I love our West Seattle church. I love our people and I love being their pastor. I know I tell them this a lot. It’s because I mean it.
When I first came to Seattle, I had one prayer, “Lord, help me show your people how good your grace is so they’ll want to share it with others.” In fact, pretty much everything I do, teach, say and feel as a pastor is focused on that. I want you to know the enormous love of the Father so that you’ll live to make him known.
This, I believe, is the point of it all. We are saved by the power of his gospel for the purpose of his gospel. We are living letters for Christ to our city and neighbors. We’re to be a gang of grace in a hurting world (Heb. 4:16). We’re salt and light, a city on a hill and a citizens of his kingdom (Matt. 5:13–16). And Jesus has a plan for his church: It’s to make us ambassadors for his reconciling grace. In fact, the Apostle Paul says it this way:
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 2 Corinthians 5:20 (emphasis mine)
Why am I saying all of this? Because we have an incredible opportunity over the next few months to plunge our roots deep into the stream of life as we hear who we are in Christ from Ephesians. I don’t want anyone in our church to miss it. Any of it. I mean, not even one sermon. I believe this series will absolutely change our community from the inside out. Why? Because God’s Word is power and his gospel is true and it works. This letter is written by Paul to a church in Ephesus (not much different than Seattle) to transform their identity from pagan to disciple. What’s strange is that they were already Christian but still needed to have their identity transformed and rooted in Christ—just like we do!
So here’s what I’m asking from you as your pastor:
- Commit to the next 14 weeks of this series. Don’t miss a Sunday, not even one. Fight with everything you have to be here. If you do that, I promise that the gospel will do its job.
- Come as ambassadors, not as an audience. Put aside your temptation to consume religious goods on Sunday and come with a heart to serve, worship, and love Jesus so that you might serve, love, and see others worship Jesus.
- Expect God to speak to you from his Word. Expect that Jesus wants to change your family and our city. I want you on the starting blocks, ready to go on Sunday morning. Anyone visiting should see and sense our love and enthusiasm for our risen King. Worship hard. Pray for others. Open your heart and eyes to welcome anyone new.
- Come with a friend. If you love your neighbors, friends, family members, and co-workers, your love will compel you to invite them to hear what it means to be loved and changed by Jesus. Don’t be afraid of what others think. If your identity is in Christ, it doesn’t matter. Risk it for Jesus.
- Follow along in the study guides. If you don’t have one, get one this Sunday. Read the devotional. Pray along with it. Share what you’re learning with others. Discuss what God is showing you through this letter.
- Lastly, read the entire book of Ephesians once a week for the next 14 weeks. That’s 14 times. My wife, Grace, and I have read through Ephesians probably over 30 times as a couple. When I’ve taught through it in the past, we read it every week, plus I’ve read it to her many more times since. It is powerful, refreshing, liberating, instructive, convicting, encouraging, and life-giving because it’s about Jesus and his transforming grace.
Alright, I know I don’t suffer from a lack of enthusiasm about Jesus. And I know it’s easy to write that off as an occupational hazard. But the truth is, apart from God changing me by his word, I would have zero interest in anything I’ve just written. God loves us so much, he wants to make us into his own image. Let’s give every opportunity to the Holy Spirit so that he can!
I love you and can’t wait to worship with you on Sunday. This week’s message is simply titled “I Am a Saint” —and it is powerful.
Who are you going to invite?