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SUNDAY 20 MAY 2018
Ephesians deals with topics at the very core of what it means to be a Christian—both in faith and in practice, it invites us to continue our journey of “Shema” - hearing and responding to the invitation and challenges God is placing on our hearts as individuals, households and as a community.
As we continue to journey through the book of Ephesians the The sentence out of chapter two that captured my attention this week was: "Remember you were separate from Christ - without hope and without God in the world."
Think about how we use the word hope in our world. When I listen to the people around me I hear it used like this: “we hope the All Blacks win”, “we hope we will get a promotion”, “we hope that the money will stretch to pay the power bill”, “we hope we will find the spouse of our dreams”, “we hope our children will go well at school”, “we hope we won’t get cancer” - the definition is “want something to happen or be the case”.
Hope’s definition in this world is - we hope the future will go well but at it’s base it’s an expression of uncertainty...we hope it will work out, but we’re not sure. And that uncertainty causes us to try and build things to pin our hope on...
Things, people, experiences or causes that help us feel like the future will be better. But those fixed points - those stable things are hard to find and even if you do have them - there is little guarantee they’ll stay - Earthquakes wreck houses, humans wreck relationships, jobs are lost, causes move. Hope is hard to hold on to.
Fortunately this isn't where it ends, it goes on to say "BUT now in Christ Jesus - you who were once far away have been brought near". He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near, Grace and Peace to you - Rangimarie, the rightness of heaven resting on you... this peace which gives us a new hope.
Instead of being hopeless we have hope because of our:
ACCESS TO THE FATHER BY THE HOLY SPIRIT and by the Holy Spirit we know the presence of God - as we are BEING BUILT AS A PLACE WHERE GOD DWELLS
Today is Pentecost Sunday - when we remember and celebrate that 50 days after the resurrection, the Holy Spirit was poured out on the believers as they waited in that upper room in Jerusalem. Waited to be clothed with power from on high - waited to be filled with the Holy Spirit. And sometimes I wonder if we don’t fully appreciate what this means for us now or the vital need for us to be continually filled with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the one who does the work in us to fill us with Hope...
This is a key role of the Holy Spirit and why we need to seek to be filled together - that God might be found here amongst us by those who don’t know Him yet. We need to seek the filling of the HS in order that God might be found here on earth...
- Holy Spirit is our empowerer - “clothed with power from on high - you will be my witnesses” - untameable qualities of supernatural strength, fierce courage, boldness, see the invisible realm of God’s mysteries - Luke 24:49
- Holy Spirit is our guide & gives discernment - Romans 8:14 - “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are the children of God”. 1 John 2:27 - Anoints us to teach us all things and helps us to remember what God has taught us.
- Holy Spirit is our Uniter - the Holy Spirit knits our hearts and binds us together - Acts 2:44 - 46 - connects us to be the people who together change the world
- Holy Spirit gives us gifts - miracles, prophetic, wisdom, administration, leadership, hospitality, creativity, - if you want to change the world...you need to be filled with the Holy Spirit!
Remember what it was like to be separate - without hope or God and then be filled and live, by the power of the Holy Spirit in a way to offer the hope you have to others and to being built with those around you into a place where God can be found.
We are called to remember what it was like and to live empowered by the Holy Spirit to bring hope and the presence of God to a lost and broken world around us.