Ephesians 1:15-19 NKJV
BE Grateful Series
When I think about being grateful, I am reminded of you. I’ve known many of you for a very long time. A few of you are family and I’ve known you since birth. Some of you were in my kindergarten class. Some of you were my neighbors when I was a child. Others are people I’ve met in various churches and towns through the years. I worked with some of you my last 18 years in the workforce.
Even thinking from a broader perspective, I’ve not met you. Your culture may be vastly different from what I experience. Even though we’ve not met, we join here with a common purpose. We are ‘joined’ because we both share a love of God and a calling to grow deeper together.
Wherever and however we have connected, I’m grateful that we did.
I’m grateful that we’ve been able to connect our faith journey and our life journey.
As I studied Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus, I thought of all of you. We all come to read and study together from very diverse backgrounds. We join here to study not because we come from similar backgrounds. We may not practice the same kind of faith. Some of you are Protestant, some Catholic, and some Orthodox. Some may be part of the West living in North America, and some may come here from Africa or from the East (China or Russia).
Because of modern technology we are not separated by a language barrier. Any language can be easily and quickly translated by any number of programs.
We are a diverse people and still we find common ground.
The Apostle Paul was facing many of the same issues in Ephesus and so he sought to include discussions about God’s work in the fellowship and the Doctrines of the of church. He was giving a diverse group of people definition. After all, the church of Jesus was in its infancy. They were the first bodies of believers. They didn’t have set guidelines for their faith and practice.
That’s why Paul gave them a foundation.
After 2000+ years we may take those things for granted, but Paul knew in order for the church of Jesus to survive, they would need to understand how to interact and define God’s intent for the church in relationship to doctrines. In other words, Paul was defining the message of this new church and the content (subject matter) of faith.
Paul chose the Ephesians, a body of Greek and Jewish believers to teach them how to “be the church”. In order to do that, he needed to describe God’s intent. Paul was commissioned by God to merge Gentiles and Jews into one cohesive and loving body of believers in Jesus Christ.
It was no easy task.
In Ephesians 1:15-19 Paul wrote, “Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power.”
Paul laid the groundwork by telling them what they could ask God for and what they could expect.
He said they ask for and expect the Spirit to give them wisdom and that God would reveal Himself to them.
Paul promised this new church their eyes would be enlightened.
He declared they would know the hope of the calling of God on their lives.
He told them they would share in the rich glory of God promised to all the believers (saints).
He emphatically described the magnitude of the power of God that is available to all who believe in Jesus.
Finally, in this section of scripture Paul made it clear that all of the promises he mentioned were possible because a Holy God sent His Son to Earth to mediate their sin, and He followed up by unleashing the power of His Spirit on Earth to all believers.
And suddenly all of their differences didn’t seem to matter.
It didn’t matter because they now shared a common purpose. They believed in the power and promises of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit.
And so, my dear friends we also share a common purpose. All who come here, all who believe, all who read join together in the same common purpose.
We believe in the promises of God.
We know the mighty power of God is alive and well on planet Earth.
We embrace the doctrine set forth by God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit to the church (the body of believers). In this world we are more than a building. We are greater than any one language. We are not defined by culture or race.
We are one.
We are one body of believers.
You are important. You matter.
That’s because you are WE.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: You are We
Let God connect you, by the power of God, the redemption of the Son, through the Spirit to the body of the church of those who believe.
In God, Deborah