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Known: Unity & Love

Ephesians 4:1-16

“From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work” - Ephesians 4:16

 

Generally speaking, Paul’s letters to the early Christian churches scattered throughout the ancient world can be divided up into two parts. The first part is the teaching or proclamation of the Gospel. This is where Paul dives deep into theological truths about what Jesus has done for us through his life, death, and resurrection. In the book of Ephesians, Paul gives us some of the best expressions of this as he proclaims,

 

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast, (Eph. 2:8-9).

 

But, as is typically the case, the second part of Paul’s letters has to do with applying these theological truths to our everyday lives. Chapter 4 begins this second section. Paul begins this section with these words,

 

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received, (Eph. 4:1)

 

What calling? The calling to be a member of God’s household, one chosen before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in God’s sight. One altogether loved by God in Christ with an unfathomable, incalculable love. That calling.

 

And what does that look like?

 

Paul says that it manifests itself with how we interface with others. Humility, gentleness, patience, love, unity, peace. We were called into one body - the Body of Christ - and here we seek to live into that theological reality that we really, truly, have been made one. Granted, this is not always (or ever) easy, of course. People do things we don’t like and others have ideas we disagree with. How do we find unity even in the midst of conflict or disagreement?

 

The key, it seems, comes in what Paul says next. Though the Church is one in Christ, Jesus has also seen fit to include a little diversity in His Church. We are one body but, just as the human body is made up of many parts, so too is the church. Many different people have many different gifts. Recognition of such giftedness helps us to see others not as competition or opposition, but part of the Body that brings something different to the table. In humility, we can recognize that the rise and fall of the Church doesn’t rest on our shoulders but on Christ alone. And it is Jesus who has gifted his church with a diversity of people to do the work of ministry.

 

In Christ,

Pastor Nick

Don’t forget to join us at 8:45am for Bible this Sunday as we continue our series KNOWN. If you didn’t get the Bible reading guide on Sunday, you can download the PDF version HERE.

 

Known: Knowledge & Strength

Ephesians 3:1-21

“...that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” - Ephesians 3:19

 

Have you ever stood at the base of a redwood tree and looked up...in awe of just how big a single tree can be?

 

Have you ever looked at the rock formations in Yosemite National Park and noticed that, even from a distance, just how immense they are?

 

I never tire of standing in wonder at just how massive the works of God are. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it. I don’t think I’ll ever tire of the sense of wonder I feel.

 

In Ephesians 3:14-21 Paul’s prayer is that we would not tire of hearing of the immensity of God’s love for us and, more than that, continue to grow in our knowledge of just how great this love can possibly be. Paul wants us to continue trying to wrap our brains around the “breadth and length and height and depth” of Christ’s love for us. It’s an impossible task, to be sure, but one we should never tire of.

 

The depths of Christ’s love for us can never be plumbed. The height of Christ’s love can never be fully comprehended. Nevertheless, Paul’s prayer is that the Spirit of God would continually strengthen us for the task.

 

But how does this happen? How can we continue to learn more about that which is, essentially, unknowable? Dr. Jeff Gibbs, a professor at Concordia Seminary, in a sermon on this passage of Ephesians noted that, in order for this to happen,

 

You will need to learn more about your needs, your weakness, your limitations, and your sin so God can come in and say, “See, you knew before that I loved you in my Jesus. But you didn’t know that I would love you here. You didn’t know yet that I would love you in this situation. And now you know that I love you even here.

 

You see, it’s not just in our bright and shining moments that God loves us. It’s not just in those times when we actually get it right that Christ declares his love for us. No, it’s in our sin. It’s in our weakness. It’s in our brokenness. The depth of God’s love goes even there.

 

Don’t forget to join us at 8:45am for Bible this Sunday as we continue our series KNOWN. If you didn’t get the Bible reading guide on Sunday, you can download the PDF version HERE.

 

 

1 Gibbs, Jeffrey, "132. Ephesians 3:14-21" (2012). Chapel Sermons Academic Year 2011-2012. 132.

https://scholar.csl.edu/cs1112/132

 


 

Known: Special VBS Edition

 

Songs! Games! Crafts! Snacks! Stories! What do all of these things have in common? At Vacation Bible School they remind us of so many of God’s promises!

 

This week at Splash Canyon VBS, we’re all about exploring the promises of God. So far we’ve seen that “God is With Us! Yes He is!”, just like he was with baby Moses when Moses’ mother put him in a basket and floated him down the Nile River.

 

Then we learned that “God Gives Us Life! Yes He does!”. God promised His people, the Israelites, new life in a new land and made it happen by parting the waters of the Jordan River so Joshua could lead them into the Promised Land.

 

On Wednesday, we heard the story of Naaman. God promised to bring healing to Naaman and He delivered! “God is Faithful! Yes He is!”.

 

Thursday was another great day of Splash Canyon! We watched as a great storm came in and tossed the ship on which Paul was sailing about. But Paul was able to share his hope in God with his shipmates. “God gives hope! Yes He does!”

 

Today, we are preparing for our final day of Vacation Bible School! What a week it’s been! But today, we get to hear about God’s greatest promise fulfilled: that He sent His only son to be our Savior! “Jesus is our Savior! Yes He is!”

 

VBS is a great time to hear about God’s promises. It’s also a great time to connect with the children and families of our community, showing them that they are KNOWN to God in Christ too!

 

Don’t forget to join us at 8:45am for Bible this Sunday as we continue our series KNOWN. If you didn’t get the Bible reading guide on Sunday, you can download the PDF version HERE.



 

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