Hello and welcome to Thursday’s Foundation Podcast. Today’s passage is Ephesians 3:8-13. We are going to focus on verses 10 -11:
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.
Each day this week we’ve been considering how and why we have hope in Jesus. Monday – We looked at how Jesus has made a way for us to know God. Tuesday –how he welcomes us home, into his church. Yesterday – that God has a plan for each of our lives. Today we reflect on how we don’t run that race alone; we do so in community. And that it’s through these communities of hope that God is choosing to reveal himself to those who don’t yet know him.
What we read in today’s passage should be a huge encouragement to us! God reveals his wisdom, his plan for salvation and the redemption of this world through us, the church. We are his plan! A plan which we read today that is of interest of the angels, the ‘rulers and authorities of the heavenly realms’ so that they might give God his true glory. Wow!
What does all this mean for us today and the church communities we are a part of?
Firstly this passage is clear. There’s something very special about the church community and about being a part of it. I really like this idea that the church is talked about heaven. The angels are praising God for what’s he doing here on earth through us. It’s big news. It’s exciting! And to me, that’s what being part of the church should be …exciting! Because it’s as part of the church that we discover the better life that Jesus has for us and we 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. It was the place I came to faith aged 25 on an Alpha course. It’s a place where my relationship with God has been completely transformed. A place where God is continually shaping and moulding me– as a husband, father, as a youth leader. But not only that, it’s a place where as a collective people 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!
So, let’s take the time to give thanks for our church community here. If you’re part of another one, give thanks for that one too! Not only that, let’s actively look to support our church today. Let’s commit to being at our midweek community – these are the people who are helping us live more like Jesus. Let’s carve out the space and time to be there. And let’s be a people who support and encourage our leaders’ right across the church. God has carefully placed them in that role for a reason and our job is to love, to serve and bless them.
Secondly, let’s be encouraged today. We can have hope for our church. The established church in our nation often gets a bad rep and let’s be honest – there are clear challenges which it faces that need to be addressed. But when we look at this passage it’s like Paul’s rallying cry to the church.
God’s plan for us is that we tell a different story. Our lives as a collective are the shop windows through which others glimpse God and this richer, fuller 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 better life Jesus offers us – one of simplicity, purity, forgiveness and love expressed through our sacrificial acts for others goes totally against the culture of the world around us. And yet it’s a life which is so deeply satisfying and for many around us, even though they may not articulate it, it’s actually an incredibly attractive way to live also. After all, it’s the life we were made for.
God is saying through this passage today that it’s the church that shows people that there is a better way to live! The Jesus life is attractive; it’s the life we were destined for. If we continue to support and encourage each other in our communities to live that out, we can expect that others will take notice and that they will want to come and to experience something of that for themselves.
God is making his plan for this world known and he’s doing it through the church. Let’s have hope in that this day.
God, thank you for the church we are each a part of. We pray for those around us in our small groups, in our clusters– 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 better life that Jesus has for us and that as we do so we would have an impact in the places you have put us. Amen.
BIBLE 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.