A Church Making Known God's Purpose by God's Power--
Understanding our Core Values
Text: Ephesians 3
by Bob Young

Exciting discoveries when understand who we are.
Remember when I first got glasses, I found out I was taller than I thought I was. Important to know who we are, to understand our heritage, our identity, our nature.

Began last week on Sunday morning--we are a church that declares Jesus is Lord. We accept that truth, we proclaim that truth, we call Jesus Lord. That is our commitment. Therefore we celebrate, we praise, we honor, adore, worship. We are grateful for his provision, we marvel at his preparation just for us, we believe his promise, we make his purpose our purpose.
Therefore we purposefully enter our world week after week with his power and as his presence in our world. Where you go, Jesus goes. Jesus is Lord in our world precisely to the extent that he is Lord in the lives of his people. We signified our commitment to this truth, to this identity, to this hope, calling, inheritance, and power by raising our hands--count me in. Three were baptized making Jesus the Lord of their lives, just as we all have done. One came home asking for strength to make Jesus Lord of her life.

Then on Sunday evening, we took step two. Some of you weren't here, so others have to share the great marvelous truth. We are a church that has received a gift from God. The typical word is grace, but grace is worn out in our religious world. This is merely the gifting of God. God has graciously looked down on us, lavishing love, marvelous measured mercy, declaring rich grace, expressing tender kindness. We are personally God's.
This is the good news that alters who we are--in great need, God provides, saving us, raising us, positioning us, and the result is spectacular. God is at work reversing the past, providing peace, with him, with others.
The summary of all this is that we are the body of Jesus, we are God's masterpiece and crowning work, , we are God's construction. Carl Weeks asked that we pray for God's continued construction in his life as a masterpiece of God.

We are a church that lives because Jesus is Lord.
We are a church that gives because God has given to us, gracing us, gifting us.

Today, chapter 3--
We are a church that understands our core values because God has valued us. Therefore, we make known God's purpose by God's power.
Generally, the key verses in this chapter are vv. 10-11, and/or vv. 14-21. Both are essential to understanding the way Paul communicates in this chapter to the Ephesian church.
It appears Paul begins some thought not unlike the beginning of chapter 4, but then seeks to reinforce once more the great truths of ch. 1-2. We must understand who we are before we can do consistent with our identity.

This is a great mystery. What mystery?--the way the church values unity. This is a genuine/true understanding of vv. 10-11. The church is the declaration of the wisdom of God in providing one access to one people in one body, one building, one dwelling, with God's indwelling spirit.

I. The church's mystery is unity (vv. 1-6)

This is all possible because of God's promise in Jesus Christ as Lord, v. 6.

II. Therefore, the church's message is God's gifting (vv. 7-9)
Paul's identity has come through the power of God giving the grace of God. Grace enables weakness, grace enables leastness, grace enables even the least to greatness.
God's gift is for you, is for me. We can do what we cannot do. Paul could not preach, but he did.

III. The church's mission (vv. 10-13)

Therefore, we value--
	__________Mysterious_____________ unity
	__________Forceful_____________ preaching
	__________Fulfilling_____________ God's purpose
	__________Fervent_____________ prayer-family-Christ's presence
	__________Family_____________ love, calling...

Against the first 13 vv., the chapter's conclusion is a WOW. Get it right, and God's power kicks in. Here is the family of God, assembled in one fact--Jesus is Lord. Here is our identity, our name. Here is our power through his spirit, here is our God likeness.
Do you know yourself? Because Jesus is Lord, God has graciously gifted you/us, and we are walking about in this world valuing what God values, doing what God wants done, powerfully, gloriously, prayerfully, knowingly, and it is not of us.
Vv. 20-21.
I cannot be saved--but God can save you. I cannot come home--but God can restore you. I cannot, but God can. That is the value of this church. Let's commit to being the kind of church we read about in the NT.
The invitation of JC our Lord offers his gracious gifts, declares our unity, determines our values. Don't you want to live for him? Won't you begin, begin again?

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Last updated March 14, 2011