Ephesians 3:7 (NIV) – I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power.
“Implicitly we think of ministry as our gift to God, but Paul thought of ministry as God’s gift to him. When we take that seriously, it changes our perspective. Ministry is not drudgery to be endured or something for which God owes us, and it is certainly not a job to be acquired or kept. Rather, ministry originates in and is the expression of God’s grace. Ministry is the free flow of grace from God through us to other people.” [Snodgrass, Ephesians NIVAC]
Let us ask God to turn our hearts once again, to have a fresh perspective on the gracious gift of ministry. Let us humble our hearts and thank God for calling us “servants of the gospel.” May we be filled with joy and hope once again as we seek to love this generation.
Let us worship to the song “Here I Bow” by Bethel (Click here).
2 Corinthians 5:17-20 (NIV) – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation… And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.
“When we come to Christ, we are all sent on His mission. We are new and have a new purpose. Christ reconciled us to Himself and we are a new creation. Our old way of finding identity and our broken ways of finding meaning are over. We are reconciled and ushered into a vibrant and living relationship with God. This is the gospel, that Christ has reconciled us to God through His death and resurrection and is making all things new – even us. We are recipients of the gospel, messengers of the gospel, and servants of the gospel. We cannot separate our identity in Christ from our purpose in Christ… [And] our renewed identity and purposes require some sort of expression of gospel-focused community on mission.” [Brad Watson, Ephesians: How Jesus Creates a New People in a New World]
Let us thank God our purpose is rooted in our identity in Christ. Because he calls us “ambassadors” we are also equipped to do the work of evangelism.
Let us worship to the song “Living with a Fire” by Jesus Culture (Click here).
Ephesians 3:2-3 (NIV) – Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation.
“Trauma shapes us, but grace shapes us even more… God’s grace comes first and is always the foundational reality. Time may be required to deal with the damage caused or experienced, but the crucial fact is that our histories do not deserve ultimate defining force. To give something other than our past ultimate defining force is the first step to healing. Only God revealed in Christ merits being the ultimate defining force of our lives…God is in the business of restructuring identities for all willing to be changed… We are never so separated from God by our histories that we are precluded from our real selves, from being who we should be… This transformation of histories is the focus of Ephesians, an identity-formation document if there ever was one.” [Klyne Snodgrass, Who God Says You Are]
No matter what we have experienced in our past – good or bad – today, we can ask God for transforming grace to reign in our lives once again. Let us pray for God’s grace to bring healing and freedom so that we can live effectively as ministers and pastors of this generation.
Let us also worship to the song “Build My Life” by Housefires (Click here).
Ephesians 3:8-9 (NIV) – Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things.
“The mission of God flows from the love of God. The mission of God’s people flows from our love for God and for all that God loves. World evangelization is the outflow of God’s love to us and through us…We affirm that such comprehensive biblical love should be the defining identity and hallmark of disciples of Jesus. In response to the prayer and command of Jesus, we long that it should be so for us. Sadly we confess that too often it is not. So we re-commit ourselves afresh to make every effort to live, think, speak and behave in ways that express what it means to walk in love – love for God, love for one another and love for the world.” [The Cape Town Commitment: “We Love Because God First Loved Us”]
Let us take time to confess and recommit to loving God and to loving others. Let us ask God to fill us with his Spirit to help us make every effort to be like him and to walk in love because he first loved us.
Let us also worship to the song “More Like Jesus” by Passion (Click here).
Ephesians 3:6, 10 (NIV) – This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus…His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms.
When we become Christians, we are all sent on His mission. In fact, we cannot separate our identity in Christ from our purpose in Christ.
“Mission is not ours; mission is God’s. Certainly, the mission of God is the prior reality out of which flows any mission that we get involved in. Or, as has been nicely put, it is not so much the case that God has a mission for His Church in the world but that God has a Church for His mission in the world. Mission was not made for the Church; the Church was made for mission – God’s mission.” [Christopher Wright, The Mission of God]
Let’s take time to thank God for inviting us to live out his mission. He created us to be a new humanity to join with him in loving the world. This is our ultimate calling in the Lord.
Let us worship to the song “Mission’s Flame” by Matt Redman (Click here).