Monday, May 23, 2011
A Right Faith, Sermon notes 5-22-11
A Right Faith
Text: Ephesians 1:18-22
The church at Ephesus is west of Galatia, referred to as Asia Minor; near where Greece meets Turkey.
As the second largest city in the Empire, it was a thriving metropolis, populated with a lot of intellectuals. At least a portion of Its importance lay in the fact that it was the intellectual capital of the known world.
This is a good place for Paul to be.
Our faith is based on a "solid rock." There are "espitalogical" principles that we can stand on that will stand the test of time.
We don't have to resort to hocus-pocus, scare tactics or mischief to bring people into the church or into the Kingdom of God.
"I'm not crazy, my faith is based on a solid foundation!" Christianity is not a fringe religion.
We hold on to our faith, not because of Doomsday, but because it is right.
In verse 18, our understanding is illuminated".
In Psalm 27, "The Lord is my light and my salvation..."
Faith is rich, right, required and robust!
Illustration: Summer day, cold root beer poured over cold ice fizzed up and runs over, making it appear that you have more than you started with. Faith is like that.
Faith fills you up, helps you out and keeps you when the days are dark.
Life loses its meaning without the illumination of the transcendent God, who is fully aware of the ugliness of existence and the right-now-ness of need.
God who sits in eternity, knows where we are going, but gives us enough of what we need right now.
Jesus is coming back for the redeemed. Be ready when He comes!
Who are the redeemed? People who have come through the blood of Christ and believe in His name. But, we must be invited.
Illustration: During Prom season, you can't just show up to the dance. You must be invited and have a paid ticket to gain access.
Those of us who are going to the "Big Dance" can invite others to witness and make it in. We should send out as many invitations as we can. We should invite everyone we know to get to know Jesus.
In verse 18, it says, "part of your inheritance is the gospel message and the gospel promise that is to be promoted." You should not be ashamed to chime in when others are talking about Jesus. He is our rock in a weary land, the rock of our salvation; He is a mighty God.
We don't have to resort to scare tactics to get people into the Kingdom.
There are people out there waiting for the right invitation.
In Matthew 22, we have the tale of the wedding feast. We need to go out into the highways, byways, streets, alleys.
Even though Ephesus was intellectually esteemed, they were soulfully -deprived. They had low spiritual esteem.
In comparing the two churches, Corinth and Ephesus-
1. The Corinthian church was spiritually gifted, and moving in grace according to the Spirit.
2. The church at Ephesus was not particularly spiritually gifted and don't feel that they could stand in the promises that God have given them.
Many of the people in the church find themselves in this same condition- low spiritual esteem. But we must remember in the words of that old song, "Jesus loves me, this I know for the Bible tells me so."
You (we) are qualified to serve God if we have been redeemed. Paul is trying to lift them up so that they can labor for the Lord.
Ephesus is one of the seven churches that John addresses in The Book of Revelation [link}. He encourages them to continue to lift the Lord, and not buy into feeling less than qualified because that haven't been in "long enough."
Our salvation is rich, not bound to us, but bound to the life of Jesus.
He qualifies us to serve, edifies us, and sanctifies us- by the power that is in HIM!
Verse 19, says that the power is "us-ward". There is a sense direction here, inward, toward us.
Verse 19-20 talks about operation, using the power. Jesus was taken up by the power at resurrection. And, that same power can be sent back down by the Holy Spirit.
We see evidence of this in the Upper Room with the disciples and the birth of the New Testament church in the Book of Acts, as well as other places in the Bible.
Do you want the power that is available to you in God?
Right faith is from the Righteous One, right on time, right on point and right on the money. It is the right way, the bright way to the highway to heaven.