The Gospel vs Anger – Ephesians 4:17-32 – Sermon Notes

We are made to show what God is like but we’re also ruined. Little decisions will be filled with possibilities to do brilliant things. The reason you’re doing those things is because you’re greedy. Even the good things are badly motivated. In our choices, you are loved. We’ve all been forgiven even for the bad stuff we’re going to do. God brought us near through Jesus, no matter how far away we were. The image of God we were made to reflect can only be done by a church community.

It is this gospel of God’s free, guaranteed kindness that will change your life. The same message that God forgives you in Christ will change you and rebuild you.

Confront the brutal facts

Maybe you never scream or shout but maybe you cruelly or sarcastically bring others down. That’s a way of being angry without yelling. Instead of speaking the truth in love, you can speak in untruth about them. We think it’s normal. Planning evil isn’t beyond us. Malice is a way of being angry. It means God can’t rebuild us together.

Why are you angry?

Anger will draw you into sin in a way it didn’t for Jesus. There is a way of dealing with people who wrong you that doesn’t involve anger. It’s a heart problem. Our hearts are deeply committed to things that aren’t true. You need to change your heart.

Escaping anger

When you’re a Christian you are never far from God. The way God feels and acts towards you in that sin is kindness. God welcomes you in Jesus. God feels deep compassion for you. Have you made that your own? If it’s you versus anger, you’ll always fail.

Being rebuilt

Jesus’ death is offering us forgiveness in God. As a forgiven person you can say that the wrong done against you was really wrong, but Jesus died for it. You can be free from the malice and bitterness.

Get Ready for the Fight – Ephesians 6:10-24 – Sermon Notes

Paul talks about the enemy we’re fighting.

Be alert because the enemy we face is brutal (v10-12)

We can inadvertently be doing the work of this supernatural being. He finishes the letter with a warning. Christian, you are being hunted. The talk of the devil seems strange in this day and age. In the last census more people acknowledged the supernatural exists. The Bible is clear that Satan can’t win. Paul describes the devil’s tactics as scheming.

The schemes of the devil are designed to undermine that the promises of the gospel are true and that they apply to you. Anything that leads you to believe the lie that God doesn’t care about you. Any undermining falls right into their hands and into the delight of Satan. Anything that contributes to you losing your faith is dangerously serious. It needs to be something you need to be alert to. If you’re a Christian you’re in the fight of your life.

Be confident. God’s armour is sufficient (v13-17)

Paul’s heart in this passage is to tell us we are well equipped. He lists six pieces of kit. The emphasis is on the full armour of God. Every piece is worn together to stop you losing the most precious thing you have which is your faith in Jesus. We run the risk of losing the power of this illustration. This isn’t about glorifying war. Paul is saying there’s a huge difference. The phrase to put on the armour of God is passive. God’s armour is placed upon you the moment you put your trust in Jesus. You are more than equipped to stand up to the enemy of the devil. Paul wants you to be encouraged. When Satan sees you he is intimidated by you. One of his main ways of spiritual attack is telling you lies.

Your place in heaven is guaranteed by Jesus’ death and resurrection and has nothing to do with how you feel. It was never dependent on you in the first place. Remember your breastplate of righteousness. When God the Father sees you he sees the righteousness of Christ. Your spiritual account has been infinitely credited by God’s righteousness. You didn’t earn it but you certainly share in it.

Be alert and step out for Christ (v21-24)

Paul borrows this image of the armour of God from Isaiah 59. It’s not just to keep you. It’s to encourage you to move out, to make a difference. Prayer fuelled evangelism. Nothing is too small. Our God specialises in backs to the wall situations. We recognise our dependence on him and we recognise that by prayer. Our prayer should be asking God to help us use this opportunity. Paul’s in prison and has a Christian brother with him. He sends him away to the Ephesians to let them know how Paul is and to encourage them. Paul has taught that the more we love and encourage in the gospel the more we’ll sacrifice for others. A church that’s fighting well is a church that goes out of their way to sacrificially help others. We’re being fuelled by the gospel. A church that prioritises encouragement.

