Today’s Sermon

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The sermon for August 26th 2018 is now available on the New Life web-site.

In this sermon, which is based on Ephesians 6:10-20, I talk about Being Strong in the Lord.

Click here to listen in your browser or here to download the mp3

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Reflection on Ephesians 5:15-20

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Scripture

Don’t be drunk with wine because that will ruin your life. Instead be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves and making music to the Lord in your hearts.

Observation

We are to be careful how we live, asking what God wants from us rather than pleasing ourselves.

Instead of over-indulging in drink, we must be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing songs of worship and praise to the Lord.

Application

The people of the world think that getting drunk on the weekend is a great way to unwind from the stresses of life. Depending on alcohol or other drugs will ultimately wreck a life.

As christians we have a far better way of dealing with problems, and that is seeking the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.

Don’t be filled with drink; be filled with the Holy Spirit instead.

Unlike alcohol and drugs, which merely desensitise us to life, the Holy Spirit is life in its fullest. We were made for fellowship with God, so fullness of Holy Spirit is fullness of life.

As we seek the deeper life with God, worship and praise will be the path we take. Whether we sing the Scriptures or hymns and worship songs, or even “spiritual songs”- that is allowing the Holy Spirit to create a new song in us- singing has many benefits in the Spirit-filled life.

  • Music bypasses our logical thinking and opens our soul to the presence of the Holy Spirit.

  • The words keep our minds focused on God’s glory.

  • Songs can keep ministering in us long after we stop singing, as the words and music amplify each other in our thoughts.

  • Songs can provide us with new words and phrases to express our love for Jesus

Prayer

Holy Spirit, fill me and re-fill me. May me whole life become a symphony of worship to you. Amen.

Reflection on Ephesians 1:1-14

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Scripture

Every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realm has been lavished upon us as a love gift from our wonderful heavenly Father- the Father of our Lord Jesus- all because He sees us wrapped into Christ. This is why we celebrate him with all our hearts.

Observation

God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ. He chose us and joined us to Himself, adopting us as His children.

The cascading riches of His grace flow over us and release wisdom and insight. God’s long range plan is that He will make all things new through Jesus Christ.

The Holy Spirit is the first instalment or deposit for what is coming- all to the glory of God.

Application

Because of Jesus we lack nothing. Everything we need for salvation and eternity has been given to us.

God is not reluctant in His giving. He lavishes grace upon grace over us. His grace is like a mighty waterfall that keeps flowing over us. It is superabundant- more than enough, more than is reasonable.

It is all because He loves us and desires us to see His love for us. He is like an old billionaire who falls in love with a young woman and showers her with jewellery and all kinds of extravagant gifts.

God’s graces are more than mere physical baubles. His first grace is the promise of eternal life. We are guaranteed a place in heaven, a “mansion.”

But there is so much more than even this:

  • the gifts of wisdom and insight

  • the power gifts of the Holy Spirit

  • the fruit of the Holy Spirit

But Paul tells us all of this is just a deposit or an engagement ring. There is so much more to come.

Prayer

Lord God I thank you for your overflowing, superabundant grace which you lavish on me daily. Please help me to look to your cascading, flooding grace and to rejoice in you every single day. Amen.

Reflection on Ephesians 2:1-10

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Photo by Svetlana Pochatun on Unsplash

Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ephesians+2.1-10

Scripture

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Observation

We were once dead in our sins, obeying the devil. We have all been in that dark place.

But God gave us life when He raised Christ from the dead, and He seated us in heavenly realms with Him. It is by God’s grace that we are saved. It is a gift from Him. We couldn’t do this by ourselves.

Now we are God’s masterpiece, created to do the good deeds He has planned for us.

Application

I am God’s masterpiece, the pinnacle of His creative activity. We are constantly under assault by the judgements and accusations of other people and ourselves.

God’s judgement is that I am a work of art- His masterpiece.

Sins- both those committed by me and those committed against me- are like balls of dirt and mud thrown over this artwork.

When I was born again, God started the restoration process, carefully scraping off the dity, repairing broken threads, cleaning the paintwork.

Now, instead of being in captivity to sin, I am being set free to do the good deeds that I was created for. We are not saved by good deeds; we are saved for good deeds.

Every one of us is created unique to shine out God’s glory in a unique way. We are not copies or forgeries; we are unique original creations.

Prayer

Thank you Lord that you tell me I am a new creation, a masterpiece in your creative handiwork. Please continue to release me from sin so that I can glorify you in all things. Amen.

Reflection on Ephesians 3:1-12

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ephesians+3.1-12

Scripture

Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.

Observation

God Himself has now revealed His mysterious plan. This did not happen in previous generations, but now God has revealed it to His apostles and prophets.

The plan is this: Gentile believers in Christ and Jewish believers in Christ share equally in the riches inherited by God’s children. We share in the same blessings because we are part of the same body.

God’s church is a testimony of God’s wisdom to all the powers and principalities.

Because of our faith in Christ we can come confidently and boldly into God’s presence.

Application

In the Old Testament only one person was allowed into the Holy of Holies- the place where God ‘s presence was- for one day each year. Now, as sons and daughters of the living God, every believer can enter into His presence at any time.

The Holy Place is open to all!

Unlike the High Priest we don’t need a sacrifice to make us clean. Jesus is the sacrifice who makes us clean all the time. He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

What does it mean to come boldly and confidently into the presence of God? It means that we do not have to fear God’s judgement. Christ has turned away the wrath that is against sin.

It means that we can intercede and worship at the throne of our Creator, our Father. It means that we can express love to Him without having to find the exact right words. It means that we can sit at His feet and listen to His voice.

Part of the mystery of the gospel is that heaven has come down to earth. Ordinary people carry the presence of God with them and the division between the unseen world and the seen world no longer applies.

Prayer

Father, please help me to understand what it means to come into your presence and help me to live in that Holy Place. Amen.