Hi Church! Here’s a note from Pastor Tom – a few thoughts for us to consider as we wrapped up our sermon series, “A House of Blessing,” from Ephesians last weekend. In case you missed it, you can listen to the sermon here:
This past weekend, we concluded our mini-series on the identity of Trinitarian Congregational Church as a House of Blessing. Just as in the 1st century AD, Ephesus was dominated by the towering presence of the temple of Artemis (one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World), we too sit under the shadow of the great ‘temples’ of our generation that can be so intimidating and overpowering.
We are the living temple.
Yet, in this charged climate, Paul casts a bold vision for us that we too worship in a great temple, only this one is not made with human hands, but built by God Himself: His People, who are growing together “into a dwelling place for God by His Spirit” (Eph. 2:21-22). This House is “blessed with every spiritual blessing” (Eph. 1:3) so that the vision is one of a temple with doors swung wide open. As we have been blessed in Christ, we walk out of Trinitarian Congregational Church and fill the world and the people that the Lord puts on our paths with this message of blessing in Christ.
We have the firmest foundation.
In Christ, we are beloved by God, living no longer like the ‘walking dead’ (breathing but spiritually dead on the inside). In Christ, this building, this House of Blessing stands on a great foundation, not like the tower of Pisa, but more like the Hoover dam, as pastor Kyle reminded us in his sermon on May 22.
Yesterday, on Pentecost Sunday, we talked about the staying power of the Holy Spirit, who is described as a ‘seal’ (Eph. 1:13-14), a ‘guarantee’ that we have until the end (the “day of redemption” Eph. 4:30). This guarantee of safe passage (to switch metaphor from a house to a transoceanic passage) is predicated upon our “standing” against the schemes of the Evil One (Eph. 6:10-13). We stand on the confession of our faith (a defensive “shield,” Eph. 6:16), that Jesus Christ has ‘no rival’ and ‘no equal’ as the song, “What a Beautiful Name It Is” resolutely proclaims; His is the name above all names!
For this safe passage, we stand on the foundation of the Word of God, the Sword of the Spirit. We “pray in the Spirit” (Eph. 6:17-18) which anchors our prayer life on the foundations of the Word itself. As we stand together, Paul also reminds us against whom we are NOT fighting: each other. The epic struggle of life in the rough waters of our passage is “not against flesh and blood” yet too many times you and I open this ‘second front’ which distract us from where the real struggle lies: “the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12).
We are sustained through the storms.
In the rough and treacherous waters of the North Atlantic during World War II, the majestic liner Queen Mary was commissioned as a troop transport and donned her ‘black and white’ for the ‘light sea grey’ of a combat ship. In the midst of constant threats and punishing storms, the vessel made it through to her current mooring as a restaurant in Long Beach, California, beautiful again in her original regal colors and restored decks. In the same way, the Lord encourages us with this promise of the staying power of the Holy Spirit for Trinitarian’s own ‘passage’: “you are not lacking in any gift (the same language as Ps 23:1, “I will lack nothing”), as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord (1 Cor. 1:7-9).
What a journey ahead of us! As we proclaim His Name together, what a comfort to know that the Lord will see us through as we stand together in Him!
Have a blessed week!
How have you experienced God building his temple in your life? Have you felt God calling you to swing your doors open? Have you felt God’s presence sustaining you through the storms? Share your story with us in the comments!