This week we are starting a new sermon series for our morning services at Sunnyside and St John’s, Bourne End. We are going to explore Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians and see what it tells us about being a living church and how being part of God’s Church has an impact on how we live out our lives.
Ephesus was a church that Paul knew and loved well. He wrote his letter from prison to strengthen the believers in their Christian faith by explaining the nature and purpose of the Church, the body of Christ. His letter contains much to encourage us – and challenge us – about our faith and membership of the Church as we continue to come back together after the pandemic and refocus on our vision of who we believe God is calling us to be as his Church in this place.
At Sunnyside, I hope this will build on what we have learnt through our weekend away and reflection on Adrian Chatfield’s talks on the theme of ‘Being God’s Family’.
As Paul appointed Timothy to oversee the church in Ephesus, our second readings are drawn from his first letter to Timothy.
‘to be recognized as a Christ-centred community of living faith’
Sunday 17th October Faith and Love
readings: Ephesians 1.15-23; 1 Timothy1.1-7
Paul is thankful for the love and faith of the Ephesians. He reminds us that we are part of God’s family, his Church because of our faith in Christ and that as followers of Jesus we are called to love.
Sunday 24th October God’s handiwork
readings: Ephesians 2.1-10; 1 Timothy 1.12-17
God gives us abundant life in Jesus; it is his gift and not something we can earn. He creates us to do the things when has planned for us and he gives us all we need to do what he has planned for us as an individual and a community.
Sunday 31st October God’s plan
readings: Ephesians 3.1-13; 1 Timothy 2.1-7
God’s restoration project for his world began with him creating community; first this was the people of Israel and then the Church. God’s plan was that the Church would show other people who God is and the difference he makes to lives so that they too would come to believe in him.
Sunday 7th November A different way of living
readings: Ephesians 4.17-5.2; 1 Timothy 4.1-16
We are called to follow Jesus’ example and live lives of true righteousness and holiness as we were created to do. Paul gives us lots of practical examples of what it might look like for us to live lives of love, to be living church.
Sunday 14th November Remembrance Sunday
Sunday 21st November Stand firm
readings: Ephesians 6.10-20; 1 Timothy 6.11-16
If we are to be Living Church and to be a Living Church in a society that increasingly ignores or opposes God and his values, we will need the help of the Spirit and prayer. The armour of God will enable us to be faithful to God and be good witnesses for him.