Paul the apostle was held in prison many times, he was possibly chained to a Roman soldier and his mind may have turned his thoughts to the fact that he also was a soldier, a soldier of Christ. The armour of God is an illustration in the word that reminds us about the reality of spiritual battle and describes the protection available to us. It is not a convenient scripture that lends itself to Sunday school classes! Each piece of armour has a distinct purpose and means of defence against temptation and evil. Daily “suiting up” in the armour of God can feel abstract but with prayer and practice, believers can better understand and implement the habit of putting on the full armour of God everyday.
In Ephesians 4:2-6 Paul encourages the church in Ephesus to ‘make every effort’ to be united with one another. In this message we look at what unity is, and how the covenant meal (comm-union) is an opportunity for Jesus’ body (the church) to demonstrate the powerful joining and unity that was made possible when He died on the cross.
As we continue to consider Paul’s practical instructions to us (Eph 4:17 to 5:21), we take a look at what it means to ‘put on’ our new life in Christ (4:24), in this second part of a two part message. The apostle shows us how ‘all of God does all that God does’ in our salvation and sanctification. He points us to the PRESENCE of the Holy Spirit (4:30) empowering us to change, the GRACE of the Father (4:32-5:1) enabling us to let go of self-orientated thoughts and feelings, and the LOVE of the Son (5:2) endowing us with the capacity to love God and His people, as we look outward instead of inward.
As we read Paul’s practical instructions about walking in our new life in Christ (Eph 4:17 to 5:21), we consider in this first part of a two part message, what it means to ‘put off’ our ‘former way of life’ (v.22). To do so, we’ll look at the difference between salvation and sanctification, and how as new creations (2 Co 5:17) the power balance has changed within us, enabling us to live as God created us to. No longer ruled by body and soul, our newly empowered spirit is able to take control of our thoughts and impulses, in order that we may be transformed through renewal (Ro 12:2), from the inside out.
God is interested in our work lives, and he wants to be involved in it. Your work can make an eternal difference in the lives of those you work with, those you work for, those you manage, and those you serve through your work. Change the way you look at and do your work, in the light of His gospel and grace. We are redeemed by grace, let’s live out that grace in the context of your work. You may never look at work the same way again.
In Ephesians 5:18-20 Paul gives an instruction to the Christians in the church in Ephesus – to be filled with the holy spirit, to sing praise and give thanks. In this interactive message we look at what these phrases mean, the difference between a psalm, hymn and spiritual song, and we look at why it’s so important that we sing praise together.
Towards the end of Ephesians 2 we read some familiar verses that describe Jesus as the cornerstone. In this message we unpack what this means and go through verses 19-22 phrase-by-phrase. We see how Jesus the Cornerstone is placed at the very centre of both the church and our lives individually, providing a strong and stable foundation that everything else can line up to.
Continuing our series in Ephesians, Paul turns his attention at the start of chapter 4 to the practical day to day living of the transformed in-Christ life he has described in chapters 1 to 3. He urges us to walk worthy of our calling together as the One New People of God, guarding our oneness in Christ. And he gives us just the right tools to help… a new wardrobe of designer-label garments. Dare to wear!
Jumping out of Ephesians chapters 2 & 4, in this episode, we think again about the contrast in the life of the believer before and after encountering Jesus. We explore how that change happened and then how in the church we work hard together to preserve the unity that Christ has won.
“So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.” It encompasses all that God is about, all that God feels about us, all that God feels towards us, all that God is. Because God is love. He is a father that loves you! This morning it is vitally important to know this: He is filled with “love and compassion” towards us, even if we are a “long way off”. We have a loving Father; He “sees” us, He is filled with love and compassion towards us, He will come to us – we walk, but He “runs” to us.
In part 2 of this message we are introduced to God as the master architect, who has a master plan – for his Kingdom be be extended and established on earth. How does he choose to do this? Through his people, the Church. We therefore learn that God’s plan for our lives is never independent of the Church. Actually we can only fully outwork his plan for our life in the context of church, because it’s the church that is his master plan. When we realise what the church is (which we find in the book of Ephesians), and who fills it, it stops being something that we attend. It starts to become part of our everyday lives, as we see His Kingdom established.
Ephesians 2:10 tells us that we are God’s ‘masterpiece’ – the pinnacle of creation, made in the image of God himself, declared to be “very good”. But this can sometimes be difficult to hear and believe. There are many lies that we hear about ourselves which are designed to stop us living in our true identity as God’s masterpieces. In this message we look at some of those lies and what the Word of God says about us instead.