Here are my talk notes from Friday morning’s sermon at the Union Conference. The talk was on the topic “Blessing the World” which is one of Union’s core values. In full this is
“Blessing the world. We join God’s mission to fill the earth with the glory of Jesus as we are led by the Spirit.”
Nb. These are notes only, not a full script.
Blessing the World (Ephesians 1:3-9)
- The option at the inter-church meeting – give out tins of beans or Luke’s Gospels
- Abraham – you will be a blessing Genesis 12
– Soup kitchens & social justice in Ur???
– No!-go and trust the promise for a descendent
Why – because Abraham grasped something – the promise of blessing was in Christ. The NT makes this explicit.
Understanding blessing the World – must mean understanding God’s full redemption Plan
- If we are to “bless the world” we need to know what the blessing is.
Ephesians 1 tells us that God has blessed us with all spiritual blessings (v3)
- We are chosen in him – we belong to him -status
– A new character – holy and blameless in love (v4)
– A new status – adopted as sons (v5)
– imagery of being bought back at great price (v7)
– Forgiveness of sin (v7)
- Wisdom and understanding
– Lavished on us in grace (v8)
– Hope – it is looking forward to Christ’s return (v 9-10)
- If we are to “bless the world” then we need to know where, how and why that blessing comes?
Answer = it is in, through and for Christ.(v 3, v 10)
Note – past grace – it is rooted in the Cross of Calvary
Future Grace – it looks forward to Christ’s return – everything will be united in and under him
Note this means that the purpose/why is for Christ’s glory.
This means that the World cannot know blessing apart from the Gospel
This is a reminder that our focus is on Gospel proclamation.
Practically -it means:
- Churches, church planters, pastors and missionaries who get into the hardest places
-urban inner cities and council estates
– hard to reach groups – Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Seularists
In other words – get out of the leafy suburbs … if we are comfortable in our leafy suburbs then we are not churches we are just hobby groups
- A genuine practical loving concern for the people in those communities
This is discipleship – loving God leads to loving our neighbours
Great to see Christians involved in CAP, Early intervention, Foodbanks, community cafes, ESOL etc
- That we must keep Gospel proclamation at the heart of everything we do
-because the Gospel is their greatest need -and the most living thing we can do
– because it is the Gospel that leads to changed lives and transformed communities
Look back with thankfulness – God has acted to love and bless the world by sending his son
Look forward with patient and persevering hope – Christ will return and all Creation will be united through, under and for him -future grace, future blessing