiritual growth. (domino)
After all the talk of blessing in the first 14 verses, Paul in verse 15 gives the church a compliment that launches him into a fantastic prayer. Read vs. 15 – “I heard of your strong faith and love for Christians everywhere.” It would be really easy to just skip by this compliment/commendation by Paul to the prayer that follows. But this compliment lays the groundwork for the prayer that follows in verses 16-20. In other words, if the Ephesian church and the Christians in it were not living in faith and love, I don’t believe that Paul would have or even could have prayed for them like he did in verses 16-20 if they hadn’t been demonstrating faith and love as seen in verse 15.
Their faith in God and love for others meant that they were living in obedience to God. Faith and love are the ingredients for obedience (domino). If you and I desire to live obediently to God, faith in God and love toward others are the starting points. Let’s define faith and love.
Some people think faith is simply trust. But faith goes well beyond trust, or beyond believing something is true, beyond reason, beyond the mind. Not that faith is adverse to these things, but faith rises above simple belief and reason. Faith is responsive – not just declarative. This is my calculator. I have every faith in my calculator’s ability to solve any math problem. However, no matter how strong my faith is, I will never get the answer until I put my faith into action and press the buttons on the calculator.