Sun 4th January 2015
Ephesians 1:3-14New King James Version (NKJV)
Redemption in Christ
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.
7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, 9 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. 11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.
13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
Sermon Summary - Adam Thomas
I used to be quite vain when I was younger, always carrying a comb around in my pocket. I remember one of my friends mums telling me when she caught me stopping to comb my hair ”You think your Gods gift”.
Christmas gifts and what they really mean. Did you get what you wanted, are they going to be gifts you will be giving on at the next table top fair?
This time is all about the gifts.
Speaking to you is a gift - although my children believe that:
You got the job on a technicality etc.
Epiphany means coming to understand that God gave himself to the world, as the time of 3 wise men giving gifts to Jesus- but it's the time when we fully celebrate God giving the gift of Jesus to the world, the whole world. Jesus is the Messiah, fulfilment of the prophets for the Jews,but the Epiphany, which the wise men represent, is the realisation that Jesus came for all, Jews and Gentiles.
Ephesians is Paul's gift to us. He is usually writing letters to churches to tell them off or put them straight. He's like the area Dean!
But Ephesians is Paul having time to write to his Churches in Southern Turkey to tell them of what his faith has inspired him to understand about God.
In this passage he writes about the gifts that God has given.
Every spiritual blessing
We are His children in love through Jesus
His grace freely given
Redemption and forgiveness of sins
Know the will of God to unite all things
Word of truth, Gospel, belief, Holy Spirit - guarantee of Gods Kingdom, Heaven until we have it.
Belief- faith that most elusive and fragile of gifts. At our baptism we are told that faith is like a candle flame. Needing nurture and care but capable of illuminating even the darkest of hours. Your faith, that allows you to say, when people enquirer of you, Yes I believe in God, yes I believe in Jesus. Sometimes A sense, a feeling, sometimes a burning sensation of belief more than you believe in anything else.
Paul and John are the Churches greatest two theologians. We have John 1 several times in the last 3 weeks.
The gift of the Word becoming flesh. God becoming one of us. And with that:
power to become children of God
Born of God
Gods glory on Earth
Grace upon grace
Grace and truth
That candle flame of faith needs care to grow. To light other flames, to burn brightly to be seen. The gifts that God has given demand a reply.
Infertility treatment, Mr Falconer, gamete intra fallopian transfer GIFT. Gift of children demand a response and so does the gift of faith.
Thank you for responding with your generosity in financial giving. Supporting this Parish and it's attempt to nurture and grow those flames of faith. In the words of Andy Tate: You give , you give, you give.
I want to end today by singing a hymn whose words sum up what I've been trying to say.
a song by Tom McGuinness
I have know you on the balance of the slowly moving stars, and I think I glimpsed you sometimes as the bitter night has passed.