Step Beyond

THE PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION

We approach God’s Word and pray that the Holy Spirit, will open our hearts and minds as we  prayerfully sing...

SINGING PRAYER #482         “Sanctuary”

THE FIRST SCRIPTURE                             Ephesians 3:14-21                   Prayer for the Readers

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

TIME WITH GOD’S CHILDREN#494       “Step by Step”

THE SERMON            “Step Beyond”

 

Throughout the month of July, we’ve been exploring the steps we take on our Christian journey as we walk with Jesus. We began with taking a step forward, trusting the Lord even as we experience the reality of challenges from our culture. Then we looked for stepping stones, God’s pathway to get us through the challenges that lay before us. Jesus calls us to reach out to those who remain outside of our faith community. Today, we will discover the importance of prayer to bring about a change our inner spiritual strength so the Lord can use us to impact others.

The Apostle Paul wrote letters that circulated among the believers to encourage their resolve to live each moment for Jesus Christ their Lord. Paul encourages the Christians in Ephesus to pray for divine wisdom and discover the spiritual reward as Christ dwells in their heart. Then, and only then, can we express God’s love to others, as a result of our walking with Jesus. The love we experience becomes manifest in our interactions with others. 

We can only comprehend the love of God we’ve received. When Christ dwells in our hearts, we realize the breadth and length and height and depth of Christ’s love that surpasses knowledge. We experience God’s grace and forgiveness. We understand the ways the Lord entered our life. We can be filled with all the fullness of God, and then begin to share it. This is the Apostle’s prayer for the believers in Ephesus and for all Christian saints.

Again, we witness the Apostle’s imitation of Christ in praying for discernment and wisdom, more than seeking specific blessings. Prayers that stop at seeking answers and attempting to direct God’s hand in our favor, fall short of emulating Christ in concern for others. When we open our hearts and minds to Christ, we act as a conduit for God’s love and grace. We become aware of God’s vision and concern and let go of our own.

We step beyond our human understanding and become instruments of God’s peace. We enter into a spiritual realm that does not make sense to our temporal world. We move beyond earthly existence into the very presence of Christ. We develop and immerse ourselves in the intimate union with Christ. Our personal relationship is not just something we talk about, but allow the Lord to transform our lives. Our hearts take root and remain grounded in the unconditional (agape) love of our Lord.

This becomes transformative in the way we relate to our Christian friends and strangers beyond the family of God. We immerse ourselves in the depth of God’s love; it’s a new experience of God’s grace. It becomes palpable and others will notice the change in our lives. We observe the movement of the Holy Spirit like we’ve not seen before. We recognize the hand of God working in our lives and in the events around us.

If you’ve accepted Christ’s love and forgiveness for your sin, it’s time to take a step beyond the initial step to move closer to Christian maturity. Christ waits for us to take the step beyond in our prayer life, our willingness to serve, and our ability to honor our Lord with every aspect of our life. So in the next week, pray for the Lord to help you step beyond your present relationship with Christ to a new deeper, stronger, fuller, and intimate relationship with our Lord. TGBTG. Amen.

  May 2017  
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