Maybe you know this, and maybe you don’t: When you’re public speaking you always have a hundred morsels you can serve up, and one of the most difficult aspects of the task is to decide which ones to lay out and serve. This is especially true of a sermon with a subject matter as dense and rich as scripture, and even more especially true when that scripture is Ephesians 1.
Ephesians is packed. It’s rich. It’s bursting with goodness to be mined out of it. It’s like Paul had some serious Holy-Spirit-coffee while pacing back and forth in his Roman jail cell and then when he was good and hyped up he sat down and just went for it!
If you were at church two Sundays ago, or heard that sermon online, you know pastor Jim set the table for us and our current, mission-briefing, sermon mini-series making us dive into Ephesians chapter 1. This chapter opens with a gospel-centered “berakah” which is was an ancient Jewish expression of praise or gratitude directed to God.
If you felt like it wasn’t just setting a table but more like you looked up and there was a huge buffet in front of you, and you were overwhelmed with the amount of information on goodness until you kinda felt like you needed to step back and get your bearings, you are not alone.
That berakah was the first Christ-clarified berakah that we know of and Paul was just a tad pumped up about Jesus giving those things some serious magnitude. The original writing is a hundreds-of-words-long, 14-verse, run-on sentence — no kidding! He was pumped! It was rich.
Still, it was hard to take it all in!
This is simply true of receiving guidance and vision from God both for us as individuals and as a collective whole. It can actually be a bit overwhelming when you try to consider all the goodness you have given to you by Jesus and available to you by the Holy Spirit. It makes your head swim in the Holy-Spirit coffee!
Hopefully, though, you made last week’s gathering where we began stepping up to the table to examine what it is we’re going to do with this goodness. What it is God is asking us to do with this.
If you haven’t heard it yet, I’d highly suggest you hop over and give it a listen by clicking here.
Pastor Jim has been meeting with the chef of this buffet (get it… get it?) and as we continued through Ephesians 1, Jim has begun laying out the “next-steps” for us to to not only eat up this gospel-goodness for our own lives but be ready to share it with Lawrence — our city, friends, and families.
Again, there’s enough here that I really have to say, you need to listen to the message. Yet, one of our main calls to action at this time is for a collective effort in prayer.
This isn’t about doing the christian-culture thing of “pray before your meal”. This is the christian-reality thing of “pray during your meal”.
As Jim laid it out, God hasn’t gathered us together and given us blessings so that we can sit back and feel good about ourselves, but rather so that we can do something and bless others.
To do this though, we must remain connected to the vine. (John 15:4-5) Apart from it, we can do nothing of any value. Eventually, if we disconnect, we just shrivel up and become worthless.
Prayer is talking about what we’re doing together. Prayer keeps us tethered to God. Prayer keeps us tethered to each other. – Pastor Jim
As was said, this is not about earning God’s approval or being legalistic. This is about enjoying the privilege of working with God while remaining full from God.
Full of the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of God. (Eph 1:17) Full of heart enlightenment and certainty of our hope and calling. (Eph 1:18) Full of the riches of our “glorious inheritance” and his “immeasurable greatness of power” for us as believers. (Eph 1:18-19)
Who doesn’t want to be full on that!?
We have much ahead of us and I hope you rightly feel the sense of peace, security, energy, and abundance that we have to give. I hope you stay connected to the vine to give it, together, with us as Rock Hill Church.
We’re a super-rich, super-stuffed people enjoying a feast and trying to tell Lawrence, Kansas and beyond that their scraps from the street are not all there is.
There’s so much more with the “head over all things to the church” (Jesus), “which is his body, the fullness of him” (us as his gathered people), “who fills all in all” (mmm, that’s good). (Eph 1:22-23)
Tasty, huh? There’s even more to come!