Paul concludes his letter with a father’s heart. You can tell that God takes your fears if you’re feeling overwhelmed. He clothes you with his armour. It’s been road tested and it works. The promise isn’t that you won’t get hurt but it guarantees that the power to impact this city with Christ won’t be taken from you.

If you are in Christ you are more than equipped for the fight ahead.

Considering Ministry – Ephesians 4:1-16 – Sermon Notes

Ministry is service. It’s about living out who we are in Christ as Christians.

The glory of being gathered together in Christ

We’re all servants. We serve ourselves. That’s our natural position. The church is a new humanity formed by the gospel of Jesus. It’s also gathered to proclaim the gospel. There are evangelists and pastors. We’re gathered to demonstrate the gospel in who we are. God’s got a great purpose through the church to show off the gospel.

The goal of growing together in Christ

The whole body grows. The goal is to become more like Christ and to grow in knowledge of him in unity. We’re being built up. A building site. We’ve got to grow up (baby). Every church is a work in progress. Growth is a community project.

The gift of serving together in Christ

Every church is gifted (v7). Jesus has won the victory and has ascended. He gives gifts that the church needs. Every Christian has gifts that we are to use. Each part does its work. We’re all part of it. It won’t feel ideal in any way. We have to love each other and extend the grace God has given to us. Some Christians have particular word gifts they are to use to serve others. These gifts are important for the healthy functioning of every other gift.

God’s Perfect Kingdom – Genesis, Revelation & Ephesians

Genesis 1:1-31; Revelation 21:1-4, 21:22-22:5; Ephesians 1:3-14 (Bible Study Notes)

These are notes from the first study in a Bible overview series.

We’ll be looking at passages from three different books. They set the scene for the series and give a glimpse into the big picture. Hopefully if we keep them in mind, they’ll help us to understand the other passages throughout the rest of the series.

Read Genesis 1:1-31 (split to v19).

1. What do you notice about the use of repetition?

Lots of phrases are repeated. “And God said,” “And it was so,” “And God saw that it was good.”

2. What’s significant about the structure of how God created the world?

Three days creating places, three days filling them.

3. What do we learn about God from this passage?

God is in complete control. No randomness.

4. The first four words are crucial. “In the beginning God…” What are the implications for us as we study the rest of the Bible?

If we don’t believe these words, we can’t take the rest of the Bible seriously. We may as well go home and cancel the series.

Read Revelation 21:1-4 and 21:22-22:5.

We see the end of the world that we live in, and the start of a new perfect world.

5. Revelation is full of apocalyptic literature. What are some of the images used and what do they tell us about God?

Temple, light, Jerusalem. God will be with his people forever. The sea can represent the dangers of the fallen creation.

6. How should this passage make us respond?

Worship.

7. How does this hope increase our confidence in the good news of the gospel?

We have a hope beyond this broken world. A hope of eternal life in a place with no tears or pain or suffering.

Read Ephesians 1:3-14.

Paul is writing to the Ephesians Christians and he talks a lot about the unity that the gospel brings.

8. What does this passage tell us about God’s plan?

He brings people to know him through the gospel.

9. From this passage, what is Jesus’ role in God’s plan?

We have adoption to sonship through him. All things are united under him.

10. As Christians, what do we gain?

Redemption, forgiveness, an inheritance, knowledge, unity.

11. The Holy Spirit is mentioned briefly (v13). Why did Paul explicitly include this detail?

Enforcing the idea of the Trinity. Highlighting that He lives in us and guarantees our inheritance.

12. In light of the passages from Genesis and Revelation, how does this passage encourage us?

We don’t need to fear messing up the new creation. We can have complete confidence in Jesus’ blood.

Let’s remember God’s great plan for the world to bring people to Him through Jesus. Just as God made a perfect world in the beginning, we have the hope of a new world where we’ll live with Him forever.

Pray.

Being God’s House – Ephesians 2:11-22 – Sermon Notes

This is our chance (v19-22). We need to reflect God to the nations and be a place where God’s Spirit dwells. As we gather together, God’s Spirit moves in. This is too serious to mess up.

