History, Cosmology, and the Church

In Ephesians 3:1-12, Paul reminds us that one day, the new creation.  We're focusing this week especially on verses 10-12.  

"Unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places."  How will God choose to communicate -- even to proclaim the Gospel of Christ -- not only to the powers of this world, but to those of the "heavenly realms?"  Answer: THE CHURCH.  That is, you and me.

For Paul, this is not an abstract ideal, but a concrete expression of the Church's mission.  The NIV translates what we are to proclaim is "the manifold wisdom of God."  The word "manifold" in Greek describes the intricate beauty of something that is multicolored, multilayered, and all the more beautiful because of the unity in its variety.  (The same word is used in the Greek translation of Genesis to describe Joseph's "coat of many colors.")

The many-colored fellowship of the Church is meant to reflect the many-colored wisdom of God.  And that is what will usher in the new heaven and new earth.  Cast away the idea that the Church is not essential to your spiritual life, or that you can be on a "private" spiritual journey.  It's a popular idea, but not a biblical one.  

Who are the "heavenly powers" for us?  For Paul, these powers have real influence over our world.  They are those forces who are watching what the Church will do and say, and are working against it.  This is an important, biblical "lens" through which the Christian should study history.  (Remember, Paul and his contemporaries studied history, too.)  When we look at history this way, we can more readily see the non-rational influences in history.  For example, who would have ever guessed that after the horrors of the Nazi holocaust, a synagogue in Pennsylvania would be bombed in 2020?  Or after the Japanese internment camps of the mid-1940s, Asian Americans would still have to live in fear of random attack in 2021?  Or that after the nightmares of mass gun violence in America, we would still be grieving such meaningless violence in San Jose only a week ago?

The Church is two things:
1) A demonstration plot for breaking down the barriers which divide humanity.
2) The staging ground for release of the mighty powers of Christ to draw all persons and powers to him.

Reflect:
- What might your participation in the life of UPPC, or your local congregation, bring about in the larger vision of God's Kingdom?
- How do you react to the assertion that, biblically speaking, there is no such thing as private spirituality?
- Consider: the largest and most powerful "corporation" on the globe is not Amazon, Microsoft, or Starbucks.  It's the Church, at 2.3 billion strong.  What would happen on earth if Christian women, men, and children became even more faithful to their witness to Jesus Christ, including his groundbreaking work to tear down dividing walls in his name and complete God's new creation?

***DEAR UPPC BLOG READER:
If you make use of these sermon summaries, would you please let us know, using the "Comments" option?  Your feedback will help us determine whether or not to continue offering sermon summaries in this venue.  Thanks!  



2 Comments


Marilee - June 5th, 2021 at 10:01pm

Hi - I was looking for a recording of the sermon as we missed the service last week. I wanted to show it to Jim. Instead, I found this - read scripture and the notes to him. Do you have the recording? Thanks! PS - could you summarize AND post a link to the sermons in this section?

Patti Jeffrey - June 6th, 2021 at 12:19pm

Our small group is using the blog questions for discussion and reflection along with the scriptures each time we meet. We look forward to each new set of questions!

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