The Captives’ Work, Part 2

The Victory of Jesus Christ
Ephesians 4:11
Matthew Raley (3-18-12)

In our previous message we studied the two roles referred to in Ephesians 4: 11 that have not continued among Jesus’ captives, the apostles and prophets.  In today’s sermon we will look at those that have continued: evangelists, pastors & teachers.  These offices, like the others, are given to the Church for building people in Christ.  One question we should keep in mind as we study is, “What basis does someone have for claiming that Christ has called him to an office?”  Another is, “What kind of authority goes with this office?”

Published in: on March 19, 2012 at 10:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Captives’ Work

The Victory of Jesus Christ
Ephesians 4:11
Matthew Raley (3-11-12)

We are studying “the grace” in Ephesians, the Father’s comprehensive plan to save sinners and build a new kingdom for Jesus Christ.  It is “the grace” that saves us by faith.  When Christ descended to the grave and ascended to the throne of the heavenlies, he took captives with him.  Christ gave those captives from the kingdom of darkness to his new kingdom.

In today’s message we will ask what those captives did.  When we discover what they did, we can know better what we do as Christ’s captives.  I am going to explain what the terms in v. 11 meant at the time Paul wrote them.  He was not describing mystical “gifts” or super-charged talents, but practical offices and roles that Christ set up for his ecclesia, his ruling council.

Published in: on March 19, 2012 at 10:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Spoils of Spiritual Battle

The Victory of Jesus Christ
Ephesians 4:7-10
Matthew Raley (3-4-12)

A large theme of Ephesians is that Christ fills and rules all things because of his death and resurrection.  His death and resurrection secure his right to rule.  He fills all things by taking believers along with him.  He does not herd them like cattle, but takes hold of them individually, just as he did with Paul.  In today’s message we are going to talk more specifically about how Christ’s grace applies to each one of us.

Published in: on March 19, 2012 at 10:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

Inside Psalm 86

The Victory of Jesus Christ
Psalm 68
Matthew Raley (2- 26-12)

King David sits with his harp in a silent part of his palace, gazing at his city, Jerusalem, and the bare heights of Mt. Zion where nothing has yet been built.  He sees the tabernacle , into which he led the ark of the testimony years before.  Cluttering the table before him are three scrolls covered with his own handwriting, his copies of books that the Israelites had all but lost until he recovered them.

One scroll is the book of Numbers.  Today, David is fascinated by Moses’ call whenever the priests lifted up the ark.  The second is the book of Deuteronomy, worn from continual study.  He has been reading Moses’ final blessings again.  The third scroll is the book of Judges, from which he was just studying the victory of Barak over Sisera, and Deborah’s song celebrating it.  The Lord has promised King David that his son will reign eternally on David’s throne.  David’s life mission is to teach Israel about his son, the Lord’s Messiah.  He will teach about him with music.  He will craft words from the scrolls into a new song about the Messiah.

Today, as we begin our latest series from the book of Ephesians, I will take you deep inside this psalm to learn why Paul quotes it in Ephesians to describe the victory of Jesus Christ.

Published in: on March 19, 2012 at 10:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

How to Handle Conflict, Part 3

Put Peace into Practice
Ephesians 4:3
Matthew Raley (2-19-12)

Suppose you see a man with a knife about to lunge at someone in a crowded marketplace.  Would you be justified in firing a shotgun at the criminal?  I think we’d all agree that no amount of good intentions would justify  such a reckless response which risks so much collateral damage.  But I notice that people feel justified in firing off verbal shotguns at others when they see something wrong.  Insults, sweeping generalizations, and outright slander fly from their mouths, and they imagine that they are doing right.

As we conclude our study of Paul’s command to guard our unity, we’ll look more closely at self-control in our use of words.

Published in: on March 19, 2012 at 10:18 pm  Leave a Comment  

How to Handle Conflict, Part 2

Put Peace into Practice
Ephesians 4.3
Matthew Raley (2-12-12)

In Part 1 of our series, How to Handle Conflict, we learned that God has a purpose for conflicts.  He allows them in order to teach us how to trust him.  In other words, we don’t really learn how to trust God until we stop trying to control other people.  Through the rest of this series we will be exploring practical ways to trust God in the middle of a conflict.

Today we will focus on what the scriptures teach about information:  how to gather it,  interpret it, and handle it.  Information is not neutral.  It can either quell conflict or inflame it. The way you deal with information can involve you either in right actions or in sins.

Published in: on March 19, 2012 at 10:15 pm  Leave a Comment