Search
  • Pastor Jacob Marchitell

Ephesians 1:15 & 16

From February 28th 2021

Next Sunday is the first Sunday of the month, which means that we here at Christ Community will be taking Communion together.

Because of Covid, we have been asking that you bring your own Bread and Wine


I will be sending out a reminder during the week to help us not forget, but if you aren't on our Remind text message system, just let me know if you want to be added.


Because this is the last Sunday of the Month, the older kids Sunday School class will be staying up, while the younger kids go out for snacks and games.


If you missed our Digital Bible Study last week, you can find the recording of it on our Facebook page, where we also livestream all of our Sermons.

There are only 2 Digital Bible Studies left,

March 9th

And march 23rd


At the end of the Sermon today, Ill be inviting you all to stand with me and sing the words of the Doxology to close our Service.


Last announcement:

We will be resuming our free meal give away once the cold weather breaks, and ill make sure to keep everyone updated about that


And the kids are dismissed


----------


We have been working our way through the first Chapter of Ephesians, and there is some weighty and heavy stuff going on there in the first dozen Verses. Today we’ll be looking at veres 15-16, which brings us a little bit of a break from the deep theology, through to the end of the Chapter, but then we’ll get back into it in Chapter 2


Which is good.

God wrote the Bible, not humans, so we can trust that what is there, is what HE wants us to read and study and learn.


Turn with me if you will to:


Ephesians 1:15–16

[15] For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, [16] I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers


( → → Opening Prayer ← ← )


The past few weeks, we have been talking about the blessings that all believers receive.

Predestination

Adoption

Forgiveness

Redemption

And the reality that we cannot lose our Salvation


These first few verses of Ephesians 1 are some lofty, deep, profound truths.

They are truths that humans can’t possible fully grasp

They leave us asking questions

They can be abrasive to our human minds and our human pride

And thats a good thing


Its good to wonder----

Its good to not fully rest on your own understanding----


It is good to admit that we trust what is written in Scripture, while simultaneously admitting that there is more that our human minds can’t understand.


That is how we grow

That is how we learn


We can be content in our own level of understanding------ while simultaneously wanting to grow in our understanding.


Be content ----- and want more.


----------


Starting in verse 3, Paul dives head first into the deep end, and swims straight for the bottom. He goes deep. And he gets there fast.

Just 4 verses in and he goes for the jugular of human pride by telling us that we were predestined.


Then in these few verses through to the end of Chapter 1 ----- he comes up for air---

He backs off of all that deep stuff----


And then in Chapter 2 he starts to dive again.


So if the past few weeks have been a bit deep, a bit hard to wrap our mind around, thats ok.

That’s what Scripture says, so that’s what we say.


So in our verses today, we’ll take a breath from all that deep stuff ------ because the Bible takes a break from all that deep stuff ----- and were going to look at what is being said.


----------


Here in verses 15-16 Paul is introducing us to a prayer that he is praying for the Ephesian Church, and as we discussed a number of weeks ago, there’s a possibility that this letter was distributed to a number of Churches in the area.


We can learn about what it means to be a Church, by reading through Ephesians, and when we do, we see the prayer that Paul offers up to God starting in verse 17.


So next week, and the weeks after, we’ll get into all the topics and points of prayer that he lists, ------ looking at the them one Sunday at a time -------


but today, we’ll look at WHY he is praying to begin with.


Let’s read those verses again:


“[15] For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, [16] I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers,”


For this reason------


Some versions will say “therefore”

Paul is connecting the words that he is about to write, with the ones he just wrote.

When you see the word “therefore” ask ----- “what is it there for?” and look back at the words you just read.


Paul is saying that because of all the deep, heavy, profound, hard to wrap our brains around stuff that he literally just talked about in the previous verses ------- is the primary reason to give thanks to God for someone else-----


And is the reason why he knows they have faith in God and love towards other Christians


Because I have heard of your faith----

Because I have heard of your love----


The salvation that is from the Lord that he talked about in verses 3-13, makes him aware of the faith and love that his fellow Christians have.


------ and he is thankful for them and for their love for the saints.


Let me say that again in a slightly different way.


----------


Because of the salvation that comes from God, and all the blessings that are a result of Him saving people, Paul is aware of them having faith and aware of the love they have for other Christians.


Without God making the first move in someone’s life ----- they will not have faith

The primary reason that he is aware of the faith of his fellow Christians, is not how they do Christianity here on Earth -----

It is because of what Psalm 3:8 says when it says that Salvation is of the Lord.

