Bring your Bible as CTS explores…
Beginning on February 16 we begin a two part series on Paul’s letter called Ephesians. The first part we will do this winter; the second part we will do in the fall. Our division recognizes Paul’s two-part framework for his letter explained below.
Winter Series: The High Calling of Christ for the Church
Jesus has given to us the highest of callings. Paul wants us to understand that calling. He wants us to grow in our knowledge of our own salvation, the manifold blessings of faith in Christ, the calling of the Gospel, the power of the Holy Spirit, the deadliness of sin, and the great plan of God for His church in the world.
Fall Series: The High Calling of the Church for Christ
After laying the solid foundation of our high calling to be the church of Christ, we are prepared to launch into a life that is oriented around God and in step with His purposes. This life is consistent with our calling by Christ into the church; more on that when we get to the fall series.
The church: a new thing THEN; an old thing NOW?
When Paul wrote, the church was a brand new thing. Gentile and Jewish believers, slave and free-men, men and women alike were unsure how to interact with one another. So, Paul writes on the nature of the church: to show how Christ puts all people on equal standing to accomplish God’s purposes for the world in Christ.
We are so used to equating church with a cultural institution, a religious icon, a worn-out manifestation that we may well miss God’s intent for us: that the church bring a new experience of salvation, acceptance and change for every person and every culture in every age. The church is always meant to bring HOPE to a dying world.
The Two Letters in the Middle
It’s an old device, I know. But if you look at the two letters in the middle of the word “church,” you will see what, or more precisely, who the church is. U. R. Yes, you are the church. So let’s be and become more and more the church by understanding our callings this winter and fall. I would ask that you regularly join with others who “R” the church in worship to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and so be:
“…built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. For in him, you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.” Ephesians 2:20-22
The High Calling of Christ for the Church
2/16 1:1-8 We are God Blessed
2/23 1:8-11 We are God Planned
3/2 1:11-16 We are God Purchased
3/9 1:15-23 We are Prayed For
3/16 2:1-10 We are Made New
3/23 2:11-18 We are Part of a New Humanity
3/30 2:19-22 We are United to One Another
4/6 3:1-13 We are Given a Foretaste of the Future
4/13 3:14-21 We are Empowered [Palm Sunday]