But what does that mean? What does it truly mean to be a movement for wholeness? How do we accomplish this in the ways that we “do church,” and “be church,” both within these walls, and outside these walls? I hope you will join us as we begin to discern what that means, with a new sermon series beginning this Sunday. Together in worship we will walk with the church at Ephesus, and discern our identity, together.
This walk through the letter to the Ephesians teaches the church how to be a community worthy of the gospel. In the midst of familiar interpersonal conflicts, the writer of Ephesians reminds them that they are “now in Christ Jesus,” no longer strangers to God and, importantly, no longer alienated from each other. Because of this new life in Christ they are experiencing a radical transformation of their identity – as individuals and as a community. What does it look like to live rooted in reconciliation – vertical and horizontal – with God and with neighbor? How do we practice it in radical ways?
Blessed be God, the Father of our Lord Jesus the Anointed One, who grants us every spiritual blessing in these heavenly realms where we live in the Anointed--not because of anything we have done, but because of what He has done for us. God chose us to be in a relationship with Him even before He laid out plans for this world; He wanted us to live holy lives characterized by love, free from sin, and blameless before Him. He destined us to be adopted as His children through the covenant Jesus the Anointed inaugurated in His sacrificial life. This was His pleasure and His will for us. Ultimately God is the one worthy of praise for showing us His grace; He is merciful and marvelous, freely giving us these gifts in His Beloved. Visualize this: His blood freely flowing down the cross, setting us free! We are forgiven for our sinful ways by the richness of His grace, which He has poured all over us. With all wisdom and insight, He has enlightened us to the great mystery at the center of His will. With immense pleasure, He laid out His intentions through Jesus, a plan that will climax when the time is right as He returns to create order and unity—both in heaven and on earth—when all things are brought together under the Anointed’sroyal rule. In Him we stand to inherit even more. As His heirs, we are predestined to play a key role in His unfolding purpose that is energizing everything to conform to His will. As a result, we—the first to place our hope in the Anointed One—will live in a way to bring Him glory and praise. Because you, too, have heard the word of truth—the good news of your salvation—and because you believed in the One who is truth, your lives are marked with His seal. This is none other than the Holy Spirit who was promised as the guarantee toward the inheritance we are to receive when He frees and rescues all who belong to Him. To God be all praise and glory!