2013 Sermon Series
- March 10, 2013
Theme: Investigating our Eternal Foundation, part 1
Why is the church glorious? Because she has a glorious head, foundation, and shepherd – Jesus Christ. When the church is promoted as a marketing tool of social good and philanthropy, she is robbed of the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ and His power to save. God’s grace is what makes the church glorious.
Three Glorious Components of the Church:
Godly Leadership (verse 1a)
Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul is allowed to write his name first in the letter. This isn’t merely epistolary convention; there is a purpose and a lesson for us to learn. As an apostle of the early church, Paul demonstrates characteristics necessary in any church leader.
Separation – Church leaders (those given the pastor-teacher gift) are to be separated unto God in conversion, in character, in mission and purpose, and in education. Pastors must first of all be saved and transformed by God’s grace. They must have a passion for the mission to which God has called them. And they need an education that enables them to effectively carry out that mission with integrity.
Preparation – Paul doesn’t cite his education, nomination by others, or his own ambition to be an apostle. His authority came from the will of God. Just as salvation is accomplished not by our own will but by God’s drawing us to Himself, so are spiritual gifts given by the Holy Spirit at the same moment. This is not only true for leaders – we are all ministers by the will of God! There are no superstars in the church.
Holy People (verse 1b)
Consecration – Paul wrote “to the saints in Ephesus.” In the New Testament, saints are simply those who believe in Christ; and if you believe, you are a saint! God’s grace changes everything about you from the moment of salvation. You will not act perfectly immediately, but positionally, God sees you as holy through His Son. We now live out the consecration He granted. As we do so in our social, academic, political, and former religious relationships at a specific location, the Gospel can’t help but change the culture.
Unification – “In Christ Jesus,” the most important phrase in Paul’s writings, is repeated 23 times in the 6 chapters of Ephesians. All believer-saints are placed in union with Christ at the moment of salvation. As the hymn says, “In a love which cannot cease, I am His, and He is mine.” We are forever perfect in the eyes of God in Christ. When this doctrine is not taught, salvation is cheapened and growth is a struggle.
Divine Resources (verse 2)
Grace and Peace – These are ours at conversion and have their source in God. As He is eternal, an endless supply of these blessings will always influence our lives. There is no spiritual or practical circumstance we face that is insurmountable, because our resources are from God Himself.
All 3 members of the Trinity are involved in giving us grace and peace. The peace Jesus promised in John 14 is the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 1:2 names “God the Father” to evoke the stable and restful environment a good father provides for his family. Paul also mentions all 3 names of “the Lord Jesus Christ,” the mediator of our peace with God.
We must learn doctrine in order to live properly. How can you apply what we learned today in your daily life?
- Are you a saint? that is, have you believed in Christ? How are you living this out in the culture? What is your spiritual gift? How are you using it to edify the body of Christ at your local church?
- Read through the book of Ephesians and pay attention to uses of the phrase “in Christ” or its equivalent. What can you learn about our union with Christ? Especially if you struggle with getting back up after failure, find encouragement in your forever-favored status with God through Christ.
- If grace and peace have already been given to us through salvation, we really don’t need to pray for more! Try changing your prayers to ask, “Lord, give me a better understanding of how capable your once-for-all-given grace is.” A little change in wording can have a huge impact on your spiritual growth and peace, as you remind yourself of the resources already available to you!
Cross References to Explore:
- Colossians 1:18, 1 Peter 2:25, 5:4 – Christ is the head and foundation of the church.
- Acts 9 and 13 – Paul’s separation and preparation.
- Ephesians 4:7-13, 1 Corinthians 12-14, Romans 12:3-8, 1 Peter 4:10-11 – passages on spiritual gifts.
- 1 John 2:15-17, 1 Peter 1:16-17 – the Gospel changes a culture.
- 1 Corinthians 12:13 – We are spiritually baptized into the body of Christ when we are saved.
- John 13:1 – God’s grace is forever capable to nurture our soul.
- Philippians 4:7, John 14:16-27 – God’s peace and the Holy Spirit.
- 1 Timothy 2:5, Titus 2:11-14, Hebrews 7:25 – Jesus Christ the mediator.
A Hymn to Encourage: “Arise, My Soul, Arise
Arise, my soul, arise!
Shake off thy guilty fears;
The bleeding Sacrifice
In my behalf appears.
Before the throne my Surety stands;
My name is written on His hands.
He ever lives above
For me to intercede,
His all-redeeming love,
His precious blood to plead.
His blood was shed for all our race,
And sprinkles now the throne of grace.
Five bleeding wounds He bears,
Received on Calvary;
They pour effectual prayers;
They strongly speak for me.
Forgive him, O forgive, they cry,
Nor let that ransomed sinner die!
The Father hears Him pray,
His dear anointed One;
He cannot turn away
The presence of His Son.
His Spirit answers to the blood,
And tells me I am born of God.
I now am reconciled,
His pardoning voice I hear;
He owns me for His child,
I can no longer fear.
With confidence I now draw nigh,
And Father, Abba, Father, cry.
Quotes to Ponder:
“Peace belongs to the stream of spiritual blessings which issues from the fountain of grace. This peace is the smile of God as it reflects itself in the hearts of the redeemed – the assurance of reconciliation through the blood of the cross – true spiritual wholeness and prosperity. It is the great blessing which Christ by His atoning sacrifice bestowed upon the church.”