Andrew Fountain - The Central Message of Christianity
Full sermon notes - Ephesians pt1: The Central Message of Christianity
- What is the central
message of Christianity?
Four Spiritual Laws
Image source: Campus Crusade for Christ
- Anyone hear of the Four Spiritual laws produced by a student organization called “Campus Crusade for Christ”?
Four Spiritual Laws
- God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life.
- Man is sinful and separated from God. Therefore, he cannot know and experience God’s love and plan for his life.
- Jesus Christ is God’s only provision for man’s sin. Through him you can know and experience God’s love and plan for your life.
- We must individually receive Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord; then we can know and experience God’s love and plan for our lives.
- What’s Good?
- Good news
- It does imply you have to follow Jesus by the expression “receive Jesus as Lord”
- What’s not so Good?
- All about what’s in it for you (Very man-centred)
- All about this life. Absolutely nothing about the future
- Does the Bible have anything like that in any kind of organized form?
- Ephesians is one of the last of Paul’s letters, probably written from prison
- I’m planning to do a short series from this book
- In it Paul crystalizes down the core of his teaching to it’s very essence
- He wrote Colossians at pretty much the same time, and they are extremely similar, parallel in places
- Ephesians is slightly fuller, so we will focus on that
- The supernatural power of his Spirit living in us
- His love freely lavished on us
- Destiny as a new creation, filled with God’s presence
- How do I know that this is his summary?
- He spends the first half of the letter explaining it and then summarizes it:
- to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,
- 17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge,
- so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
- Power, love and destiny
- He actually begins the meat of his epistle with the almost identical three things, but in reverse order
- what is the hope to which he has called you,
- what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, [it turns out that Jesus & the Father are our inheritance]
- 19and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe
- The Spirit we have now as a foretaste of our inheritance
- He brings us a taste of the love of Jesus
- He puts the cry “Abba Father”, which means “Daddy” on our lips
- then as Paul begins to develop the story, it goes something like this
- This world is broken, fatally damaged, poisoned
- Sin has come in and spoiled everything
- the environment
- There is really no hope for it
- God is not going to patch it up to keep it going, but eventually will destroy it
- God has started a new creation in Jesus
- A new kind of being
- When Jesus rose from the dead, his new body was not made of dust, but of Spirit
- Colossians calls him the “firstborn from the dead”
- He was the first of the New Creation
- We get from the old to the new by hanging onto Jesus
- He died in the old, and rose in the new
- And you being dead in your transgressions and sins, 2in which you once walked according to the age of this world, according to the ruler of the authority of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience,
- among whom also we all once lived in the desires of our flesh doing the wishes of the flesh and of the thoughts, and we were by nature children of wrath as also the rest.
- But God being rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us,
- 5even being dead as we were in transgressions,
- made us alive with Christ—by grace you have been saved!—
- 6and raised us up with him
- and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
- that he might show in the ages to come the surpassing wealth of his grace in kindness upon us in Christ Jesus.
- For by the grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you , of God is the gift; 9it is not from works, so no one may boast.
- For his work are we, created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand, that in them we might walk.
Version: NET Bible
- Union with Jesus
- But we have to live in the old!
- How do we do that?
Image source: Wikimedia Commons
- We have one foot in the old and one in the new
- Actually the outer is the old and inner is the new
- You are holding up a huge mirror
- The arts
- Show video echo-hereweare.mp4
- We aim to bring the new into the old, not to rescue it, but to reflect the new
- Medicine: reflecting God’s desire to bring in a time when there is no more sickness
- Of course supernatural healing
- But not always because...
- What Paul does in the rest of the book is to bring the new creation into relationships
- Marriage—In the New it will be Christ and the church, so let’s reflect that back into the present
- Servants—In the New you will be serving Christ, so reflect that into the present
- Farming God’s way (Foundations for farming)
- Can they defeat famine?
- No, but they can reflect the new
- inner lives
- Lay aside the old man who is being corrupted in accordance with deceitful desires,
- to be renewed in the spirit of your mind,
- and to put on the new man who has been created in God’s image—in righteousness and holiness that comes from truth.
- when you go out into the world, you are taking a little piece of the new creation inside you—let if reflect out to this world, as a sign that there is something better, newer, coming
Updated on 2013-01-16 by Andrew Fountain