Today we’ve finally reached the end of Ephesians! Some of you might be rejoicing at that news, others might be lamenting. I for one am a little sad. Paul’s taken us on an incredible journey, starting at the cosmic level with the eternal plan of God who chose us before the foundation of the world. He’s shown us what it means to the church, holy and united in Christ. And he’s given us guidance on how to conduct our most intimate of relationships. As he finishes his letter though, Paul wants us to know that living as God’s people isn’t going to be easy. Why not? Because we’re going to face stiff opposition. And it’s not so much the opposition we’ll face from within ourselves or from the world around us that he warns us against, ‘but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.’ Continue reading “Ephesians 6:10-24 – Be Strong in the Lord”→
There are some sections of the Bible that would be better of sealed. If you thought last week’s passage, with its mention of sex, drugs and rock’n’roll was one of those, perhaps you should read, or re-read Song of Songs. Today’s passage should likewise come with a warning! Not because it’s too racy or explicit, but because it deals with topics that if misunderstood have the potential to cause widespread damage. As we’ve worked through Ephesians, we’ve seen that Paul’s concerned that the Church be united and pure, not just for our own sake, but so that we can be light and witnesses for Christ. In today’s passage Paul shows what that means for our most intimate relationships. So if we get this wrong, not only will our family lives be messed up, so too will our witness to the world. Continue reading “Ephesians 5:21-6:9 A New Way of Relating”→
This is a scene from a pivotal movie in my childhood. It’s an image that’s stuck with me since then. I’ve got a prize here for anyone who can manage to name what movie it comes from. It’s from Return of the Jedi, the third and final installment of the original Star Wars movies. I love this image where the hero, Luke’s face perfectly divided between light and shadow, because it perfectly captures the struggle that he’s going through at this point in the film. Will he turn to the Dark Side or will he stick with the Light? It reflects in a way a decision that we all have to make in our lives. How will we live? Will we walk in light or darkness? Continue reading “Ephesians 5:1-20 Darkness to Light”→
One of the biggest questions we ever face in life is, ‘What am I going to wear?’ It might be a question you’ve never had to think about, but most of us face it every day. On ordinary days it’s bad enough, but it’s made worse when we have to dress for a special event, like wedding or a funeral, or a party. Getting it wrong can be embarrassing, or worse. A few years ago Sarah and I went to a friend’s wedding, were the invitation said ‘More Smart than Casual.’ What do you wear for that? What is more smart than casual? Well, when we turned up, it was obvious that I’d gone too smart and not casual enough! I think I was even better dressed than the groom! So quickly my jacket came off, then my tie, then my sleeves were rolled up, until I was more appropriately dressed!
In the passage we’re looking at today, Paul gives us some fashion advice. He’s concerned that we dress the right way. But as we’ll see he’s not so much thinking about our material clothing, but how we clothe ourselves in our words and deeds, in our thoughts and actions. Continue reading “Ephesians 4:17-5:2 – New Clothes!”→
Over the past few weeks, at all three parishes we’ve been looking at God’s eternal plan, which was a mystery but has now been revealed. We now know his plan is to create a single new humanity in and under Christ. To that end God has dealt with all that separated us from him. He’s forgiven our sins and raised us to new life in Christ. God’s also broken down the wall of hostility that existed between people, so that we might become one. Having laid this foundation, in the next three chapters Paul goes on to show what all this means for our lives. Over the coming weeks we’ll be thinking about what it means to be a united, holy people. Continue reading “Ephesians 4:1-16 – Unity and Diversity in the Church”→
After the start of this week, I needed some down time and so I rediscovered the joy of the crime novel. There’s something gratifying in sitting down to read, or watch, a good mystery, deciphering the clues and solving the puzzle. If like me, you love a good mystery then Ephesians 3 is for you. Paul delves into the mystery of Christ, the mystery of God’s plan for the universe. However, if you can’t stand a mystery, that’s OK. Paul reveals what the mystery is, he doesn’t keep us in the dark. Continue reading “Ephesians 3:1-21 – God’s Great Mystery Revealed!”→
We’ve only been here in Echuca for a bit over a month, but you might’ve heard me say that I already feel at home. But I know we’re a long way from being considered locals! Last week I was talking to someone that’s lived here for 13 years. She said when she first arrived she was told you have to live here for twenty years to earn the title of local. But now, as she draws closer to the mark people say that actually, you’ve got to be born here to really be a local! This division between a true local and just someone who’s lived here for a while, means there’s not much hope for Sarah and I, although one of our boys will get to earn that right! Continue reading “Ephesians 2:11-22 – A Single New Humanity”→