Sunday, January 21, 2007

Caffeine for the soul

What does it mean to be a Christian? What is God doing in the world today? Ephesians is the book that more than any other shows the cosmic and corporate scale of God's salvation plan through Christ, and for Christ – which results in the exaltation of Jesus above all (1:22-23) through the establishment of God's church. We're a Christian Union, not the local church, but we're are part of the church, and involved in building the church locally, and globally – part of God's big plan!

God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fulness of him who fills everything in every way. (Ephesians 1:22-23)

We could spend a year in the book of Ephesians but we don't have the time! Instead we're going to take a birds-eye view – to fly high. We'll have to overlook some of the amazing detail (take time to zoom in sometime soon) but what we'll gain is the big picture. We'll find that God's purposes in Christ are much bigger than we might have imagined. The gospel is about a lot more than just my personal relationship

1. Christians have every blessing, for his glory. Paul begins in prayer – praising God that the Ephesian Christians have every blessing. Not on earth, v3, but in the heavenly realms (see also 3:10). These blessings are numerous (chosen, holy, blameless, predestined, adopted, redeemed, forgiven, lavished with wisdom and understanding, the Holy Spirit as a deposit). We don't have time to explore of each of these though you might want to consider some of them. Notice that they're all “In Christ” - the phrase is in almost every verse! This is an even more important 'location' than the 'heavenly realms'. We have all these blessings because we have union with Christ. And notice why we have these blessings – v3, v6, 14 – for the praise of his glorious grace. Not ultimately for us, but to show how amazing his grace is.. The appropriate response seems to be to praise God!

2. Christ raised and seated over all. Paul turns to a need for God's power to work in us to reveal God to us – but is distracted and ends up at the climax of the letter in 1:22-23, telling us that God's great power has raised Christ from the dead and seated him over all for the church. He then prays for that resurrection-ascension-seating power to work in us! Power that brings revelation of this amazing plan. Revelation that leads to belief and more praise. Pray!!

3. We are raised and seated with Christ. Everything is still in Christ, and it turns out that what happened to Christ has happened to us in the heavenly realms. We were dead (under sin and wrath like him) but now He has raised and seated us! Why? V7 – to show his grace! V8 – he did it, so we couldn't boast – except in his grace. Even the faith we have is a gift - God has done it all. He blessed us. He adopted, redeemed, forgave and predestined... he raised and seated us in Christ. Because he already raised and seated Christ.

And to do whatever his has prepared for us. We've been flying high and seeing his cosmic plan in Christ, and it is complete – including even the detail of our lives. When he says (1:22) that Christ is head over everything and filling everything, and 1v10, having all things under Christ he means even the very details of our small lives. Yet we too easily consider our lives to be ours... and boast in ourselves. See from a different angle. See God's big plan in Jesus Ephesians shows us God's great plan from high altitude. It is caffeine for the soul.

Ephesians 1v1-2v10
Theme: Christ over all!
Transformational-Faith-Aim: Boast in his grace in all things.

1v1-14 Every blessing in Christ
What has God done for us? (v3)
Where has this happened – why does the where matter?
In pairs – look for any repeated phrases in this sections.
Why are we blessed? How do we get these blessings?
What is God's big plan as he blesses us? (v9-10)
(Lord, how glorious is your plan in Christ!)

1v15-23 Christ seated over all!
What has happened to Jesus?(20-22)
What does this show us about God's big plan? (also 1:10)
How did God do this?
What will be the result of that same power working in us? (15- 19)? Pray that!
(Lord, work the same power in me to show me Jesus!)

2v1-10 Us, seated with Christ!
What has happened to us? (1-6) (Where were we, where are we)
Where has this happened? (v6 + 1v3)
How is this like what happened to Jesus? (1v20-22)
How does this add to our understanding of the in Christ's in ch1?
Why has God raised & seated us? (v7)
What will we do because of this? (v8-9 +1v13)
Does this mean we can now claim some contribution to God's big plan?
How detailed is God's big plan? (1:10, 1:22-23 and 2v10)
How will God's big plan effect the way we consider our lives?
How will the 'all things' & 'everything' of effect friendships, studies..(1v10 + 2v22)
How does the scale of God's plan effect our mission on campus?

1 comment:

  1. Some great insight, highly deep caffeine, I'd say.