Call to Worship – Psalm 105:1-5
105 Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name;
make known his deeds among the peoples!
2 Sing to him, sing praises to him;
tell of all his wondrous works!
3 Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice!
4 Seek the Lord and his strength;
seek his presence continually!
5 Remember the wondrous works that he has done,
his miracles, and the judgments he uttered,
Hymn # 410 Take me, O my Father, Take Me
Words of Assurance: John 3:16
For this is how God loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
God's Will for our Lives – Romans 13:8-14
8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
11 Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. 12 The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
Hymn # 258 The Spirit Breaths upon the Word
Scripture: Ephesians 3:1-13
3 For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles— 2 assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God's grace that was given to me for you, 3 how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. 4 When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. 6 This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
7 Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God's grace, which was given me by the working of his power. 8 To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, 10 so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. 11 This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him. 13 So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory.
Sermon: The Gift of Ministry
Intro. Sometimes it seems like we are accomplishing nothing and we want to lose hope. It can feel like we nothing we are doing really matters, and so we lose heart. He the Ephesian saw Paul in jail and so they felt like nothing they did mattered.
Paul took the time to address this. He reminded them how God was building them into a new people.
Verse 1 picks up in verse 14.
And then Paul breaks off to discuss the distress they feel at his imprisonment....and he doesn't want them tone. He doesn't want them losing heart over something that he is going through that is ultimately for their good.
Paul's suffering is for their glory. Therefore don't lose heart. It is part of his ministry....it is a gift of God's grace.
Paul might be in prison, but he is in prison for good reason. It is the showing of who God is. Paul's life was so changed by God being in his life. God had called Paul to minister to the gentiles.
Reason 1. Paul did not deserve God's intervention in his life.
Reason 2. God doesn't really need Paul. God in his grace granted Paul this mission. We are jars of clay meant to be moulded by God himself.
Reason 3. The message the Paul gives isn't Paul's message.....it is the message of God, this mystery of Christ that he spreads. It is God's message. It is God's revelation to Paul. It wasn't revealed in the past. It is revealed now to the apostles...and hence to us.
Reason 4. The message we are to speak is God's message, not ours so we should not lose heart when it seems that things are not going as it should. It is all God's message, and it is a message that comes with power. When one hears the message it is God at work. So lose not your heart.
We are heirs of Jesus Christ.
If we trust in him, in Jesus Christ, we are an heir to this faith, heirs of God. A member of one body.
Gentiles and Jews, all part of one body, through our trust in Christ.
We all share in the promise of the spirit. The promise of eternal life.
So be not distressed. Do not lose heart.
God has given us power through his message.
Do not give up because some people will reject him. Don't look to the results. Look to God and who he is and what he does in your life. They reject not you but God.
Hymn # 387 I Love to Tell the Story
Hymn # 705 Marvelous Grace of our Loving Lord
Hymn # 7 Now Blessed Be the Lord our God