Well, our new service, South Shores Remix, has now had its second service and I am very encouraged and excited for the future of this branch of South Shores Church. It has had great support from the pastors, staff, and congregation and I look forward to what new joys the next service will hold. That said, in two Sundays we have covered the first chapter of Ephesians (in two parts) and I’d like to reflect on some key ideas that have stuck with me:
- God is generous. As Paul lists out all that God has planned, worked out through Christ and given through the Spirit, I am overwhelmed by God’s generosity (freely gives, according to his pleasure, because of his glorious grace) that is to our benefit and His glory. It’s my hope that we (me too) will see God’s generosity as the pattern for our (my) own generosity.
- We have every spiritual blessing in Christ. If you are “in Christ” then you have it all. Not some, not part, not a chance of getting a little more… you have everything. Upon trusting in Christ you can know that you have been chosen, adopted, redeemed, forgiven, let in on the purpose of the whole plan, sealed, and given a down-payment guaranteeing and giving a taste of the full inheritance (ie dwelling with God). And all these blessings are only found through Christ Jesus.
- Good doctrine leads to good praise. Paul had an incredible knowledge of God and what God has done… and he praised him wildly. The 202 word sentence of verses 3-14 is a rapidly growing snowball of theology and exaltation because Paul couldn’t separate the two. We shouldn’t either.
- Be thankful for other believers. It is a simple part of this chapter, but to me it speaks volumes: “ever since I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I have not stopped giving thanks for you.” We too should be thankful for other Christians.
- Pray for other believers. Paul doesn’t stop at being thankful for them, he prays for them. He prays a deep prayer that fits exactly with their needs. And their needs are our needs.
- We need to know God and know His blessings. Sure, Paul tells us about God and he lists out the blessings, but his prayer is that the people reading would grow in their understanding of them and their direct experience of those blessings. This week I discovered a new function on our church copy machine: guided book scanning. Now, this machine had always had this capability, but I didn’t know about it, and I certainly hadn’t put it to use. Paul wants us to know these blessings (found in verses 3-14) and put them into use (because we already have them… all).
- God has power for those who believe. What kind of power? The kind of power that raised Christ from the dead and placed him in authority over everything. Power that shows we too will conquer death and will join as co-heirs with Christ. Even when we’d like to see more of God’s power working right now in the thing we need right now… we need to rest knowing that He has shown His power and taken care of the most important things of all (death and an eternal dwelling place with Him).