3 minutes reading time (678 words)

New Series on Ephesians: The Book of Peace

New series on Ephesians Image by Francis Trascritti from Pixabay
We're beginning a new message series on the book of Ephesians at Twickenham this week. You can watch or listen here at 10:00 central on Sunday mornings, or here if you can't make it at that time.

Why Ephesians? Well, if you're not a believer, I can't promise that Paul's letter will eliminate all your doubts. But if you grasp its message, it will make you wish you believed. There is enormous hope in this book.
If you're weary with the racial and civil unrest in our country, Ephesians offers a path to peace. The relevance of its message is striking.

If you ever feel you are little more than a mass of atoms subject to the chaos of capricious fate, that life has no purpose or meaning, Ephesians champions not only a direction for your life, but a director.

If you're struggling in your marriage, with your children, your parents or all three, Ephesians teaches how to make your home a place of peace.

The thing is, it isn't a very long book. Just six chapters. But in 1558, John Calvin preached on it for 48 consecutive Sundays. They say that in one sermon, he became so worked up that he burst a blood vessel! Between 1862 and 1916, Charles Spurgeon preached over 70 sermons on Ephesians. And in the early twentieth century, Welsh pastor Martin Lloyd Jones preached 20 sermons just on the first fourteen verses. Here's a quick flyby of what's going on in each chapter.

Chapter 1: God is for us. God has loved us from before the beginning of creation and has been working throughout human history to adopt us into his family and bless us with the lavish riches of his grace.

Chapter 2: Nothing we do makes God love us less or love us more. Our performance neither qualifies nor disqualifies us from membership in God's family. Our status as loved children of God is based neither on the merits of our moral performance nor any privilege derived from our religious, racial or ethnic background. It is based solely on his grace.

Chapter 3. Reconciliation to God and to one another is accomplished only in Christ. God's plan, now fulfilled in Jesus, was to bring all people – regardless of any human distinctions or differences – together into one family: the church. Jesus is the only permanent answer to racial, ethnic, national, international and political hostility. Think about the person or group you'd like to curse. (Seriously, right now, think of the person or group you would like to rain curses down on.) Ephesians says that God wants to bless them. He wants to adopt them so that you and they are siblings in his family.

Chapter 4: In Christ, our differences enhance our ability to love each other. Far from being an obstacle to peace, our different personalities, gifts and talents equip us to meet one another's needs in love.

Chapter 5: The more like God we become, the better we become at relating to others. This new way of love has powerful implications for every aspect of our lives, from the words we speak to how we treat others, even to how we live in our families.

Chapter 6: We are in a fight, but not with other people. People are not your enemy. There is an unseen realm of existence – a parallel universe – an alternate reality in which spiritual forces threaten to disrupt the peace God wants to bring. But God equips us for this battle and victory is assured. We are, as C. S. Lewis said, amphibians — half spirit, half animal. We inhabit two worlds.

If you're in Huntsville and decide to join us in person, know that we are taking care to socially distance so seating is limited. And we strongly encourage you to wear a mask. Or you can join us virtually at the links above. Either way, I hope you'll show up or tune in. Ephesians announces something we all need. Peace.

Peace with God.

Peace with each other. 

My America
 

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Thursday, 22 October 2020

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