What could ruin it:

Cats: they think that they must be God as they’re fed and looked after etc (v11-13)

We think we have a right to it, ‘why wouldn’t God love me?’. This isn’t how God deals with it. He is never measuring us in worthiness to our kindness. We have no rights to enforce against God and therefore no rights to enforce against other Christians. God’s love remains a gift and we’re Christians by God’s kindness. Paul is underlining that this is not a right, it is a privilege. Remembering this will help us to do the good works God has prepared for us to do.

At one time we were separate. We forget to be astounded that we are included. The real question is why on earth should we be included? We were far, without God and without hope. We are bought near in Christ. How much does God accept Jesus? As much as he accepts us. We are in Christ to be close to God as Jesus is.

Oil paintings: ‘I must be good’ (v14-18)

Paul is saying that Jesus has broken the barrier of the law. Oil paintings refer to anyone who thinks they are good because of their good stuff. Over time, we might think that God is very pleased with us. We might judge other people and think they should be better. There is a danger of being an oil painting if we there is something in the Christian life that we are enthusiastic about. Paul says that Jesus reconciles us through the cross and so there’s nothing to compete over. Wherever we are from, we are at peace with Jesus and that’s final.

God can build this place in our church as we all have access to God through one Spirit.

Three applications:

  • It’s grace then grace, not grace then works. Thinking of the Christian life as predominantly doing good stuff will ruin it.
  • One for you more than me. Remember we were once far away so don’t forget the privilege we have.
  • One for me more than you. We should pray for the Spirit so that we don’t become sorted people but remember the privilege.

Praying for Spiritual Power – Ephesians 3:14-21 – Sermon Notes

We can’t and must not avoid praying for spiritual power. We must all long for it in our lives. Paul isn’t just setting a prayer for us to copy but he’s showing us why we should pray in this way.

We are united by the blood of Jesus

Paul talked about his role as an apostle taking the gospel to people. The reason he prays is found in the first two chapters. Anyone can be one of God’s people. We are being built.

We pray to God our Father

We should always remember how great the God is that we speak to. He calls us his children. It’s out of his glorious riches that he will answer.

Strengthened with power through God the Holy Spirit

It’s strong enough to give us confidence and assurance. The first place we should look for spiritual power is in our inner being. The Holy Spirit transforms us and works more in our inner beings than through external signs. We pray for spiritual power so that Christ would live in our hearts and so that we would know his love.

Paul prays that people would grasp Christ’s love for us. A love that surpasses knowledge and that somehow we can begin to know it through the Holy Spirit. Jesus’ great act of rescue was all to bring glory to the Father. God deserves all the glory in all situations.

What Love Means – Ephesians 1:3-14 – Sermon Notes

Why has God put these words in this book?

Bless God in his holiness

His words are here to protect us from pride. Paul is saying that we made the choice because God chose us first. If you think God chooses you because of anything about you, you’ll become proud. How could we have been when we were chosen before the world existed? Paul says you can’t make yourself a Christian.

His words are water for us to swim in, not water for us to take samples from. These words are to be rejoiced in. Paul taught it to show love.

Bless God who redeemed us through Christ’s blood

Paul’s purpose is to celebrate the fact that we are forgiven, not to go into details of doctrine. The atonement is about the riches of God’s grace. There is a danger that we can think of grace as a thing in itself. We obtain an undeserved relationship with a gracious God. Grace is part of God’s character, it isn’t a thing. God worked from all eternity so that Jesus will be king forever. His plan is to bring everything in the universe together under Christ’s glory.

Bless God who has adopted us for his inheritance

Paul is saying that because of Christ, we have been written into his will. Everything that he has will belong to us one day. We have become God’s inheritance.

Bless God who has filled us with the Holy Spirit

In the future, righteousness and glory will prevail but not now. We need to remember that God wins. It’s hard to live for the future when there is so much trouble in the present. The Holy Spirit is a guarantee and a beginning of the inheritance. We are sealed with the Spirit of promise whether we feel it or not.

