Ephesians 3:1-21 Devotion Sharing

Submitted by Daniel Kim, Gracepoint Berkeley

What is the great mystery which for ages past was kept hidden but now has been revealed? What is this cosmic mystery that Apostle Paul sets up with such lofty, broad words?  Apostle Paul crescendos to this climax, and the grand answer that he gives is v.6 — that the church unites Gentiles and Israel, members together with one body.   And God’s intent was that “now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known” (v.10).  The church is that great cosmic mystery.  During my lone-ranger days, I had no idea how important the church was supposed to be.  I had just assumed that the church was an accessory to Christian life, something that I can tack on or buy into if I saw the need.  But that’s not the vision of the church that God has.  The church is God’s idea, and it’s the climax of history of mankind, the vessel through which the gospel will be spread to the world before the Second Coming of Christ.  The church is IT.   It’s not some poor second-rate club; it’s not a man-made institution that was thought up in our own heads, because we happened to think that it was a good idea to gather Christians together.  I still remember the revelation that came into my heart and mind when I realized this cosmic calling of the church.  It really was like a “mystery” that was revealed to me.  I had been living my Christian life in such an impoverished way by going it alone.  The gospel message wasn’t supposed to be just a message in a bullet point format — it is supposed to be embodied in the church.

As I remember back to my lone-ranger days, I can trace back my dismissal of the church to a few incidents of disappointments with the church, especially the hypocrisy that I saw.  It was the disappointment that came from seeing that the church was no different from the world.  The preacher could say all he wanted about how the church is supposed to be the light in the darkness, a city on a hill, how it’s not supposed to be some kind of a social club.  But what I saw in the parking lots, what I saw in the fellowship halls of some of the churches, what I heard in the living room conversations after the worship services — they all pointed to the fact that the church was nothing more than an hour-per-week social club.  Having been disappointed, I did the typical teenager thing — I took the high road and said “forget this!”  But now that I see that the church is really God’s plan for the world, I can see my cynicism was altogether inappropriate and exceedingly proud.

Now, I find myself in our church where I learned about this grand calling of the church, and I find myself in the midst of people who are actually trying to live out this grand calling.  Our church is not the only one, but from my experience, I know it’s rare to have a church that has the proper self-understanding to be the cosmic body of Christ.  I need to really treasure that.  Before immersing myself in the church, my experience of God, my experience of spiritual struggle, of obedience to God, etc..   They had all been mostly in the abstract.  But within the body of Christ, I got to experience God in such concrete ways that I didn’t know was possible.  God’s love, God’s admonition, God’s forgiveness — all these I have experienced so concretely through the church.  I didn’t know that my relationship with God could be this embodied, this dynamic, this exciting.   I need to understand this and embody this “mystery”, so that the future generations can also embrace this mystery and fulfill God’s intent for them.

That means that I need to invest into the body of Christ.  I need to invest my time and energy into the church.  That means the church is more important than any company.  It’s more important than any educational institution.  Companies and schools are not God’s mysteries made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms.  It’s sad to see Christians who would acknowledge all this in their heads, but when it comes down to it, they think it’s so strange if someone moves to another city to plant a church whereas it’s perfectly understandable to do that for a company or school.  But the biblical truth is that the church has a high calling, and I need to embrace God’s vision for the church and do what I can to make that vision a reality in my life.  I might not be able to make a difference in all the churches in the world, but I can obey God where I am, so that my church can become the church as God intended.

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Submitted by Joe Song, Gracepoint Berkeley

What is God’s intent for the church?

God’s intent for the church was that His plan of salvation for all people, both Jew and Gentile, would be made known to everyone.  This plan was previously a mystery, not revealed even to the prophets.  But through Christ, God revealed his plan of salvation for all people, the basis for unity for all people in the cross.  The role of the church is now to make known the wisdom of God, this great mystery that was hidden from the fall of man all the way to the cross.  The church is entrusted with spreading the most important news of all time, God’s master plan of salvation for everyone.

How actively am I fulfilling God’s intent for the church through my life?

As one entrusted with a task and responsibility as important as God’s plan of salvation, there is nothing that I can allow to stand in the way of fulfilling God’s plan.  As I recently went to Uzbekistan and saw some of the Christians there, I was so challenged to see how they faithfully serve God despite huge obstacles and suffering in their lives.  One brother leads a church, a rehabilitation center, and works a full-time job to support his family.  I met several women who faithfully serve at an orphanage, doing the physically and emotionally difficult work of caring for and loving many disabled children in the midst of their own personal tragedies and pains (e.g., one woman’s baby daughter recently died when a doctor cut open her throat to remove a chicken bone).  In general, the Christians there have to be constantly wary about a government that is increasingly cracking down on churches and fining and arresting Christians.  They endure all this and still remain faithful to God’s work because the gospel is that glorious.  It’s this same awesome plan of salvation which motivated our church to start three new church plants this summer.

(Gracepoint San Diego & Gracepoint Riverside Church Plant Send-Off)

And it’s the same plan of salvation that I get to participate in and which deserves all of my strength, energy, and time.  As I look to another year of college freshmen ministry in the fall and another year of meeting people at the dining commons, playing ultimate Frisbee several times a week, taking students on trips to SF, etc. I am reminded by this DT passage that I do this all because God’s plan of salvation is so awesome and I have been so blessed to know this plan and be a part of it.  It’s worth everything I can give, and so many Christians throughout the world are giving so much more for the sake of fulfilling God’s great purpose for the church.

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One Response to “Ephesians 3:1-21 Devotion Sharing”

  1. kelly says:

    amen brother!

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