This week we join Jesus, eating at the house of Simon the Pharisee, when suddenly a woman – a “woman of the city who was a sinner” – appears on the scene and interacts with Jesus in ways that were not only against custom, but were downright shocking. The sermon will consider how Jesus responds to this woman, what this response teaches us about the vital connection between love and forgiveness, and how that connection shapes inclusiveness in our community.
This week’s sermon will have us fast-forwarding 40 days ahead of Jesus’ resurrection to consider his ascension. Asking the question, “What is Jesus doing in heaven for our good?”, we will see from this text that in heaven Jesus is busy empowering His people, advancing the Kingdom of God, and preparing to one day consummate all things.
This week’s sermon focuses on the true difference that the resurrection makes in our lives.
We have reached the end of our series in Ephesians! This coincides with Paul reaching the end of his exhortations to the church in Ephesus (see the word, ‘finally,’ in v. 10). Drawing from the imagery of Isaiah (who depicts the Messiah as a divine warrior clothed in armor; see Isaiah 11, 52, and 59), Paul now calls Christians to use this armor in order to be ready to stand firm (verb used 4 times in this passage), especially in light of the spiritual warfare that surrounds them, and to be devoted to prayer. The sermon this week will seek to renew an awareness of the reality of spiritual warfare; call believers to stand firm in the Lord’s strength; and to be active in advancing the good news of the gospel to those who are apart from Christ.
In this week’s text, Paul moves from general instructions about how Christian should relate to one another (i.e. “submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ” – v. 21) to specific instructions for how Christians should relate to each other in specific relationships. In 5:22-33, he focuses on marriage; in 6:1-4, on parenting; and in 6:5-9, on work. Though many sermons and books could be written regarding each of these, the sermon this week will focus primarily on God’s design for how these relationships can best be lived out in context of a Spirit-filled Christian life. My hope is that all of us would be both encouraged and challenged to see not only the Lord’s purpose for these relationships, but our own individual callings within each of them.
· Are you filled with the Spirit?
· Is the Lord pleased?
· Do you expose unfruitful works to the Lord and to others that you trust?
· Are you living in encouraging fellowship with others?
In this week’s text, Paul continues his focus on application by turning to practical ways in which believers can walk in love and be imitators of God. Recognizing that genuine Christian obedience is both motivated and fueled by the example of Christ and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, Paul goes beyond just giving us a list of ‘do not’s’. Rather he follows them up with ‘do’s’ as well. While Paul’s list is not exhaustive, it is instructive and immensely helpful. While expecting the passage to be difficult for some to encounter, my hope is that the sermon will be used by God to bring about conviction of sin as well as encouragement in Christ’s work on our behalf that leads to fruitful living for Him.
In this passage, Paul turns to the foundation of righteous living for those who are united to Christ Jesus by calling upon Christians to put off the old self and put on the new self. The sermon will likewise call the church to flee the futile ways of living like the world and to pursue living as those who strive to please the Lord in our thoughts, desires, and actions. Recognizing that such obedience is fueled only by the gracious presence and ongoing ministry of the Holy Spirit, believers will be challenged to trust Him to produce the fruit of righteousness in their lives.
In this week’s text, Paul follows up on his theme of unity in the body of Christ by drawing attention to the important truth that unity does not mean conformity. Presenting Jesus as the conquering hero who bestows gifts upon His church, Paul celebrates the diversity that exists in the church by explaining how those gifts have been distributed for its good and growth. The sermon will focus on both the importance of diversity in the church and how using God’s gifts in the way that they are intended will increase our faithfulness and fruitfulness as a body of believers.
In this week’s passage, Paul returns to his original intent of 3:1 and enters into intercessory prayer for the Ephesians. There are three key sections in verses 14-21: Paul’ posture (vv. 14-15), Paul’s prayer (vv. 16-19), and Paul’s praise (vv. 20-21). Together these sections expose the heart that the apostle has for his fellow believers in Ephesus, and are instructive of how we can also be led to pray for other believers. The sermon will focus primarily on the subject of Paul’s prayer and praise, specifically the need for believers to experience God’s power, comprehend God’s love, and embrace God’s provision.