Do you have a favourite book of the Bible? I have several, but one of the ones I find myself returning to again and again, is Paul’s letter to the Church in Ephesus. This is the book which we are currently studying in our services at St Andrew’s, which you can follow on our web-site or better still, come to hear in person. We shall study Ephesians either side of the school summer holidays (during which we will focus on some parables in Matthew’s gospel).
Ephesians is, unusually, a letter written by Paul not in response to a particular problem or request from one of his newly established churches but instead is a treatise about Paul’s beliefs (inspired by the Holy Spirit) about the Church of God.
In popular culture today, the church is a building, a physical place of worship. However, this is not how God imagines His Church. In the first section of Ephesians (chapters 1-3), Paul points out that the Church is us: living, fallible followers of Jesus Christ who, by God’s unmerited grace are being transformed to become his body, with Christ at the head.
As members of Christ’s body, the Church, Paul calls the Ephesian Christians (in chapters 4-6) to live lives which are attractive and distinctively different from the prevailing culture, characterised by unity, love and servant-heartedness. In other words, they are called to follow the pattern of Christ, which is only possible by the work of the Holy Spirit living within them. This is still God’s call to his church here in Oxshott (as elsewhere) in 2017.
Finally, Paul reminds his listeners that their opposition comes not from earthly forces but the ‘cosmic powers of this present darkness’ (Eph. 6.12). The only preparation possible for this battle is to be ‘strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power’ (Eph 6.10). As we witness the troubles of the world around us in the twenty-first century, I believe we need Paul’s teaching just as much as the first century Christians of the city of Ephesus did.
So please make it a priority to come to hear the teaching on Ephesians each week or at least to listen to the sermon series from the podcasts. Please also pray for those of us who are preaching in this thrilling and demanding series (details on the web-site and on the notice-sheet).