God does the saving, so we can know that our fellow brothers and sisters ---- have faith


Not only is Paul aware of their faith because of God ------ but it also says that he is aware of the love they have for all the Saints

And as we talked about a few weeks ago ----- everyone who believes is a Saint


Paul is aware of the love they have for other Christians, because God made the first move in their life.


It’s like that, because without God moving first in our life, all of the love and attention and relation that we have towards other people, will be based on us and our feelings.


Ill get hurt ----- and then have 2 options.

I can hurt in retaliation, and push people away or


I can dig deep into my own ability and my own thinking and then ------ overcome it.

And the more that works, the more I’ll rely on myself ------ and use my past success as evidence that I can overcome the hurt from other Christians ------ until ----- the day ------- I can’t.


And then I’ll be stuck in anger and bitterness and will alienate someone for whom Christ died ------- for my own reasons.


But what Paul says here ------- and the reality of our lives, is that when God moves in someone’s life, when God saves someone------ they will have love towards other Christians.

1st John 4:19 says that we love because He first loved us.


So when we go through this life, and we feel hurt or attacked or upset by the actions of another Christian, we can look at these verses and say:


“I love you, and I know you love me --------- because I know that God loves you.”


Regardless of the hurt that you may or may not have done towards me, intentionally or otherwise…...God predestined you and redeemed you and forgave you and sealed you until He takes you into eternity ------ and because of THAT I know you have love for me.”


Not because you're nice and polite

Not because you do nice things for me

But because God moved in your life and dwells within your heart ----- I know that you love me


I don't all of a sudden think that you hate me, because you misspoke, or acted without thinking, or let your emotions take control or because you have a difference of opinion about something.


Or even if you acted with intentional forethought and did or said something that hurt me personally ------- still ------ I know that God loves you, and because of that you have love towards me.


And if you don't….you need to examine yourself and what you believe about God.


----------


You see, Christians have a bad habit and a bad reputation of taking everything that happens in the Church, as a specific attack against them.


We get upset when our favorite Worship song doesn't play

Or when the Worship style changes altogether


We get upset when someone sits in the spot we sit in

Anyone is welcome in my Church…..as long as they don't sit in my pew


We get upset when the preacher doesn't talk about the issues we want them to talk about

Or when he talks too much about the issues we don't want him to talk about


We use ourselves and our thinking as the standard for how the Church should operate, and when it doesn't…..we tend to forget that the people in the pews next to us, even the ones who may have brought us hurt ---- were all those things Paul just listed in the previous verses:


They are chosen by God ----

So we shouldnt reject them


They were Redeemed by God ----

So we should help them along their new path


They were Forgiven by God ----

We should forgive them as well


And they were irrevocably sealed until eternity, never to lose their salvation

So we should join them in rejoicing over the death and resurrection of our Lord


----------


[15] For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, [16] I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers


We need to be giving thanks to God for saving the other Christians in our life, and show them as much love as God has shown us


----------


Yes we are called to love everyone, not just Christians


Muslims // Atheists // Hindus // Jews

Black people // White people // Brown people

Fat people // Skinny people

Democrats // Republicans

Healthy people // Sick people

Gay people // Straight people


We are called to love and be patient and kind toward everyone we meet, regardless of who they are.


That doesn't mean we agree with any idolatry that they may say isn't or isn't a soul threatening disease that needs to be excised


But we love them

And again, if you can’t love an unbeliever, then you need to examine yourself and what you believe about God.


In fact 1 John 4:8

Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.


You see, this sort of “------love in the face of disagreement------” is totally contrary to the way the world operates.


When we as Christians ----- love those we disagree with even to the point of our own death, sometimes at the very hands of the people we are told to love ------- the reality of who God is shows through us


It stands in contrast to the kind of love that this broken world propagates as the end all be all of life.


Yes they tolerate ----- people they disagree with

They put up with ------ people with differing opinions ---- to a certain degree


But love?

Love THOSE people?

The people who go against everything I believe in?

Love my enemies?

Pray for the people who persecute me?

Are you crazy?


You want me to love THOSE people?

The people who pass laws that I say are immoral?

The people who act and live in ways that HURT the people I love?


You want me to LOVE them??


You're saying I should love racist, the homophobe, the bigot?


Well im not saying it ----- God is saying it. Take it up with Him.


----------


This is how the world views love--- along their own self defined lines


So when we move outside of that, and talk about the love a Christian has ------ it must stand outside of the fake superficial love that this world holds as its god; and we must show love to everyone, regardless of who they are.


It is opposite all human cultures and societies


It opposes the survival of the fittest -- fictitious -- evolutionary garbage that contorts true love


But how does the Christian do this?

