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The Journal

Jam packed with goodies

Dear Friends,
Today we begin a new series on Ephesians continuing our theme of being a healthy church. Many theologians divide the book of Ephesians as follows :- chapters 1-3 teach us doctrine about God and people or what Christians believe and then chapters 4-6 teach Christians the implications of this teaching and how to live as Christians. Effectively healthy church follow this pattern by ensuring that the Gospel is preached so that people come to faith in Jesus and then they have God’s power to live the Christian life. If we teach just about behaviour without the connection to Jesus and His saving power then our churches become moralistic and lack power. Healthy churches place an emphasis on the proclamation of Jesus’ death and the power of His death to both save and forgive our sins.
Ephesians 1:1-14 is jam packed with Christian doctrine. In particular we learn that in Christ we have every spiritual blessing. Throughout the chapter the phrase “in Christ” is used repeatedly ensuring that we understand that all spiritual blessings are received through Christ and what He has done. You cannot follow Jesus without encountering Him personally and receiving the power of the Holy Spirit. God’s purpose for our lives is that we will be holy and blameless. This makes sense because God adopted us v5 to be his children. Children physically resemble their parents and so God wants us to spiritually resemble Him and so grow in love and joy and many other qualities. We receive all this through believing in the death and resurrection of Jesus 1:13. Through faith in Jesus we have been redeemed 1:7 and this means that Christ has paid for our sin and bought us. We are His and we belong to Him. When we understand that we belong to Christ we recognise that means we have been given a great privilege to know God and to be saved from sin and judgement. Please don’t take Your salvation for granted because it is a great gift. Not only does God save us but He also gives us the Holy Spirit who seals us or protects us and ensures that we will make it to heaven 1:13. All this is received through faith or trusting what God says rather than what we feel. The parable for the evening in Luke 18:1-8 teaches us about the importance of prayer & is linked to not being discouraged. It is easy to be discouraged as a Christian because of the trials we face in the world as well as the awareness of our sin. Prayer is the key to being strengthened in faith because when you you are nourished by God. To pray is to decide to follow Jesus in His strength and not in your own. This parable teaches us about perseverance and trusting that in the midst of all the evils that occur in this world our God is just and will be vindicated. God’s Blessing Rev David O’Mara