We started this series by learning about what it means to abide in Christ.
In this series from Ephesians we have talked about a couple of main themes:
How is the Christian life similar to a journey?
What does it mean to be “in Christ”?
This week: The Disciple’s Journey – The Church Sphere
Purpose of today: That God would be glorified as we (North Campus Real Life) place ourselves under the authority of the word of God and be the church as God wants it to be as He has shown us in the Bible.
Defining church from the book of Ephesians: Church is a 1) holy, 2) multi-ethnic group of 3) God-lovers who exist to glorify God. The book of Ephesians uses at least three metaphors for the church: 4) Jesus’s body, 5) God’s family, and 6) Jesus’s bride.
Eph 1:1 (NIV) “To God’s holy people in Ephesus.”
The phrase “God’s holy people” is also translated as “saints” in the ESV.
Saint: Called out ones, set apart, morally blameless.
Are you a saint?
2 Cor 5:21 (ESV) “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
Illustration: The Great Exchange
Revelation 7:9 (ESV) “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands” (emphasis mine).
Churches in scripture are often experienced in local gatherings (ex: letter to the church in Ephesus); however, there is only one Church as seen in the verse above.
Ephesians 2:13-15 (ESV) “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us [Gentiles and Jews] both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace.”
What we – in the church – share in common (our relationship with God made possible by the death and resurrection of Jesus) supersedes any ethnic or cultural differences we have.
Ephesians 1:15 (ESV) “For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people.” (emphasis mine).
A letter to the Ephesian church written later by the hand of John:
Revelation 2:2-5 (ESV) “I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place” (emphasis mine).
Ephesians 1: 22-23 (ESV) “And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” (emphasis mine).
If we exist to glorify God, how do we do that? (7 essentials: go to today’s membership class [1-4:30pm] to learn more)
What did Jesus’s body do while He was on Earth?
Reached the Lost (Nicodemus – sharing truths about Himself).
Connected the Unconnected (Mary the former demoniac).
Chased the Strays (Peter – restoring a discouraged brother).
Shepherded People Towards Spiritual Maturity (The Lord’s Prayer – helping others learn how to pray ).
Identified, Equipped, and Released Leaders (12 Apostles)
Ephesians 2:19 (ESV) “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.”
A positional relationship with God: fellowship vs relationship.
The church becomes a training ground for believers to learn how to become 1) a godly spouse, 2) a godly parent, 3) a godly boss, and 4) a godly neighbor.
Ephesians 5:25-27 (ESV) “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such.”
Do you love Jesus’s bride, the church, because He does?
Have you “forsaken the love you had at first”?
“Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first.”
Does something need to change in the way that you worship?
Go to the life group fair after service.
For Small Group Discussion:
Opening Discussion: What were your growing up years like in relationship to the church?
Watch: The Disciple’s Journey Video Series Ep 3: The Church Sphere: https://youtu.be/Rz1dJieSQgc (10:01 min)
What was something that you took away from either Sunday’s sermon or the video we just watched?
Revelation 2:2-5 has a warning to the church of Ephesus. How does that warning apply to us?
Why are life groups so important for the church to look the way God describes in scripture?
What is a next step that you need to take in order to align yourself with God’s word in regards to church?