How can we love our enemies?

How can we pray for those who persecute us?

How can we show love towards the rapist and the pedophile, the adulterer, the bigot, the homophobe and the racist?


How can we be selfless and caring and kind toward people that want to oppress our beliefs?


A quick answer, because we could very easily talk about what that means and looks like in action, and that is a very important topic that needs to be discussed ----- but our verses this morning are speaking about the “love toward all the saints”


So a quick answer:

The best way we can show love towards everyone, regardless of who they are or the actions they have taken in this life -------


--- is to love God more than anything else in your entire life, and let the overflow fall onto the people that God allows to stay in your life.


When you love God the most, you will love people the best you are able to.


----------


Now ----- the love a Christian has toward another Christian.

Love for all the Saints


----------


Not the love toward the person directly next to you in the pew of the same Church that you have been going to for dozens of years


Not the love toward the person in the same denomination as you are in, but you can exclude the catholics and the methodists and the orthodox and the baptists and the presbyterians


Not the love toward the person who you already get along with and have the same kind of interests who juuuuust so happens to be a Christian


He doesn't say any of that.


He says “your love toward all the saints.”


----------


You see, Paul is saying that he knows you have love towards all the saints, because of what Jesus has done in your life.


Meaning = if God saved you, then you will love other Christians. (X3)


Not only that, but that love you have towards other Christians, is used by unbelievers as evidence that you love God.


It goes both ways.


Loving other Christians is evidence that God loves you and is evidence that you love God.


In fact, when Jesus was talking to His disciples in John 13:34-35: He says this:

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”


All people will know that you are a disciple of Jesus Christ, by the way you love other Christians.


Not giving room or allowing for division amongst ourselves.

Not bickering and arguing

That doesn't mean we allow for false teaching and the confrontation that needs to happen whenever it arises

But intentionally causing strife and division based on our own feelings is the exact opposite of what the Bible teaches


Because that is all that the world is field with:

Division

Alliances


Differences that prevent people from truly and honestly joining in life with one another ----- until all that’s left is pleasantries and superficial talk about the weather or sports or pop culture


The more the people in this world rely on their own thinking and feeling for their meaning and definition


The more they create their own identity based on their likes and dislikes and opinions and feelings and emotions and thoughts and practices----


the more division they create


The world tells us that each of us are unique and special, but then divides and ridicules people who don't align with their beliefs


They create the categories-----

They fill the categories with everyone who they think fits----


And when someone refuses to accept the categorization of their way of living, they exclude them and push them away---

They mock and Attack them

They live their life in constant upheaval revolving around the otherness of who they themselves are compared to everyone else----


Until their entire personality is nothing but a response to people they disagree with.


This world breeds and thrives off of division---

Because the more divided we are, the easier we are to sway


Like lions circling a pack, they separate the weak from the strong,

from the protectors

From the ones who know their tricks


They target children and teenagers, aiming their disgusting and broken view of unity at the young and impressionable ----- prying them away from the ones who have gone through battles before and are wise to their attacks --------- some of which they themselves have fallen to before -------


For this is what the devil does----

It is how he operates---


He targets the weak

He targets the small

He targets those that have yet to learn--

And those that refuse to know better--


And he causes division


He divides----

He sows dissent --- and discord

In fact, sowing dissent among people is something listed in Proverbs 6:16-19 as something that God hates:


“There are six things that the Lord hates,

seven that are an abomination to him:

17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue,

and hands that shed innocent blood,

18 a heart that devises wicked plans,

feet that make haste to run to evil,

19 a false witness who breathes out lies,

and one who sows discord among brothers”


Sowing discord among brothers, is listed right alongside murder, let that sink in.


----------


We as Christians, are called to be different than that----


We are to stand out from the world---

Act different

Love different

Live different


How we go about our person to person relationships towards the Saints, is supposed to stand in stark difference to the way this world operates.


So when this world sees us loving each other with self sacrificial love ----- they will wonder about the God whose love changed us


----------

Because that is why we as a Church are here ----- to point people to Christ


To stand on His Word alone and not on human tradition

To love sacrificially

To proclaim the Truth in all areas of our life

To not bend to our wicked culture

To not compromise on what God labels sin because it will ostracize us from society


We aren't a social club

We aren’t a Lions Club

We aren't a VFW, a Legion, a Grange, a Rotary or any other worldly organization

Regardless of if any of those organizations do any good


That is not what we are


We are the body of the living God


Jesus Himself tells us in Matthew 5:13-16 about what separates us from all those worldly groups:


“13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet.


