This week begins a Sermon series that will take us through the fall. Most of you know that we have spent the last year rewriting our church By-laws to reflect a more Biblical leadership structure. Specifically, we are changing from a board of stewards to Elders and Deacons.
Because this is a huge step in the life of our Church, I want to take a number of weeks to go through our proposed By-laws, so that we all get a good look at it and are able to ask any questions before we revise and vote on the final draft at our December congregational meeting.
So, here is what I want you to do as we go through this. Keep the copy that you got today. Read it and think about it. Pray over it. look up scriptures where they are listed and study them. When you have questions, please feel free to email them to me.
We are staring today with the very first thing we put in our bylaws, which is the affirmation of faith that we say every week. Now, I am not sure when this specific passage was chosen to be our affirmation of faith, but I know that when we put our statement of faith into our bylaws, it was put into that. However, we had been saying it almost every week since before I got here. Ill be honest, it was one of the many reasons I loved this church from the beginning. This is such a rich passage of scripture that explains and reaffirms what makes the church the church.
before I read the passage, let me ask you, what makes a church a church? What makes us different than the rotary club, or the moose lodge? how is the church distinct from other organizations? I hope to answer that question today as we go through this text and look at our proposed By-laws in light of this text.
So, it is very important as we look at this text that we understand the context of the text. Paul is writing a letter to the church in Ephesus. He has a number of instructions for them and encouragements and practical teaching. He does in all his letters to the churches, but what he does almost every time he writes a letter to a church is to restate, in some way, sometimes using the same words, the foundation of their relationship to God and to one another. This section in the original greek verses 3-14 is actually one long sentence.
In the coming weeks we will dig more into some of the specifics as we look at our statement of faith, but today I want to just remind us of a couple things that Paul brings out in this text.
- The Church is the recipients of God’s blessings. Before we every think of blessing others, we must realize that we are primarily the recipients of blessing. We, as a body do not have anything to offer others, until recognize and affirm what we heard from David last week, we bring NOTHING to the table, Jesus brings it all to the table.
a. v. 3 We are given every spiritual blessing In Christ. Forgiveness of Sins, Holiness, Adoption, Redemption, an inheritance,
- Poured out on people He chose to love. As a church, we must always remember that we are the recipients of God’s love, not because we earned it, or because we were the best investment opportunity for God, we receive from God simply because He chooses to show us love and grace. If your eyes have been opened to the Gospel and you have received the Gif of Faith from the Holy Spirit, it was a total and free gift that you receive simply because God decided to do so.
a. v. 4, 5, 9, 11,
- To bring Himself Glory.
I hope I have preached on this enough over the years that this is not new to you, but the reason God shows love to people that he determines to love is one reason, His own Glory.
v. 6, 12 14
Psalm 86:9 All the nations you have made shall come
and worship before you, O Lord,
and shall glorify your name.
Isaiah 60:21Your people shall all be righteous;
they shall possess the land forever,
the branch of my planting, the work of my hands,
that I might be glorified.[fn]
Romans 11:36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
1 Corinthians 6:20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
1 Corinthians 10:31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
Revelation 4:11 “Worthy are you, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they existed and were created.”
This is why it is so important for us to established to affirm from the outset what we holt to as our foundation, before we get into the details of how things operate and whatnot. That is What in our foundation statement we said,
“Emmaus Christian Church is founded on the Good News that Jesus Christ came to fulfill all that God the Father had planned from eternity past. To that end and with the Holy Spirit’s help we exist to glorify God and enjoy Him forever, and we invite others into that same joy.
If we aren’t focussed on that task in our personal lives, and in our families, and in our church, we need God to come and work a change in our hearts to help us to come into conformity with His will and His desire for us as His Children that He loves and sent His son to redeem.