Paul spends a great deal of time in Ephesians teaching the gospel and its implications. God has reconciled us, God has brought us together, God has acted for us. Therefore, Paul says, let us walk in a manner worthy of this calling by being united together in both doctrine and behavior. The goal is maturity.
A fuller introduction to the sermon can be found here.
If we think of obedience as duty, something we have to do, we will always fall short. Instead, scripture teaches us that God acts on our behalf first and then calls us to obey him as a response of gratitude to what he has already done for us.
Sunday morning sermon, 9/30/2012.
What did Peter and John do when they were released by the religious authorities? They returned to their friends...and they prayed.
In their prayer, they placed everything that had happened and that they were doing within the context of the Sovereign Lord's plan, as found in scripture. They did not pray for things to change or to get better, and they did not pray for their own felt needs. Instead, they prayed for boldness to keep preaching and to carry out the work of God.
If we find ourselves "east of Eden," away from God, we need to remember the gospel: God has chosen us, redeemed us, and promised us that we will be with him forever.
Marriage helps us grow spiritually, if we submit to Christ and to our spouse in sacrificial love.
At the conclusion of his letter, Paul reminds the Ephesians that their battle is not against other people--whether governments, officials, or even each other. Their battle is against the devil, and evil. So they need to stand firm by equipping themselves with the whole armor of God that will enable them to stand. And they ought to wrap it all up with prayer--for themselves and others.
We build a community of faith through intense, ongoing, and fervent prayer for one another. Stand firm through prayer.
Note: We'll conclude the Ephesians series next week with Eph. 5:22-6:9.
Imitate God and walk in love.
Understanding the gospel is only the beginning. Proper understanding leads to proper action. In a church, this means always working on your relationships with one another.
After proclaiming the glory of the gospel of God, Paul reminds the Ephesians to walk in a manner worthy of their calling. This includes relating relationally to each other, growing in maturity, and building the body of Christ in love.
You cannot take a trip without having a plan. Likewise, we cannot know how best to serve God without knowing his plan. In Ephesians 1-3, Paul outlines the plan of God, teaching that it is for our benefit, for the praise of his glory. When we know his plan, we can live his plan.
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