Sermon Series: A Worthy Life

5/2 - 6/6/2021

Ephesians has long held a lofty place in the New Testament canon. It is concise, well- structured, and tightly argued. John Stott noted that “It was John Calvin’s favorite letter. . . .”

William Barclay quotes Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s assessment of it as “the divinest composition of man” and adds his own dictum that it is “the Queen of the epistle.” John Mackay, former President of Princeton Theological Seminary, writing in 1948 called Ephesians “the most contemporary book in the Bible” since it promises community in a world of disunity, reconciliation in place of alienation and peace instead of war (also from Stott’s commentary). Seventy years later, Ephesians is as contemporary as ever. Truly, Ephesians is “doctrine set to music” as Mackay said.

Thus, in this series, we will strive to hear this music well, even as we consider how we can play the music in our lives. Ephesians is all about learning to think and live theologically.

Messages

6/5 - 6/6/2021 | Armor of God

Living in the light isn’t always easy! The “spiritual forces of wickedness” are always seeking to pull us back into the darkness. So we must strap on the armor God has given us: truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, faith, salvation, and the Holy Spirit. God does not abandon us to our own devices as we struggle to lead lives worthy of our calling.

5/29 - 5/30/2021 | Children of Light

What does it mean to live as the people into which God has made us? We are to live in the light, being filled with the Holy Spirit, giving thanks to God at all times. Paul’s teachings for these Christian households can be summed up in a single word -- mutuality, “Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ” (5:21).

5/22 - 5/23/2021 | A Life Worthy

Paul directly challenges all believers: “I therefore . . . beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called.” And to what life are we called? To lives of humility, gentleness, patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (4:2-4). We have exchanged our old lives for new lives, renewed by the spirit of our minds (4:23).

5/15 - 5/16/2021 | One in Christ

All those who have faith in Christ have been reborn into one body, where there is no place and no meaning for the “otherisms” of this world. Jesus has brought us together in peace, breaking down walls, creating one new humanity. We who are Christ’s have been reborn into a new human race, reconciled in one body.

5/8 - 5/9/2021 | The Mystery Unveiled

By God’s work, we have redemption through Jesus’ faithful sacrifice, a solution to the dilemma of sin which no one foresaw. This is purely, 100%, God’s grace at work and, thus, none of us can boast about belonging to God. God has rescued us so that we can be Christ’s hands and feet in this time. Indeed, we are what God has made us.

5/1 - 5/2/2021 | The Great Rift

There was a great rift between us and God, that has now been healed, for we have been seated with Christ in the heavenly places. Nonetheless, we still struggle against the darkness of sin within ourselves and in the structures of sin in our society. Acknowledging this essential truth is foundational to grasping all that God has done for us and in us.

All Series

More Than Conquerors
5/14 - 6/19/2022
In the early first century, culturally speaking, everything was positioned around the idea that a nation ought to expand and conquer to accumulate power and influence. In this way, the movement that began with Jesus was positioned well to be a religion that was focused on going out in the world, spreading its message to new nations, and converting others to this system of beliefs. The world was primed for a religious movement that would respond to the great commission, and in effect, go forth and conquer. Yet, the church was not about conquering. It did not hope to extinguish and assimilate every other person and culture. Instead, the early church grew on the basis that it had the ability to universally speak to the human condition of brokenness and offer hope and promise in the wake of that very condition. The church would be more than the conquerors. Everyone was coming to believe in the promise of God. The Gospel reached into different cultures, differently idioms and languages altogether. In this message, they preached and believed that Jesus would return again, and would return again sooner rather than later. Nobody could have fathomed the idea that 2000 years into the future, we would still be waiting on this return. They were teaching each other lessons and lifting each other up in the hopes that they would be alive to see the grand return. However, those lessons taught have a practicality that transcends any time period. In growing over this time, the church moved beyond the disciples. What was once an effort of individuals and leaders who had all had direct connections to, and conversations with, the risen Lord now transitioned to a movement of different ages, nations, and races of converted believers who had simply heard the Good News of the Gospel. They would lean on their own spiritual experiences of the divine rather than tangible interactions with God Incarnate. What will leadership look like in this new Church? Who can be a part of this faith movement? What will be required to participate? Most importantly, how do those messages speak to us today?
Appeared
4/23 - 5/8/2022
Easter has come, Christ has been resurrected. We have enjoyed the big celebrations, the Easter egg hunts, and the family meals, but we forget that there was more than an empty tomb after Christ was resurrected. There were more visits than the brief encounter of the women in the garden. A fully resurrected Christ is a free Christ. Jesus could have gone anywhere and done anything after the resurrection, and yet he chose to search for the disciples. Jesus sought out the ones who abandoned and failed him more than anyone else. The ones who swore loyalty disappeared. The ones who followed in his footsteps for three years turned their backs on the suffering Savior. The ones who pledged to help transform the world abandoned the mission in fear and shame. Yet the story of the cross and resurrection is true for each of us through the power of God’s grace: we are more than our worst moments. The worst thing is never the last thing. What might those disciples have been feeling after the cross? Can you imagine the deep silence between them? The shared knowledge of their failures? The unrelenting question: “What now?” Brene Brown defines shame as “an intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love, belonging, and connection.” It is not hard to imagine the deep shame of these disciples, one that each of them knew intimately and yet did not want to name. Shame assigns identity based on our worst moments. It thrives on secrecy. It is “the fear that something we’ve done or failed to do, an ideal we’ve not lived up to, or a goal we’ve not accomplished makes us unworthy of connection” (Brene Brown, Atlas of the Heart, 137). We see over and over again in the Gospels and Acts scenes of redemption and healing through God’s grace. Jesus could have chosen to abandon the ones who left him at the cross, who pretended they did not even know him, to start from scratch with better disciples. Yet in God’s infinite grace and unrelenting love, the disciples were chosen for connection, relationship, and entrusted with the mission of Christ. Jesus confronts their failures head on. This is the Christian story: our deepest shame is redeemed and we are transformed into world-changing disciples