Midtown church is here today because of the word of God, nothing more, nothing less! The only way we will continue to be God’s church is by keeping the word of God in it’s proper place. You notice I said ‘Keeping’, we are upholding the Apostolic Foundations of Christ’s Church, the church founded buy HIS disciples.
We have not and we will not be jumping on the bandwagon of the current day’s thinking; the latest new way to be a Christian, a redefining of Jesus message and all of Scripture. There’s been plenty of new ways to be a Christian throughout the last 2000 years, at some point these groups have all committed heresy . Why does it get deemed heresy? Because it contradicts the word of God.
The Biblical Understanding that Jesus built His church upon has not changed in 2000 years. The Apostles formed their beliefs from Jesus Christ, the Church formed it’s beliefs from The Apostles, we continue to believe what they believed 2000 years ago.
Midtown church is not goin g to buy into some ‘new understanding’ of scripture, deciding that you and some others in the past 30 or 40 years have now figured out what God was ‘really’ saying is a lie. At that point your belief falls into only one of two possible categories. Either all the Biblical / Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ has been wrong for 2000 years, or YOU are wrong…
Building Biblical Culture is how we stay clear of starting down the road of redefining Scripture to fit our need to ‘feel’ one way or another. Looking clearly at the Scriptures, in their intended context, is how we see what God’s standards are, upon which HE built the foundations of HIS Church. But we must not give lip service to these foundations we must apply them to our lives and live out a biblical culture of honoring God.
Since the founding of Midtown Church eleven years ago, we have always affirmed four crucial beliefs, taken directly from Scripture, that are key foundations of the New Testament Church. These four doctrines guide our culture. They put us on the same page as we join God in His redemptive work. They create the basis on which we honor Him, this is how we are united with His will.
Four Uniting Foundations: 3 We see directly in the todays text, 1 guides us to the text. Unity In God’s Word as understood and applied consistently for 2000 years. Unity In The Biblical Gospel Of Jesus Chris. Unity In The Biblical Indwelling Of God’s Spirit. Unity In The Biblical View of God’s Sovereignty / Authority
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints who are in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
- Paul’s humble understanding of himself: ‘I am who I am because of God’s will.’
- This is written to an established & mature body of Christ
- He recognizes the gift of grace & peace they have from God (Indwelling Spirit)
3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms in Christ. 4 Even before He made the world, God chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes.
- He has given us everything (He is everything) SO He gets all praise
- He blessed us in His perfect plan, pre-creation, choosing to forgive us ‘In Christ’
- This is the biblical gospel of Jesus Christ: God choosing to forgive His followers
5 In love He predestined to adopt us as His own, bringing us to Himself through Christ Jesus. This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure. 6 So we praise God for the glorious grace He has freely given those who belong to Christ.
- What does predestined mean? The greek word is ‘proorizo’ ; Used 6 times N.T.
- It means: to limit or mark out beforehand; to design definitely beforehand, ordain beforehand, predestine
- Adopted ‘through’ Christ…He planned it, He did it, He liked it!
- As recipients of this glorious grace of eternal adoption we respond with praise!!
7 According to the abundance of His grace, He purchased us with the blood of His Son and forgave our sins. 8 He has showered grace on us, from His all encompassing wisdom and insight.
- His unchanging character is to extend grace in ways we can’t quite fathom
- He bought us by blood sacrifice: His way since the beginning
- Story of workers being paid: Matthew 20:1-16 ‘Last will be first, first will be last’
9 God has now revealed to us his mysterious will regarding Christ, intentionally enacting His purpose. 10 And this is the plan: At the right time he will unite everything under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth.
- The mystery revealed in the life, death and resurrection of Christ (& return)
- It all points to the future when Christ will return; crucial aspect of biblical gospel
11 Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, having been predestined according to the purpose of the One who works all things according to his plan.
- Paul and the Ephesian church are already united with Christ as we can be
- Being united with Christ means being a ‘heir’ as Christ is
- Redundancy of the term ‘predestined’ is used with intention
- Those of us God has chosen to unite with Christ are united in God’s will
12 God’s purpose was that we Jews who were the first to trust in Christ would bring praise and glory to God. 13 And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, you were marked with His seal, the promised Holy Spirit.
- Constantly scripture teaches that all things happen by God’s will and purposes
- This is telling us God is in total control of all events everywhere
- Trusting the truth: God being so authoritative & yet so forgiving
- The Good News that unites us is that while we deserve wrath God gives mercy
- At the moment your belief is given to you by God, He also gives you His Spirit
- It is an eternal change of your person at every level: “mind, soul & strength’
- It is a mark given by God that is irrevocable, fulfilling numerous prophecies!
14 The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance He promised and that He has purchased us to be His own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify Him.
- When God gives us salvation He wants us to be sure about it
- God indwelling those He has predestined for salvation is an amazing gift
- An foretaste of eternal life, God places us ‘In Christ’ by placing Christ ‘In Us’
- Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! Oh what a foretaste of glory divine! Heir of salvation, purchase of God. Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood!
- We are united by God’s Spirit living in us, it is a foundation of His church!
15 Ever since I first heard of your strong faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for God’s people everywhere, 16 I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, 17 asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God.
- The Spirit of God in His purchased saints unites them in love for God’s people
- It gives us an appreciation of God’s work in others and gratitude to God for it
- It gives us the desire to pray for other believers to grow in maturity
- It motivates the Great Commission
18 I pray that the eyes your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope He has given to those He called—His holy people who are His rich and glorious inheritance.
- What are the ‘Eyes of Your Heart’?
- Light stands for illuminated understanding of what God has done for you!
- The Spirit of God living in us lets us know we have hope for eternity with God
- It is not a physical / mental understanding…it is a spiritual understanding
19 I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe Him. This is the same mighty power 20 that raised Christ from the dead and seated Him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.
- Paul is praying for all ‘spirit indwelt’ believers to ‘make it real’
- The Spirit of God is the bringer of new life, eternal life… that is what we have!
- If we have been given eternal life we are to live based on that, not this world.
21 Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come. 22 God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. 23 And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.
- Christ is God’s expression of love and forgiveness AND His authority
- You can be compassionate and be uncompromising regarding the truth
- Being under the authority of Christ is the best possible thing for us
- Christ’s authority has not changed over time, this is what Midtown believes
- There is no ‘new revelation’ or new understanding
The Biblical Gospel states that before creation God chose the objects of His grace and forgiveness. He purchases them with Christ’s blood and gives them an inheritance of eternal life. He does everything!
All those God predestines for eternal life He indwells with His Spirit as a downpayment on eternity. Through God’s Spirit living in us; we are assured of our salvation as well as given spiritual power, wisdom and insight.
All this was done exactly as God promised and planned under His complete authority. As Christ’s church we are exceedingly blessed to be under that authority, we were meant to be His body with Him at the center of everything.
Jesus’ church is united under Christ’s authority by the Biblical Gospel, the indwelling Holy Spirit, and the unchanging truth of Scripture, that we would give Him praise and glory!
The message of Scripture is unchanging. Midtown Church will read and apply all of Scripture exactly as it has been read and applied by Jesus Christ’s Church for two thousand years, not based on current trends and thought.
How much time have you put into understanding what the people who have followed Jesus Christ for two thousand years have believed about the Old & New Testament Scriptures?
Why is it important for us to be united as a church around the Biblical Gospel?
What are the benefits you experience from being indwelt with God Spirit? Does your experience match up with Scripture?
How does the authority of Christ in your life affect how you function as you are meant to in HIS body?