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Ephesians

March 10, 2009

Part 1

The New Testament church was shaped by mission. It was taken for granted by Paul that the church functioned as a base for carrying the gospel forth into the world. He wrote his letter to the church in Rome because he needed a strong and vibrant home church from which to launch a mission into Spain. There is no evidence that he ever got that far. But what we have today is his letter which speaks to the great theological beliefs and values that are the very core of our Christian faith. He vividly portays a grand vision of God’s ultimate future including a new humanity and a transformed creation(Romans 8:12-39). Colossians and Ephesians also speak to this cosmic reach of the gospel which God is already bringing forth. I like what Paul says in Ephesians about our ultimate future promised by God. In the first chapter he describes the coming together of all things in heaven and on earth in Jesus Christ.

“God’s desire and design is to sum up all things in Christ, things in heaven, things on earth.” Ephesiasn 1:10

How is this coming about? Well, God is doing this very big stuff one small step at a time in the personal individual lives of people like you. Paul says as much in Ephesians 2:10, “By grace you are saved through faith, so that then you can do the good works which God has prepared for you beforehand to walk in.”

I have said before that we all live inside stories that give shape to our lives. We hear stories of success, of problems solved, of power, of  health and wealth  all of which are meant convey what is important and deemed worthy of pursuit. Thes stories give shape to how we live our lives. They define us. Christians tell a different story. We tell the story of God and his saving work in Jesus Christ as an invitation for hearers to switch stories and become part of this story of God. Pendleton Presbyterian’s life is an invitation, not in the sense that we are taking people out of the world and placing them in enclaves of safety and purity. Christians live in the world but are not of the world because God’s purpose is to renew all of creation and to raise us from the dead to share in the new world.

What the church does is anticipate that great promise and live within it here and now. Ministry and mission embodies this reality. So, Ephesians 1:10 “God’s desire and design is to sum up all things in Christ, things in heaven, things on earth.” And how this works out in your life and mine. “By grace you are saved through faith, so that then you can do the good works which God has prepared for you beforehand to walk in.” Ephesians 2:10

This vision of the end or, as Paul describes it, of new creation has great power to energize a vibrant missional focus at Pendleton Presbyterian as we become participants with God in his answer to our prayer “Thy will be done on earth as it is heaven.”

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