Dec 1, 2019
What Christmas Reveals About God Matthew 12:18-21
By: (All)
Series: Advent 2019
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  • Dec 1, 2019What Christmas Reveals About God Matthew 12:18-21
    Dec 1, 2019
    What Christmas Reveals About God Matthew 12:18-21
    By: (All)
    Series: Advent 2019
  • Nov 24, 2019Network: You don’t have to serve alone. . . nor should you. Ephesians 6:21-24
    Nov 24, 2019
    Network: You don’t have to serve alone. . . nor should you. Ephesians 6:21-24
    By: (All)
  • Nov 17, 2019Battle: Being Strong. . . in the Lord! Ephesians 6:10-20
    Nov 17, 2019
    Battle: Being Strong. . . in the Lord! Ephesians 6:10-20
    By: (All)
  • Nov 3, 2019Act lovingly because you are the Light of the World. Ephesians 5:1-20
    Nov 3, 2019
    Act lovingly because you are the Light of the World. Ephesians 5:1-20
    By: (All)
  • Oct 27, 2019Holiness: Off with the Old, On with the New Life in Christ! Ephesians 4:17-32
    Oct 27, 2019
    Holiness: Off with the Old, On with the New Life in Christ! Ephesians 4:17-32
    By: (All)
    Many assume that God’s will is some kind of torture, that God wants us to abandon our own best interests for a stodgy, joyless existence. Does following Jesus mean giving up our dreams and desires? It is true that taking up our cross to follow Jesus comes with challenges and even persecution. But it is hardly joyless, and leads to eternal joy!                 Our mistake begins in our thinking, when we buy into Satan’s lie that life is better when we live independently and self-sufficiently apart from God. That is the lie Adam and Eve believed in the Garden, and we know how that worked out, don’t we?           Jesus embraced the Cross “for the joy set before Him,” because He understood that there is no real life outside of God’s love and dependency on His grace. Humans are neither independent nor self-sufficient, and acting as if we are is rooted in self-deception.           In today’s passage, which begins the final section of the Ephesians, we discover that we don’t give up anything good in order to follow Jesus. We only exchange the deceitful desires of a hard heart for the life-giving choices that come from God’s will and Spirit. And in turning our backs on selfishness, we, in turn, build up one another and delight our Father.
  • Oct 20, 2019Diversity: Each of us plays a part in the Unity (fullness) of Christ. Ephesians 4:1-16
    Oct 20, 2019
    Diversity: Each of us plays a part in the Unity (fullness) of Christ. Ephesians 4:1-16
    By: (All)
    How can the grand and glorious goal of seeing all things summed up in Christ ever be accomplished? Divisiveness, hidden agendas, and garden variety tribalism threaten unity at every turn. Christians are not immune to these things, and so the Lord graciously helps us see how WE have a part in making unity happen under the hand of God.                         However, we need to define or describe unity. It is not unanimity, as in everyone thinking the same, nor uniformity, as in everyone being the same. Rather, unity is the purposeful integration of all the parts of something working together in a fully functioning way, as a body.                 God’s command is not to create unity, but to preserve the true unity that exists in Christ. How is this done? First, by recognizing that unity, approaching it with humility, and then realizing and actualizing your place in it. If YOU do not do your part, the body, the unity, suffers.               “Diversity” today has become a political buzzword useful to divide us into tribes and competing victimhoods. But the God who created us and whose Creation is marked by purposeful diversity, has a better plan. And that is to gift His Church with the leadership and teaching necessary to avoid divisiveness and promote healthy growth in each part.
  • Oct 13, 2019Comprehension: We pray for power to grasp the fullness of Christ. Ephesians 3:14-21
    Oct 13, 2019
    Comprehension: We pray for power to grasp the fullness of Christ. Ephesians 3:14-21
    By: (All)
    We’ve seen that in Christ the believer now has all he or she needs. Sins forgiven, adopted as God’s child, inheritance guaranteed, eternal blessings galore are secure. Not only that, God’s own promise is sealed with the presence of His Spirit, who is the guarantee (down payment) of all that is to come.                         What more is required? Just as Paul prayed that believers would understand the mystery and its blessings after naming them (chapter one), here he prays that we believers will grasp the fullness of God’s love. Understanding God’s love leads to a deepened relationship with Jesus through the power of grace. As any relationship, this one grows.               Paul’s language is so expansive that we can get lost in the wonder of it all, but basically he asks for three things and then lets us know that those things are guaranteed by a God of infinite riches and glory.               Why are such prayers necessary? Because we still are living in these bodies of flesh, subject to temptation, trials, and turmoil. We are easily led astray by Satan and the world’s empty promises of satisfaction. But if we keep before us who we are and the fullness of God’s love and provision, we have a place to stand and the will and energy to fight!  
