Sermons on Ephesians

Sermons on Ephesians

Through Jesus we receive Unity

Luke’s gospel opens with an extended narrative announcing Jesus’ birth and its significance. His description includes the familiar scene of angels praising God for the privilege of delivering “good news of great joy,” the birth announcement “of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:9-14). While many people today know that story because of its connection to the Christmas season, Luke presents it as the triumphant conclusion to the Hebrew Bible’s focus on God’s promise to bless the world…

Through Jesus, we receive purpose

Luke’s gospel opens with an extended narrative announcing Jesus’ birth and its significance. His description includes the familiar scene of angels praising God for the privilege of delivering “good news of great joy,” the birth announcement “of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:9-14). While many people today know that story because of its connection to the Christmas season, Luke presents it as the triumphant conclusion to the Hebrew Bible’s focus on God’s promise to bless the…

TOUGH QUESTIONS: How can you say there is only one true faith?

Ephesians 4:1-6 — A variety of influences have converged in our nation over the past century, fundamentally altering how people perceive truth. We live in a culture that now believes individuals must be allowed to interpret truth against the shifting and unique circumstances of their lives. Today, truth often comes prefixed with possessive pronouns – “my truth,” “your truth,” “their truth,” etc. Against that backdrop, Christianity’s claim that “Jesus rightly demands the allegiance of every human being – regardless of…

In Him – the Blessings God gives through Jesus

IN HIM The blessings God gives us through Jesus, Ephesians 1:3-14 The in-crowd offers a standard narrative and cinematic motif. Even though it usually finds employment in predictable ways, the idea of insiders and outsiders remains compelling because it resonates with everyone’s experiences. Paul opened his letter to the Christians in Ephesus by describing an in-crowd and the privileges that attend belonging to that group. But the in-crowd he wrote about avoids the usual, negative things we tend to associate…

Christlikeness and Community

The concept of “community” reached a popular level when I was in graduate school in the late 1990s. It had become a way of casually defining people based on their assumed sociological needs. While the idea certainly possessed rigor, I often saw it uncritically used to reduce the impulse to be part of a group to no more than a longing for belonging. In reference to religion, for example, some would offhandedly comment that it offered like-minded people a community without seriously considering the ideas that formed the community and motivated individuals to want to belong to such a group. Even though some might misuse it, community nevertheless occupies a vitally important role in Christianity. Rather than merely being the result of the desire for belonging, God designed the church as a community built on the foundation of Jesus. It requires participants to understand and believe in Jesus’ authoritative identity and submit themselves to the purposes he sets for the church. As we continue to explore our effort to be like Jesus, we will use Paul’s comments about the church in Ephesians to consider the relationship between Christlikeness and community.

The Call to Be Christlike – Putting on a New Self

Ephesians 1: 3-10–We live in a society that carefully parses identities. African American, Native American, Caucasian, Latino, cisgender, LGBTQ, gen X, millennial, etc. – we have categories into which we place others and ourselves that mark our place in our culture. That same boundary marking exists in religious circles where people are identified by their affiliation – Protestant, Catholic, mainline, fundamentalist, charismatic, progressive, etc. And, categories can overlap to create increasingly narrow subgroups – African American gen X charismatic or…

Ministry Lessons

I sat down at my desk for my first day as a minister twenty-one years ago this May. After busying myself arranging my little stack of books (I only had a Bible and four other books) and a few works items I realized something – I had no idea what to do. I have, fortunately, learned a few things about ministry over the years. In particular, I have developed some convictions that shape my practice of ministry, beliefs drawn from the Bible’s portrait of the church’s identity and of life in the church. This lesson will consequently consider three of those insights and how they can help us think about church.

Battle of the Mind

A Battle of the Mind Matthew 15:21-28 Matthew 15 includes a story of Jesus honoring the faith of a Canaanite woman. The story is tense and contentious, as though there is a deeper struggle going on. It makes me think of passages like Ephesians 6:12 “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against spiritual wickedness in the heavenly places.” Jesus can be contentious! We learn from Jesus that we are in a spiritual battle for our heart and mind. He strengthens us to know what is worth standing up for and how to stand fast in a godly, biblical way.

Always Being Prepared – music in worship

Certain beliefs and practices define us as a religious group in our thinking and other religious groups’ thinking. Because we have a responsibility to be “prepared to make a defense” for the things we believe (1 Peter 3:15), we need to have a conversational understanding of our beliefs and practices that we can share with others. This lesson continues a series looking at some of the more apparent beliefs and practices that tend to define us, things like baptism, communion, and music in worship, and will offer a biblical explanation for them. In particular, this lesson explores our beliefs about music in worship: We believe the changes in worship that accompany the transition from the Law of Moses to the Law of Christ include moving from Levitical musicians to congregational vocal music.”

Wisdom of the Early Church – Dealing with Racism

Ephesians 2:11-22 Regardless of what one thinks about the phrase “black lives matter”, it represents a truth about our nation – we live in a society that politicizes race. And, despite claims that we have become a more ‘enlightened’ society, the strong reactions that phrase solicits from people reminds us that race really does matter in our county. Given the current turmoil surrounding race in our nation, we will consider the way the early church responded to the division it encountered between Jews and Gentiles and explore what guidance its response offers us.

Bring Them Up

We have, in our nation, dedicated today to honor fathers. Good reasons motivate Fathers’ Day; not only do we love our fathers (for those of us who were blessed with good fathers), God also commands people to honor their fathers (Ephesians 6:2). Rather than expressing honor by buying gifts, Paul instructs us to honor fathers by obeying them (Ephesians 6:1-2). The command to honor fathers through obedience carries the expectation that fathers provide honorable teaching that focuses on raising children “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). This lesson considers what that teaching looks like as a reminder to all of us about the honored place God intends fathers to occupy.

Created for Good Works

Ephesians 2:10 — Everyone I have met values good neighbors and has definite ideas about what constitutes a good neighbor. If you ask them about what makes a good neighbor, they always speak about their actions. The connection between one’s activity and peoples’ perceptions about them prepares us for Paul’s comment that we were created to do good works. This lesson will therefore consider the responsibility to do good works and its connection to Jesus as part of this month’s exploration of the purposes Jesus gives to our lives.

Armored Christians

Armored Christians Scripture: Ephesians 6:10-20 The Ephesian Christians were surrounded by the enemy. The threat often looked physical, but in reality it was a spiritual battle. God called and equipped them as a united fighting force to withstand the attacks of Satan.

Walking in the Church

Scripture: Ephesians 4:1-6 The context of Ephesians is the role of the church, and the nature of life in the church. In the church, Christians are called to treat each other kindly, to work together to build the body, and to live godly lives that speak well of the church. Standard doctrines are hardly mentioned in the second half of Ephesians. The “worthy walk” is described in terms of lifestyle and relationships among Christians.

The Church and the Plan

The Church & the Plan Scripture: Ephesians 1:3-14 The church will usually be a marginalized minority in the eyes of the world, but she is the precious and planned gathering together of God’s people. As God works his plan, some, such as Old Testament Israel, will be chosen to fill special and exclusive roles. That is the case of today’s church. No other group can fill the role that God has planned for and given to the church. To claim Christ, but opt out of the church, is to disregard God’s plan.

Kindness

Ephesians 4:25:32 Our world is plagued by major evil, but also with daily nastiness. We may not be able to change the whole world, but we can make a mark on our personal world by simple kindness. We should be kind to others because God has been kind to us. Many activities require some special gift or talent than is given only to a few, but kindness is accessible to each one of us. It is something that we can…