Bless God who loves us so that he will be praised

This is what we were made for. If we are creatures and have been made lovingly by our creator to praise God, there is nothing better than to do what we were made for. At infinite cost to himself, love meant bringing us to him.

What have we got to thank God for? Every spiritual blessing, because he loves us.

Praying to the Sovereign God – Ephesians 1:3-23 – Sermon Notes

Believing in God’s sovereignty is essential to prayer. From Paul’s prayer in this chapter we learn three things that we will do if we believe in the sovereign God of the Bible.

Praise God for how Christians live

Paul believes it is God that brought the Ephesians to this point. God should be praised. If we have Paul’s view of God’s sovereignty our first response when things happen will be to praise God for them. We should also express gratitude to people. We should praise God for the good things we see in those around us and let them know we are thanking God for them.

Ask God to change how people live

Paul’s prayer is that God would give the spirit of wisdom and revelation so that they might know God better. This is the holy spirit. Throughout the Bible, God’s people are constantly asking him for things that he has said he is going to do. It should be our priority to pray that the things God has promised to his people would happen in their lives. Paul prays that they would know the hope to which God has called them. We are his rich inheritance. Praying in awareness of God’s sovereignty shows us how much we need to pray and it changes our understanding of what it matters to pray for.

Always remember that God makes people live

God made Jesus king of the universe for all eternity. The power that did that, resurrection power is available to us who believe. God’s immense power is exercised by Christ for the church, for us, his people.

Do you want to see your prayer for the people answered? Then pray in line with God’s promises. When we understand the wonder of God’s rule rightly it will, instead, bring us to bow in awe and thanksgiving. It will bring us to pray in complete confidence for the blessings God has promised. And it will lead us to remember that God makes people live and exercises his rule for our good.

United: Body – Ephesians 2:18-22 – Sermon Notes

Part of God’s construction project

We’re part of God’s household and we’re a building. This is built on the apostles and prophets. Jesus is the cornerstone. We’re all bricks of this building. We don’t lose our distinctiveness but the holy spirit changes us from thinking about ourselves. We are united together to Jesus and individuals in communion.

What is God’s grand design? His holy temple. The prophets longed for the day when the holy temple would be established. In Christ, that is a heavenly reality for us. This is going to be revealed one day. We look forward to the day of seeing God face to face.

In Christ, we are being built. God is changing us into the place he wants to live. He dwells in us by his spirit. We’re under construction. God is on sight but we’re being built.

Part of Christ’s growing body (Ephesians 4)

God wants us to serve each other so the body of Christ will be built up. The body of Christ is an image to help us get the fact that we are closely connected to him. Jesus has broken down the walls of hostility. Paul wants us to reach unity in the faith. Paul’s aim is that as a body together, we will become like Jesus. We want to say things that will build people up.

We should live lives of peace and praise as we are united to each other and to God.

One Worldwide Church – Ephesians 3:1-13 – Sermon Notes

The church is presented at best as eccentric and at worst sinister. Gentiles get to be part of God’s people.

We believe in one church and that means…

You’re not a Lone Ranger

Harmony amongst humans is the dream of almost every charity and is the longing of every human heart on a good day. It can only be achieved by the gospel. There is no class system. You are either part of the body of Christ or you are not. CCL is no home for the Lone Ranger. You fill your plate with what works for you. The oneness of the church is like a family holiday.

You’re a walking signpost

When Paul joyfully declares that Gentiles are members of the same body, we’re joined to Christ himself. The image of marriage between Christ and the church is brilliant news. Your holiness is a gift to every believer who wishes to see what God is like.

You’re not an only child

The gospel is for all believers. When you become a Christian you become part of a very big family. You have a global family shaped by Christ.

We’re dangerously committed

It’s really hard to choose a church that you trust. Commitment almost always means vulnerability. You will never experience the privilege of what it means to be an heir of God’s blessing unless you commit. You get to taste in a small way part of heaven. Every time you get to serve, you get a taste of heaven. If you stay in the darkness in the shadows, you’ll always feel like a visitor. We’re striving to be a church shaped by God’s word.