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The Journal

A new community of hope

Dear Friends,
The great theme of Ephesians is that through Christ God is creating a new 
community which is His church - see Ephesians 5:32. For Christians today the centre of God’s activity is in His church. One of the church’s main tasks is the proclamation of the Gospel to both itself and the world and the response which God is looking for is that not only will people yield to Jesus as Lord and Saviour but they will also recognise that Jesus places them in His body the church. It is hard to be a Christian if you are not connected with God’s people the church. Christian growth comes in the context of both giving and receiving from His people the church. Paul has shown us in Ephesians 1:1-14 that through Christ we have every spiritual blessing and then in 1:15-23 he prays for the Christians at Ephesus to be able to grasp and take hold of these blessings. Too often Christians live as spiritual paupers who fail to appropriate all the blessings we have in Christ. So his prayer in 1:15-16 recognises that the priority of the Christian life is first of all faith in Jesus and this leads to love. Faith involves what we believe about God. The critical way to grow in faith is to let your faith be continually informed by what the Bible , God’s Word says about who Jesus is. In our society today many people have confused ideas about what God is truly like because they have formed a picture of him from their own minds. So Paul thanks the Lord for the faith of the Christians which reminds us that this is a gift from God. He then launches into praying for them to know Christ better 1:17. We recognise that to grow in our knowledge of Christ we need the work of the Holy Spirit. The knowledge of God includes understanding but is more than information. Knowledge of God includes a personal experience of God through Jesus. Paul’s prayer continues v18-20 that we may know our inheritance and the power of God. This hope and power is our calling to follow Jesus and to be holy and blameless in our life. Further as Christ’s power has defeated sin and death so we will share in this victory and see our lives changed to become more like Jesus. Please be at prayer for one another because praying to God sees His power released as He delights to answer our prayers. The passage tonight is the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector. It shows the true faith which is needed. The irony is that Luke 18:9 teaches us that the occasion this parable was the fact that some including those who were religious were confident in their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else. True faith recognises that only God is holy and that we are all this sinners. This leads us to humble ourselves and call out for mercy. May we have faith like this. God’s Blessing Rev David O’Mara