April 26, 2019

“The church united by love”, Class 3 – “All Things Together In Jesus”, Chris Birtles, Thames Valley churches of Christ

Service Type:
You might find the slides helpful. You can download them below.
  • The unveiling of God’s plan: Eph 1.7-10
  • All Things Together: Col 1.17-20
  • All Things Together In Jesus: Jn 1.3; Col 1.20
  • This World is Not My Home? Jn 18.36; Matt 6.10
  • Give to Caesar… Matt 22.21 / 1 Maccabees 2.68
The Ministry of Reconciliation: 2 Cor 5.16-20
Human Vocation
  • Adam and Eve: Eden as Temple – stewards of Creation
  • Israel: Love the LORD your God / Love your neighbour
  • Ekklesia: Ministry of Reconciliation
  • NTW: Reflect God onto the world / Reflect praise back to God
  • Transformation through love
Onesimus and Philemon
  • Two letters – Pliny and Paul
  • Pliny: repentance and forgiveness
  • Paul: Onesimus the runaway slave has become a Christian
  • Paul does not look to build a bridge but be the bridge between Philemon and Onesimus
  • Pliny: reset equilibrium
  • Paul: showing Philemon how he can participate in the transformation - the reconciling of all things in Christ
  • Transformation – slave and master become brothers through the cross – all things together in Christ
  • Love and unity in Jesus
See this article by NT Wright on Philemon below.
Welcome and Partnership: Philemon 1.17; Jn 13.35
United By Love: 1 Cor 10.32; Gal 3.28
Corinth – Lord’s Supper: 1 Cor 11.21
  • Roman/Greek society based on social hierarchy
  • Slave – Caesar
  • Agape feast – adoption of gentile/pagan practice of joint meal
  • Corinthians maintained social hierarchy in celebrating agape feast
  • The church in Corinth is not allowing itself to be transformed
  • Not putting welcome and fellowship into practice
  • Embarrassed by Paul’s imprisonment and bluntness?
The Choice For Corinth: Romans 8:29-30; Jn 13.35; Rev 2.5
Eyes to See: Paul wants the Corinthians to learn to see the world clearly
How? By:
  • Renewed Mind: Rom 12.2
  • Jesus the King: Rev 1.5,6. He is king whether it looks like it or not.
Ministry of Glory
  • The Corinthians are embarrassed by Paul
  • They have requested a letter of recommendation
  • It may not look like it but Paul’s ministry is glorious
  • Paul echoes the Exodus, Jeremiah and Ezekiel to prove this
The New Covenant: Jer 31.31-34, "I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts;"
A Soft Heart: Ezek 11.19-20, “the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh"
  • The Law on tablets of stone
    • Now through the Spirit the Law is written on the hearts of Christians
  • After the rebellion of the golden calf YHWH dwells with the people but outside the camp
    • Now God dwells in the heart of every disciple
  • 2 Corinthians 3:18
The Letter of Recommendation: 2 Cor 3.7-11
  • The Corinthians must recognise the kingdom and allow themselves to be transformed and become a living letter of recommendation to the world
What Does This Mean For the Church?
  • The Temple was where Heaven and Earth came together
  • They now come together in the body of Jesus
  • Jesus has reconciled us to God and shown us a new way of being human
  • Christians must be reconciled to one another so that we can prove this new way to the world
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God bless,

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