March 13, 2016
1. THE BIG IDEA
2. THE SERMON
Dr. Mark Scott, our Interim Preaching Minister, reminds us that God's plan reveals our purpose from Ephesians 3:1-13. You can watch it here.
3. THE SCRIPTURE
For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles— assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him. So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory.
4. THE SET LIST
5. THE QUESTIONS
Use these questions to further explore the theme of the sermon (these are great to use with your friends, family, or small group!).
QUESTION 1: PRAY
Paul admits to being a prisoner (Ephesians 3:1; 4:1). He was literally– as well figuratively–a prisoner--for the Lord. God cares about prisoners (Matthew 25:36; Luke 4:18; Hebrews 13:3). There are Christians in the world today who are in prison because of their faith in Jesus and witness for him. Others are in a prison of their own sin. Pray for prisoners—those in prison for their faith and for those in prison due to sin.
QUESTION 2: SPEAK
Paul said that grace was given to him to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ (Ephesians 3:8). Preaching is not only formal and in a worship service. Preaching can be informal “speaking” to someone the message of the king (see Tim Keller’s new book, Preaching). Do you have any “Gentiles” on your street? We are two weeks away from Easter. Can you determine to speak to one person before Easter about Jesus--even if it is just an invitation to Easter services?
QUESTION 3: GROW
Paul used his spiritual gifts to fulfill his ministry (Ephesians 3:7). Have you ever taken a spiritual gifts assessment? You could try uniquelyyou.com. This is a spiritual gifts test combined with a personality profile. What did you learn about yourself?
QUESTION 4: LOVE
One of the greatest passages on love is just beyond our text today (Ephesians 3:17-19). Just for fun (and this may not be exactly what Paul meant) take the dimensions of love mentioned in the passage and attach meaning to the dimensions of love (e.g. God’s love is wide enough to encompass the most vile person; it’s high enough to get us to heaven).
6. THE INVITATION CHALLENGE
Easter Sunday is a great opportunity to invite those people you’ve been praying for, speaking to about Jesus, helping grow in their faith, and loving like Jesus did. Consider this a final challenge in the 8 Week Challenge that we've been doing!
7. THE TRANSITION UPDATE
Dave DeSoinier, one of our Elders, gives us the latest update in our search for the next Lead Minister. Watch it here.