14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”


We as a Church are to be a city on a hill---

A light that those in this world who are lost and hurting can look to to see the source of all light in the world.


We are to to rise above the petty and superficial issues that come about because of feelings and emotions and personalities -----


We are to be unhindered by the hurts from other Christians that have come against us, regardless of if they were intentional or not.


We are to stand against the mentality that we are allowed to treat other Christians in any way except love, for any reason at all.


Because when we do move forward, uninhibited by the division that this world breeds and thrives upon,------------------- then we can show all the more clearly the truth that:


Jesus Christ is God, and He died on the cross for the sins of all who will believe and rose again on the 3rd day, and if you repent of your sins and believe in Him, then you will be saved from an eternity of hellfire to atone for your sins.


That is why God left us here ---- on Earth


And that is why we are here today, in this building, right here and right now---- on Sunday February 28th 2021


It is not accidental or coincidental that we all are here this morning----

Yes we may have personal issues that God used as strings to pull our hearts toward Him----


We may have this going on in our life or that going on in our life that God allowed to happen so as to bring us closer to Him----

But the ultimate goal of bringing us together, is not to make our lives easier ---- it is to equip us to carry His light into this world.

To teach us

To grow us

To shape and heal us

To comfort and support us


All of which serve the greater purpose of shining into the dark corners of this world


Which is why ------- when we do Church together, everything we do, is built upon Scripture.


Because human traditions and emotions ----- fail and return empty-----

But God’s Word never will


That verse I love to quote:


2 Timothy 3:16–17

[16] All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, [17] that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.


When we stand on Scripture alone ----- we are equipped for every ---- good ----- work


----------


Which was all part of God’s plan all along -----


You see---

Jesus didn't leave us here on accident when He went back up to heaven.

He left us here to fulfill His words in Acts 1:8 and be His witnesses to the uttermost parts of the Earth.


----------


We are the body of the living God


The Church that survived the onslaught of Roman persecution---

We were killed in the streets ---

We were crucified and lit on fire to provide light for their disgusting parties---

We were hunted down and fed to lions

And because of that ------ we grew stronger


We are the body of the living God


The Church that founded the first hospitals and orphanages

The first to feed the hungry

To clothe the naked

To heal the sick

To save the children discarded and unwanted by this world


We are the Church of God

The Church that invented the printing press

Discovered gravity

Explored the world


We tamed the barbaric and violent civilizations of this world that threatened to build this world in their own image


But none of that, could ever have happened if we did not have love for one another.

[15] For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, [16] I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers,


When we love one another, regardless of anything else, we are living in to the reality of what Jesus said in Matthew 16:18 ------ the gates of hell shall not prevail against us.


What can come against us?

What can slow us down?


What can bind and shackle the body of the God of the Universe?


Can persecution?

Famine?

Violence?

War?


Corrupt governments fall every time they attack Christianity.


Love one another, with love that testifies and explains and displays the reality that Jesus Christ is God and He will forgive the darkest of sins and make your life new and meaningful -----


And when we do, when we love one another despite our own feelings


We will be able show this lost and hurting world the love of God-----


----------


In closing ---- our verses this morning show us not only that our love for one another is directly related to God saving us ----


But they also show us that we should be continually in prayer for other believers


You see, we as Christians should be so incredibly thankful to God for saving everyone He saved.


People that seemed too far off, and embedded in sin, aren't some kind of more of a challenge for Him to save, than someone that seemingly had their life together.


All of us are on the same playing field, when it comes to God saving us.


That is why Paul is thanking God for the Christians in Ephesus.


Because we as Christians should understand that our prayers for people ------ don't stop once they are saved.


----------


We pray that God saves them---

That He opens their eyes----

Touches their heart----

Convicts them of their sin to the point where they realize that God is real----


We continually hold our loved ones that don't know God in our prayers until they are saved, or until we or they leave this Earth.


And if they are saved------we continue to pray, but our prayers change

They change to thanksgiving

To love

To patience to deal with people because sometimes other Christians can get on our nerves


We don't stop praying for people once they are saved, we just change our prayers.


----------


Next week we’ll look at the first thing that Paul prays for in the upcoming verses.


So when you leave here today, be in constant prayer for your family that doesn't yet know God-----


And be in constant prayers of thanksgiving to God for saving those whom He did.



( → → Doxology ← ← )


Praise God from whom all blessings flow;

Praise Him all creatures here below;

Praise Him above ye heavenly hosts;

Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.


( → → Closing Prayer ← ← )


1 view0 comments

Recent Posts

See All