We are designed to shine. Each of us whether an individual or a church, or a city or a nation are designed to bring unique light , a unique message to bring & live out among those around us.
Paul puts it this way.
For you are God’s masterpiece. He has created you anew in Jesus so that we can do the good things he planned ( prepared in advance) for you to do at exactly the right time & in the right place.
In the Sermon in the Mount , Jesus talked about how God made us & what we were to do.
Jesus talked about Design & Destiny.
Jesus said :
You bring a dark world light.
You are like a city on a hill, glowing in the night for all to see.
Don’t hide your light under a basket! Instead, put it on a lampstand & let it shine for all to see.
Let who you are & the good things you do glow for all to see.
The purpose is this.
When you shine brightly others will praise & respond to your Heavenly Father.
The church at Ephesus was in an uphill battle against the religious systems in the city.
All were based on ‘ Appease or Coercise ‘ model. In other words you had to ‘ do something’ actually lots of things to please & appease God or the multitude of gods.
The little church had done well.
They worked hard at bringing light into the darkness & hopelessness of performance based faith.
Paul saw that they were struggling. His opening words were ‘may grace & peace be yours sent from the Father & Jesus Christ our Lord’.
He knew that they were losing their way.
His prayer tells us about their struggle.
And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts,
Living within you as you trust in him.
May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love;
Their real relationship with Jesus didn’t seem as real anymore.
Maybe they weren’t making Conversations with Jesus their first priority any longer.
Perhaps they were drifting back to performance & doing things in their own strength.
Maybe Paul also prayed;
Father, let them shine again.
May they again be lamps in a very dark city.
A Letter From Jesus
Jesus through John the apostle wrote to this little church at Ephesus.
It was penned probably only a couple of years after Paul penned his . It is a word of both encouragement & warning.
Here is what is said:
I know all the things you do.
I have seen your hard work and your patient endurance.
I know you don’t tolerate evil people.
You have examined the claims of those who say they are apostles but are not. You have discovered they are liars.
You have patiently suffered for me without quitting.
But I Have This Complaint Against You.
You don’t love me or each other as you did at first! Look how far you have fallen!
Turn back to me and do the works you did at first.
If you don’t repent I will come and remove your lampstand from its place among the churches.
The message of Paul & of Jesus to the church at Ephesus was not one of shape up or I’ll reject you.
The message was:
Designed & Created
Adopted & Loved
I Give You Grace & Peace
Return To Me
Fulfill Your Destiny
I pray that Jesus will be more and more at home in my heart,
I pray that I will be more & more aware of you, Jesus
I pray that I will trust in you more.
I pray that my roots will grow deep
Into the soil of your marvelous love.
I pray that I will shine.