Today’s a big session as Calisto Odede leads us in Ephesians 4:17-6:9. Internet pending I’ll live blog the session – as usual apologies for any spelling mistakes.
Lively worship now leading into some more contemplative worship – I’m not sure how I’m going to cope when I get home just singing in English – I think it will feel really boring in comparison with here.
There’s now a video on bible poverty and then need for bible translations – that really is one of the themes of the Congress.
We’re now reading the scripture – it’s 3 and a half pages this morning – a crucial passage.
David Oginde: Kenya is good at marathons –we’ve been racing through Ephesians but today is the day we win. In our Table Groups we’re going to pick out units of the passage.
Calisto is now on. The Welsh had the gospel and they preached it, the English made a committee, the Spanish celebrate it, the Africans danced about it. There was a time when the Evangelicals were the custodians of scripture. Evangelical needs re-defining, they’re viewed as barricading themselves against the world, we need to re-imagine it. It seems to be about how we view the world – an opportunity or an enemy. Distinctions between Christians and non-Christians seems to be a very small margin. Under political pressure we seem to be more focused on tolerance than the gospel at times. We’re losing ground not because of the right doctrine, books etc., but because our conduct is not distinctly Christian. We need to ask ourselves does Christianity still make any difference at all in our lives.
We’re fascinated by new ideas, 7 ways to grow spiritual muscle, how to become a mega church in 3 months. We’re like the Epicureans and Stoics looking for new ideas, we become professional conference attendees so we have no time to implement any ideas.
In previous chapters Paul spent a substantial amount of time dealing with faith and heaven but now he brings us back to earth – it’s not just about appreciating the faith, but principles into practice, theology into lifestyle. He wants us to practice the Christian lifestyle. He uses the phrase “walk” – parents understand the importance of this phrase. Paul uses it in significant ways, e.g. 2:2, 2:10, 4:1, 4:17, 5:2, 5:8, 5:15. Watchman Nee used to refer to Ephesians as sit, walk and run. What does your walk reveal, what does your story reveal, what if we followed you a week before and a week after this Congress, what would your walk tell us?
Walk in the newness of life (v. 4:17-32)
He begins with how we ought not to walk, which brings a positive. He uses the word walk to refer to the lifestyle one should engage in. They had developed a hardness of heart which effected many areas of their life – this isn’t the way to live. You have been taught a different style of lifestyle – they’ve learnt Christ in a certain way, they should live in the way they were taught: truth, managing anger, working honestly, edifying others, kindness, tenderness, forgiveness. One who does not leave will not find – we have to leave our old lifestyle. At a times when many have resorted to giving motivational talks, regressed into syncreational religion, the true cry of the authentic work of the Lord needs to be in our life otherwise we will be viewed as a bunch of noisy vevuzela players. This kind of behaviours puts people off the gospel of Jesus Christ – when people no longer see a difference between those of no faith and Christians they aren’t drawn to ask questions about Jesus. The onus is on us to rise against our culture and be different as we are different – we’re children of God, we’re a new creation – so let us live a new life today.
This is an invitation to take our faith out of the conference hall into the home, the office, the marketplace – where the rubber hits the road – or the grass becomes the goat in Africa.
Walk in love (5:1-6)
Paul gives the Ephesians believers a tall order – to imitate God – because they are his beloved children and in normal circumstances children imitate their parents so they are encouraged to do this with God. We need to be careful that we don’t portray behaviours that aren’t fitting of the children of God. They are challenged to live a sacrificial life as God has, this isn’t cheap love but sacrificial costly love, the road less travelled. Unless we’re willing to show this love we have nothing to offer. May God call us to feel people’s pain and be with them when it really matters – the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.
Immediately after a discussion on sacrificial love, Paul draws the attention of the Ephesians to counterfeit love. Paul’s advice went strongly against the sexual immorality of the temple prostitutes etc., and our world is no different with movies and the internet. Statistics show there is no difference between Christian students and non-Christian students regarding sexuality. Many are involved in recreational sex and addicted to pornography – Paul’s words still apply for us today. If this applies to you today you must deal with it as you will become a statistic of another leader brought down for sexual immorality. God in His grace is able to graciously restore those who come back.
Walk in the light (5:7-14)
He urges them to walk not just in a well informed way, but in a way of holiness, the life of Christ. He contrasts the fruit of light and darkness. Transparency is mandatory for the believer – in our relationships with others, in our money, with our friendships. We too often see surprise stories in the media of pastors falling – we need exposure and accountability. The East African revival populised the phrase “walking in the light”, the brethren used this for a decision they’d make, e.g. getting married, going on a journey, or even confessing sin. Friends, let us note if there are issues in our life when we’re not walking in the light, we’re free to walk with other people to be brought us in light.
Walk in diligence (5:15-)
Things are seasonal, grab the opportunities you have. So often we see missional opportunities missed. Opportunities are not waiting they are passing, let us grasp them while there is still time. We need fullness of Spirit which has impact in the Christian community and the household.
Don’t be drunk with wine – you destroy yourself – in opposite to joyous celebration of being filled with the Spirit. This is more than singing, but singing and celebration brought about by the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Paul points out the Holy Spirit will bring transformation which we so desperately need. People are hungry for an encounter with the divine, with the spirit, it will change our churches.
Husbands are to show sacrificial love that we talked about earlier. The marriage relationship should be a window through which people can see Christ.
We are called to walk in newness of life, in love, in the light, in diligence. In a country it says don’t eat a porcupine, a man was found hunting the porcupine, skinning the porcupine, roasting the porcupine, tasting the porcupine but he hadn’t eaten the porcupine, unfortunately for him he tasted all the porcupine, he ate it all. Something so small became so big.
David is now back on, challenging us as to what people we’re ought to be, time for Table Groups.
As usual great discussion in the Table Group – we could have used an extra hour.
Now “Awake” a piece by the Performing Arts team.