12 January 2018

Hello and welcome to Friday’s Foundation Podcast. Thank for joining us again this week. It’s great to be part of a community of people seeking to build Godly foundations into their everyday lives.

Next week, my colleague, Tom, will continue to explore Paul’s letter to the Ephesians starting with that famous prayer for them which we read at the end of Chapter Three. Do join us next week for that.

REFLECTION

Today’s passage is Ephesians 3:8-13. Let me read verses 10 -11 for us now:

His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.

We started the week by hearing again that Jesus is the plan for our lives. Ephesians 2 v10. That we are his handiwork. That Jesus is the one who connects us with our Father in heaven, our creator, the one who has this life of purpose and meaning for us. And now we end the week by reading that we as a collective, the church of God, are the way in which God has chosen to reveal this plan to the world, to those around us.

God reveals his wisdom through the church. Paul writes here that it is through the church that God makes known his plan for salvation and the redemption of the world. It’s a plan which we read today that is of interest to the angels, the ‘rulers and authorities of the heavenly realms’ so that they might give God his true glory. Wow! That sounds incredibly grand doesn’t it? And, if I’m honest, hard to wrap my head around!

So I’m asking: what does this means for us practically today? This passage is clear. There’s something very special about the church and about being part of it. God is seeking to do something remarkable through it. He’s seeking to draw others to Him. To restore and redeem broken lives. The church reveals God’s grand plan for this world we live in.

I really like this idea that the church is talked about in heaven. The angels are praising God for what’s he doing here on earth. It’s big news. It’s exciting! And to me, that’s what being part of the global church is …it’s exciting! Why? Because it’s as part of the church that we discover the life Jesus has for us and are encouraged to seek more of that every day, not just for ourselves but for others.

I count myself incredibly fortunate to be part of the church here at STC. A place where my relationship with God has been completely transformed. A place where God is impacting who I am at every level – as a husband, father, as a youth leader. But not only that, it’s a place where we as a collective are constantly seeking to see God’s kingdom grow. It’s a church that has pioneered incredible work with children, teenagers and students. It’s a church which has sought to impact our local community, our workplaces and our city. It’s a church that doesn’t stay still. It’s always seeking more!

That’s what the church should offer – the life of more. Our lives as a collective are the shop windows through which others glimpse God and this life he has for us.

There’s something in that word from verse 10 about wisdom for us today. In other letters of the Bible, Paul writes about the Jesus life, God’s plan for us and how it makes the foolish things of this world wise. The Jesus life – a life of simplicity, purity and accountability – is what we so desperately need. It’s a way of life that is so deeply satisfying. And for many around us, it’s an incredibly attractive way of life. Yet so many people find themselves living a life in the opposite spirit to that. Living a life in the spirit of the age. The spirit of entitlement. And it’s not good for us.

God is saying through this passage today that it’s the church that shows people that there is a life of more! That life of true satisfaction. My experience at STC is that I’m around people who are constantly seeking more God and wanting to live that life he has for them. And not just to go and live that life in a vacuum somewhere but to live that life out in the world. To live that life of faith out in our households, in our schools, our universities, our workplaces, in our friendship groups, our sports team, down the pub at the weekend. And do you know what? If we do that, we should expect others to notice that, to want to know more about why. “Why do you live like that?”

The Jesus life is attractive. If we’re really living it out, we can expect that others will take notice. God is making his plan for this world known and he’s doing it through the church.

PRAYER

Today, God, we give thanks for the church we are each a part of. We pray for those around us in our small groups, in our clusters, in our communities – we pray that you would bless them this day. We pray that as a family of believers we would encourage and support one another to live the Jesus life. And let’s pray that as we live this life we see others taking notice. God, that we would take those opportunities you give us to share, with others who don’t know you, why we live this way. Spur your church on this day God we pray! Amen.

READING:EPHESIANS 3:8-13

Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.