  • Oct 6, 2019Proclamation: From Mystery to Mission Ephesians 3:1-13
    Oct 6, 2019
    Proclamation: From Mystery to Mission Ephesians 3:1-13
    By: (All)
    This week our church commemorates 80 years of cross-cultural missions, that is, the endeavor of leaving one’s own culture and comfort zone to take the gospel and its blessings to those who don’t know Jesus. Sara (Sally) Zurrell left Philadelphia for Bolivia in 1939.                       But why? Where does missions begin? The short answer is “in the heart of God,” who has been seeking sinners since Adam and Eve. The whole Bible is about this love story, and our church is a recipient of that love, and now exists to glorify Him by taking His love to others.              While the prophets knew that God was at work, none of them even suspected what was to come, that God would send His own Son to die for sinners and to bring  diverse and warring parties of sinners together to form one new Temple, where he would dwell forever.              In our text today, Paul lets us look “behind the curtain” into the very mind of God, who not only has revealed the Mystery through Jesus, but also ordains apostles to preach “the unsearchable riches of Christ.” Through that global gospel proclamation, the nations are shaken with a spiritual earthquake that reverberates into eternity. 
  • Sep 29, 2019Celebration: Becoming God’s New Temple Ephesians 2:11-22
    Sep 29, 2019
    Celebration: Becoming God’s New Temple Ephesians 2:11-22
    By: (All)
    Our text for today develops the themes of the previous verses, just as Paul’s prayer in the latter part of chapter one enhanced themes he had listed in the first half. But what is going on in this book? Paul doesn’t correct bad doctrine (as he does in Colossians) or warn warring factions (as he does in First Corinthians and Galatians).                         Simply, in Ephesians, Paul showcases God’s Mystery, for ages hidden, but now made manifest by the coming of Jesus. He explains why Jesus is “a big deal,” the biggest of deals, because in and through Him God is regaining control over an out-of-control, rebellious world.               We saw in verses 1-10 that God has awakened us dead sinners and forgiven us, giving us spiritual life by His grace. Now Paul shows us what has become of us now-forgiven sinners, and it is truly glorious.               In Jesus, God transcends anything in the Prophets or the hopes of pious Jews. God’s plan is not to restore ethnic Israel to a narrow strip of land. He is building the redeemed from every nation into a New Temple for His dwelling place in the New Creation. The New Jerusalem is His redeemed people who reign with him forever.  Revelation 21
  • Sep 22, 2019Remembrance: Recounting Our Resurrection Ephesians 2:1-10
    Sep 22, 2019
    Remembrance: Recounting Our Resurrection Ephesians 2:1-10
    By: (All)
    Remembrance: Recounting Our Resurrection Ephesians 2:1-10               Paul begins Ephesians with praise to God for His blessings to us in Christ, which are complete in every way (Ephesians 1:3-14). Our sins have been forgiven, as adopted children of God, and we are prime examples to all creatures in heaven and earth of God’s grace.                         All that is lacking is a full understanding of these blessings, the mystery now revealed, so that through the Spirit’s operation, we will know God, and be clear about our destiny, identity, and the power with which God has made us His inheritance (Ephesians 1:15-23).               Now he calls on us to recall what has happened in our own experience. But why? Jesus reminds us in his parable of the two debtors (Matthew 18:21-35) that our own experience of grace must move us to show grace to others, to forgive as we’ve been forgiven.               And then there is the lesson Jesus taught Simon the Pharisee when the “sinful woman” wept at Christ’s feet. Those who are forgiven much, love much (Luke 7:36-50). So our love for God and others is weighed and mobilized to the extent we remember from what and to what we have been saved. And all of it has come by His grace.