Andrew Fountain - How do we reach our destiny?

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Full sermon notes - Ephesians pt6: How do we reach our destiny?

(link to my own translation from the Greek text)

  • First where we are up to:
  • Earlier in the series I talked about being “united with Christ”
  • If we fully grasp this then it will have a big impact on us
    • What have we to fear—we are secure
    • Illustration of the large ship that went down

Ephesians

  • Ephesians falls into two halves
  • Part one (chs 1-3) explains the truth, tells us what reality is about
  • Part two (chs 4-6) tells us how we should live by this truth
  • Closing part 1 is a prayer
  • “No prayer that has ever been framed has uttered a bolder request.” (J. A. Robinson)

Outline

  1. For this cause, I bend my knee to the Father
          from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named
  • that he may give you according to the riches of his glory
  • that you may have full strength to grasp hold of, with all the holy ones...
  • that you may be filled up into all the fullness of God
  1. To him now, who is able to do beyond measure above all that we ask or think
  2. to him be glory, in the church, and in Christ Jesus
          throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Walk worthy of the calling:

  • calling—to be perfect in love
  1. I therefore encourage you, I, the prisoner of the Lord
    to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called
  2. with all lowliness and gentleness
    with longsuffering, bearing one another in love
     
  3. that we migh no longer be infants
  4. but rather practicing the truth in love
          we may grow up into him in all things
          who is the head, Christ

Walk occurs 7 times in Ephesians

2:2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—
2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
4:1 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called,
4:17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds.
5:2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
5:8 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light
5:15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise,

How?

  • can only happen through unity of the body
  1. striving to preserve the one-ness of the Spirit
    in the bond of peace
  2.       one body
          and one Spirit
          even as you were called in one hope of your calling
  3.       one Lord
          one faith
          one baptism
  4.       one God and father of all
    who is over all, and through all, and in all (things)
  • skip a bit

continued...

  1. until we all arrive
          at the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God
          at the complete/mature/perfected human
          at the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ
  • So how does this unity come about?
  • between the two verses I read there is an explanation

Gift

  1. But to each of us was given grace
    according to the measure of the gift of Christ
     
  2. And he gave
          apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers
  3. for the equipping of the holy ones
          for the work of serving
                for the building up of the body of Christ
  • So how do the gifts come about?

Ephesians 4:1–16

A. Walk worthy of the calling: to be perfect in love

  1. I therefore encourage you, I, the prisoner of the Lord
    to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called
  2. with all lowliness and gentleness
    with longsuffering, bearing one another in love

B. Which can only happen through unity of the body

  1. striving to preserve the one-ness of the Spirit
    in the bond of peace
  2.       one body
          and one Spirit
          even as you were called in one hope of your calling
  3.       one Lord
          one faith
          one baptism
  4.       one God and father of all
    who is over all, and through all, and in all (things)

C. Which comes about by the measure of gift received by each individual

  1. But to each of us was given grace
    according to the measure of the gift of Christ

D. From Christ who came down and died and rose as the New Creation

  1. Therefore it says, having ascended on high he led captives captive, he gave gifts to people
  2. now he ascended, what is it if not that he descended down into the earth.

D′. From Christ who came down and died and rose as the New Creation

  1. He, the one who descended
    is also the one who ascended far above all the heavens
    that he might fill all things

C′. The Gift that creates unity

  1. And he gave
          apostles
          prophets
          evangelists
          pastors
          and teachers
  2. for the equipping of the holy ones
          for the work of serving
                for the building up of the body of Christ

B′. unity of the body

  1. until we all arrive
          at the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God
          at the complete(/mature/perfected human)
          at the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ

A′. Our destiny: to be perfect in love

  1. that we might no longer be infants
          wave-tossed and blown about by every wind of doctrine
          by the trickery of people
          who craftily carry out their deceitful schemes
  2. but rather practising the truth in love
          we may grow up into him in all things
          who is the head, Christ
  3. from whom the whole body
          fitted (or joined) together (like a body or building)
          by what every ligament supplies
          according to the working by measure of each individual part
          bringing about the growth of the body
          for the building up of itself in love

Version: NET Bible


  • If a Roman commander was spectacularly victorious in winning a war, they would be granted what was called a “triumph”
    • This is how Paul is picturing Jesus’ return to heaven.
    • There would be an incredibly lavish procession
      • with carts full of captured gold and silver, and captives from the vanquished enemy
    • They would enter the city through a gate only open for such an occasion
      • The crowds would go wild, showering the commander with flowers
    • There are records of him throwing out money into the crowds
    • Finally he would reach the centre of the city and be crowned with glory and honour
  • But in Paul’s story, we are the captives in the procession behind Jesus
    • But what are these gifts he gives to mankind?

Reaching our Destiny

  • Dwelling place of God, mature image of Jesus in love
    • Unity
    • Gifts
          The New Creation of Jesus
    • gives Gifts
    • creates Unity
  • Reach our destiny
  • A few months ago I had an operation to investigate a problem
  • Afterwards I met with the surgeon and he said “While I was in there I had a good look around, but I didn’t see any problems”
  • Can you imagine if he said “You’re quite a bit lighter now Andrew, because while I was in there I saw quite a few things that I didn’t recognize—I couldn’t see what they were for so I removed them.”
    • Can you imagine how delighted I would have been?
  • This is what we have done to the church!
    • Jesus tells us the church is a body, both locally and globally
    • He has designed the body, he knows how it works
  • But most of the time the church tries to function with just the gifts of a few people
    • That is why very often it is a mal-functioning body
    • I believe Jesus has always given these gifts: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers
      • But the church has not received or understood this gift
    • And this is why this message is so important
  • What if you are not following Jesus yet
    • You are not part of this body,
    • But you so easily can be
      • What do you have to do to become one of Jesus’ captives?
      • You have to surrender
  • The irony is that as we surrender to Jesus, we have true freedom
    • Paul boasts that he is a prisoner of Jesus
    • He then uses the same basic word to describe the unity of the Spirit as the bond (chains) of peace
  • All of us have something to offer!
    • Let us use it so the rest of the body is not lacking anything

Updated on 2013-01-17 by Andrew Fountain