On Sunday, we had our third preview service. I have loved every time that we have gathered for corporate worship and get excited at the thought of doing this weekly. We welcomed new visitors, we sang, we read Scripture, we prayed, we gave, we greeted one another, we preached, we took communion, we sang some more, and we ate. It was great. And the whole day was centered on the gospel.
We began a three part mini-series looking at Jesus & His Gospel, Jesus & His Community, and Jesus & His Mission. We’re camping out in Ephesians 2 and 3 for the series and there’s this beautiful flow in the text. Paul begins by proclaiming the gospel (2:1-10). He gives us the awful truth that we are dead in our trespasses and sins. Dead. Not sick needing to be healed. But rather dead needing to be resurrected. Apart from grace, in our natural condition, we are dead towards God – unable to take a single step towards Him. By the end of three verses, Paul’s presentation of the gospel offers a dark, dim, despairing view of the human condition.
Those are the first two words of Ephesians 2:4. Against the black backdrop of the human condition comes shining forth the brilliant light of Jesus and His Gospel. We were dead BUT GOD made us alive with Christ Jesus. We were enslaved to this world and to the prince of this world BUT GOD raised us up with Christ and seated us in the heavenly places with Him. We were by nature children of wrath BUT GOD has made us the recipients of His mercy, grace, love, and kindness through the gospel. It was over, we were done, there was no hope, BUT GOD saved the day! How glorious is the good news of Jesus Christ.
The text moves on to talk about how this gospel has destroyed the barriers between us, makes us one in Christ, and forges a new community called the church (2:11-22). This is what we’ll look at in June. From there, Paul reminds us that the gospel not only gathers us, but pushes us out. The gospel propels us to mission as a ministers who have been called to tell everyone of the good news of Jesus (3:1-13) and we’ll focus on that in July.
Gospel, community, and mission; that’s what we’re trying to be about.