Displaying the Wisdom of God in Rich Variety

Biblical Text: Ephesians 3:10-21
Full Sermon Draft

We are continuing our reading of Ephesians Chapter 3. The formal assigned reading begins at verse 14, but to me just picking up Paul there clips off the entire thrust of his story in this chapter. Verse 14 forward is Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians (and all the people of God) based on the revelation in the prior verses. Verse 10 – “God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. (Eph. 3:10 NLT)” – is the hinge to me. Prior I hope we know from the book of Acts of Galatians and the first two chapters of Ephesians. But Paul adds this rich line about God’s purpose. This sermon examines that line in all its richness and terror. And then it seeks to understand Paul’s prayer for us in light of that calling to display the wisdom of God. This is the Christian life in its cosmic purpose. This is the Christian life connected to its deep meaning.

Hope abides in The Foolish Things…like the Cross

Sermon Text: Ephesians 3:14-21
Full Draft of Sermon

It was interesting last night watching swimmer Ryan Lochte after taking 4th in his event. Just a couple of night before he had been riding high after beating his nemesis Phelps who had take a similar 4th. This was his Olympics. The vignette before with John McEnroe has driven home the amount of work he has put into it (with the unstated but implied loafing of Phelps this time around). Now two days later his work had put him in 4th and he was left trying to say why that was OK. He had put his hopes in the power of preparation, and they didn’t get him on the podium. The same guy who had passed him in the relay passed him in the individual. He had a plan and had executed it. Just like Phelps who had had a plan and executed it and who said after that 400 IM, “I guess our plan wasn’t that good.”

We have lots of plans. They might even be to “swim all the way to London” as the commercial has it. But what they don’t tell us it that at some point, there is always someone faster. Jesus Christ frees us from putting our capital H Hope in our efforts, because he has already secured the victory and gives it freely. And it comes in the foolish things: like prayer and faith and the love. That frees us to live lives more like that teenager who is winning gold medals and putting them in her pocket. We get to do things for love, joy, peace, kindness and the whole list, because Christ has secured our hope.