Exeter United Methodist Church
Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Sermon Series September 6-November 22, 2020

Upcoming Sermon Series...

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.   

—Ephesians 2:10

Dear Beloved of Christ,

 Wow!

 August 2020 has disappeared from the calendar and we are entering September already! Fall is in the air (especially in the cool nights) and we are eagerly awaiting what God has in store for us as we close out this momentous year.

 In the Book of Revelation Christ addresses the seven churches of Asia. He begins by commending the church in Ephesus for “your hard work and perseverance” but then he rebukes with the following words:

 You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.   Revelation 2:4-5 

 

Sometimes we get so carried away with the frets and cares of this world that we forget the abundance of God’s grace in Jesus Christ that set us free from our sins and gave us the promise of eternal life. If we do not return to that “first love” then we risk losing our light, and our faith grows dim. We don’t want that to happen, especially in these very difficult and challenging times.

 

In the twelve weeks that follow, from September 6 to November 22, I will be preaching through Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. In this letter, Paul teaches strongly about the “riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us” (Eph. 1:7) and he then prays that God the Father will, “out of his glorious riches” strengthen the church with power through the Holy Spirit. (3:16).

 

From there, in chapters 4-6, Paul talks about the importance of investing this wealth of spiritual grace though acts of holy living. In this, perhaps, he is echoing James who proclaimed in an earlier letter that “faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” (James 2:17)  In all our relationships—family, church, and community—we must give evidence of God’s love by the way that we love, outwardly and in step with God’s will for us.

 

Covid-19 and civil unrest are challenging us, but they are also presenting us with great opportunities for ministry and for the performance of those good works God is calling us to do. I’m not sure what all those works will be yet, but I know that if we keep conversing and praying together, and if we keep studying God’s Word, we will find ourselves in a season of renewal as we reach a waiting world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

 

I am truly looking forward to this! With God’s help, our lampstand will be bright and visible, for all to see!

 

Rev. Jim,  September 2, 2020