J. Gordon Duncan

Culture, Business, Fitness, Etc.

Evident Grace Preview for January 5, 2014

1.1-6Tomorrow, we are going to begin our “Ephesians” series.  So, let me detail a few things as we begin.

At Evident Grace, we value that the best way to understand a book of the Bible is to walk line by line through it.  This is called understanding a book exegetically or from my perspective, it is called exegetical preaching.  Every now and then, that means we look at some pretty strange verses, but this will give you a deeper understanding of the book and that will keep me honest as I can’t just skip around to whatever verse I want.

Also, if we are going to fully grasp whatever any book of the Bible is attempting to communicate, we need to know a bit of the book’s background.  So, if you don’t mind, let me tell you a bit of the history of Ephesians.

The Apostle Paul wrote this while sitting in a Roman prison somewhere between 60 and 64AD.    The sole reason that Paul was in jail was that he preached salvation by faith alone in Jesus Christ and that Jesus was king.  The local governments didn’t care who you worshiped but that person couldn’t be the king of the entire world.  That title was reserved for Caesar.

So as Paul sat in a nasty jail, he wrote this letter to the church in Ephesus.  Paul had visited them earlier in his life, but since that visit, the church grew a great deal.  So, some of those receiving this letter would have known Paul really well, while others would never have had the chance to hear him or interact with him.

With all of that in mind, as we read and study this book, we should notice two themes.  The first theme is that Christ has repaired the broken relationship between the sinful world and God.  That repair is permanent and ultimate and accomplished.  The second theme is that now, Christ has created a worshiping community, the church, that is made up of all kinds of people, not just Jews, but all races.

And the wonderful thing is that this letter is written to this church out of affection and care.  Paul is not writing it out of a need for rebuke against a specific sinful teaching or against some incorrect belief or doctrine.  That’s rare these days but would have been even more rare in Ephesus.  Ephesus was a city full of heresy and even occult practices, but this church seemed to be free of those things for the most part.

So Paul is going to get started here reminding the Ephesians of how their relationship with God began, and then he wants to build on that understanding.   On that point, I think Evident Grace can relate.   For the past year, we have attempted to build a foundation of the gospel at Evident Grace, and now, I hope we can build on it.

In 2014, Evident Grace is going to continue to build on the foundation of the gospel.  We are going to build on the gospel in our worship services.  And I hope that through our Evident Grace groups, kafasoto and Bushiban groups, we can build on the gospel there as well.

So let’s look at the foundational teaching that Paul explains and pray that God will remind us of those things as we study the book of Ephesians.  And the first foundational gospel teaching that Paul gives us is the wonderful truth that God adopts us out of sin to be His child, and He does those things for His glory.  So with that in mind, it is going to be no surprise that we hope to pursue this Big Idea:  Our security is that God has adopted us for His glory by His will.

Having said that, please join us this Sunday.  We meet at 10:30am at the comedy club above Liberty Lanes.  You can find directions here.  Please come as you are, and we look forward to meeting you.

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January 4, 2014 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , ,

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