For the Praise of His Glory

Youth Minister Rob Clark brought the teaching this week and opened with a statement as offensive as it is shocking: He has never seen The Lord of the Rings trilogy.  

Dr. Mark Roberts likens Paul's introduction in Ephesians to that epic story in that it outlines God's grand narrative, and ourselves to the main character Frodo.  Frodo didn't write the story, but he was chosen to play a specific part in it.  But what is that part?  Take a look at Ephesians 1:11-14.

Paul is continuing with the adoption and unity theme.  Jewish Christians, "we" are the chosen.  But  Gentile Christians, "you" are now also included as children of God's covenant, equal co-heirs with your Jewish counterparts.  And this unity is in Christ.  

This would have been hard to hear for the Jewish Christians.  They were the chosen!   But now, Paul is saying that these Gentiles are also Abrahams seed?  Are you kidding?

But Paul is clear: “When you believed in him, you were marked with a seal”.  Marked with a seal meant that they belonged to God.  It’s the same word the Bible uses to seal the tomb shut.  It’s what Caesar would do after writing a declaration or letter—he would seal it with his stamp.  This seal implies that it can’t be broken.  This seal is permanent.  

Many people wonder: Can I lose God’s favor in my life?  Can that seal really not be broken?   The correct theological answer, according to the Gospel in scripture is: No.  In Christ, that seal cannot be broken, and you cannot fall out of God’s favor.

So why would God create this unity in Christ?  You can see it in the phrase: FOR THE PRAISE OF HIS GLORY.

Living for the praise of his glory means two things:

1.Praising God not just on Sunday mornings, but while we do the dishes.  When we go hiking in the cascades or the Olympics.  When we go fishing...even when we don't catch anything.

2.Living in such a way that God is glorified in all we say or do.
This, for Paul, is the closing argument for his theology on adoption.

Being co-adoptees of God's in Christ means that there are no second-class citizens in the Kingdom of God. All our siblings are God’s special possession, redeemed for his glory and sealed by his grace.

Do you believe it?  Do you believe it for yourself?  And then do you believe it for your sibling?  This is what Jesus was talking about with the greatest commandment “love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.  And love your neighbor as yourself”

This is the story of God.  The story he has already written.  He knew since before Creation that he was going to include us in the story.  The question is, are we going to take that ring—like Frodo—and live into the adventure that God has invited to.  

One, where, in every aspect of our life, we live For the Praise of His Glory.  Where we practice radical love towards God, towards ourself, and towards the other.

REFLECT:

1) What would it look like to change something in your daily routine so that it would more powerfully be "to the praise of God's glory" than it is right now?


2) Everyone likes the idea of unity, in general.  Until it challenges our personal norms.  Where are you feeling challenged in your life to be a peacemaker and create unity where there is currently division?


Grace and Peace!

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