Category: Lift Your Eyes

  • Christ the wall breaker (Ephesians 2:14–16)

    Christ the wall breaker (Ephesians 2:14–16)

    In this broken and rebellious world, our healthy boundaries often become hostile walls. But the cross of Christ breaks down walls and brings reconciliation.

  • The blood that brings us close (Ephesians 2:11–13)

    The blood that brings us close (Ephesians 2:11–13)

    Despite our best desires and efforts, we humans are not very good at living up close with others. This has become devastatingly obvious in the recent Christchurch shootings. Yet in his letter to the Ephesians, Paul talks about a conflict that really was healed. This passage is about a real closeness that all believers in…

  • Good works and salvation: What’s the connection? (Ephesians 2:8–10)

    Good works and salvation: What’s the connection? (Ephesians 2:8–10)

    A joke letter from an Australian church offering its financial donors priority access to heaven raises questions for all of us. Do our good deeds give us access to heaven? Or are our good deeds irrelevant? Where do our good deeds fit when it comes to salvation?

  • A question of security (Ephesians 2:6–7)

    A question of security (Ephesians 2:6–7)

    As I write this, New Zealand is shocked and grieving. My own nation Australia is shocked and grieving too, along with them. But news stories about terror attacks and shootings in our world are far too common, aren’t they? And whenever we hear of them, they bring to mind all sorts of questions. One of…

  • This love (Ephesians 2:4–5)

    This love (Ephesians 2:4–5)

    “God loves you”: if I say just those three words, you may not hear what I want you to hear. This is because of a communication problem that arises whenever Christians try to talk about biblical concept of God’s “love”. When we say “love” we mean one thing—something wonderful and life-changing. But the word means…

  • We too: the offenders (Ephesians 2:3)

    We too: the offenders (Ephesians 2:3)

    Judgmentalism. It’s a bigger problem than we think. Judgmentalism is certainly a danger for God’s people. That’s because God’s people have God’s word. God’s word helps God’s people to see how wonderful God is, and how terrible humanity is in comparison. But Ephesians 2:3 contains two highly significant, emphatic words: “we too”. We too, says…

  • The root of the problem (Ephesians 2:1–2)

    The root of the problem (Ephesians 2:1–2)

    I hadn’t visited the dentist for years. Then I felt a tiny amount of pain in one of my teeth. But I ignored it. I didn’t want to bother with a dentist. Anyway, I had my own solution: I’d always brushed my teeth quite thoroughly, and was proud of it. So I just kept brushing.…

  • The first thing to say about church (Ephesians 1:22–23)

    The first thing to say about church (Ephesians 1:22–23)

    Here in Ephesians 1:22–23, for the first time in his letter, the apostle Paul uses the word “church”. He’s taken quite some time to get to this point. That might make you think that the church isn’t very important to Paul. But actually, the reverse is true. This is a climactic statement. So far in…

  • Strength to live (Ephesians 1:19–21)

    Strength to live (Ephesians 1:19–21)

    What do we do when we feel weak in the face of the powers that be? One response might be just to shut down, close ranks and find a bitter satisfaction in our identity as victims. Another response might be to try to fight as hard as we can to exert our power and dominance…

  • What’s the point of theology? (Ephesians 1:17–18)

    What’s the point of theology? (Ephesians 1:17–18)

    The full name of the college I teach at is “Moore Theological College”. That word “Theological” says something important about who we are. It reminds us about what we’re on about. Yes, the Bible is at the centre of everything we do. Yes, we seek to train people for ministry. Yes, we’re driven by the…

  • Prayer: What are we actually doing? (Ephesians 1:15–16)

    Prayer: What are we actually doing? (Ephesians 1:15–16)

    “A Muslim, a Jew and an Anglican Minister walk into a classroom”. This was the advertising blurb for a local Community College seminar I participated in a few years ago. I joined a Muslim educator and a Jewish academic (who is also a friend of mine) to give a series of presentations on different aspects…

  • The Holy Spirit: Our security (Ephesians 1:14)

    The Holy Spirit: Our security (Ephesians 1:14)

    The Stanford Marshmallow Experiments are a favourite illustration of motivational speakers. The lesson is this: If you can learn how to delay gratification early in life, you’ll do better in later life. Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it? But unfortunately, like many popular conclusions drawn from famous psychological experiments, it doesn’t stand up to closer scrutiny. The…

  • The message is the mission (Ephesians 1:13)

    The message is the mission (Ephesians 1:13)

    What is God’s mission? What means is God using to bring about his purposes in Christ? What does that mean for our own mission as Christians and churches?

  • Rejoicing in the blessing of others (Ephesians 1:11–12)

    Rejoicing in the blessing of others (Ephesians 1:11–12)

    Although the Bible is always relevant to us, not every sentence is directly about us. When we realise this, we can rejoice in God’s blessings even more.

  • So here’s the plan (Ephesians 1:8–10)

    So here’s the plan (Ephesians 1:8–10)

    The God of the universe has a plan to sum up all things in Christ. He’s revealed that plan to us, and is putting it into effect through the gospel.

  • Are you trying to redeem yourself? (Ephesians 1:6b–7)

    Are you trying to redeem yourself? (Ephesians 1:6b–7)

    When it comes to God, we can’t redeem ourselves. Redemption is something that God has to do—and has done—for us. This is why it’s such a wonderful thing.

  • What if it’s not about me? (Ephesians 1:4–6a)

    What if it’s not about me? (Ephesians 1:4–6a)

    The Bible gives us a vision for living life that’s the exact opposite of the narcissistic attitude. This is highly confronting, and profoundly comforting.

  • #inChrist (Ephesians 1:3)

    #inChrist (Ephesians 1:3)

    Ephesians starts with an explosion of praise for the ‘blessings’ God has given to us. But they’re different from the kind of blessings we often talk about.

  • This God (Ephesians 1:2)

    This God (Ephesians 1:2)

    Many people believe in ‘God’. But the word ‘God’ means different things to different people. What does the Bible say about God: who he is and what he’s like?

  • Amazing holiness (Ephesians 1:1b)

    Amazing holiness (Ephesians 1:1b)

    God sees believers in Jesus as holy. This fact is amazing, especially when you grasp the history of the gospel going out from Israel to the nations.

  • Paul: in his own words (Ephesians 1:1a)

    Paul: in his own words (Ephesians 1:1a)

    Who do you think the Apostle Paul is? It’s worth listening carefully to the words Paul himself chooses to define his own identity at the start his letter.

  • Lift Your Eyes: Introducing Ephesians

    Lift Your Eyes: Introducing Ephesians

    When believers in Jesus were in danger of losing heart, Paul wrote Ephesians. This letter lifts our eyes to see God’s amazing plan through Jesus Christ.