In the early 60s AD, the Apostle Paul wrote a letter ‘to God’s holy people in Ephesus’. In term 1, 2019 we will look at 5 metaphors Paul employs such that the Ephesians church may come to see itself clearly. These metaphors speak of how precious and important the church is in God’s recreation of the world. These metaphors remind us of the necessity of unity and service as we care for the church. These metaphors remind us not to take the church for granted, but to arm it with faith and maturity against the devil’s schemes.
We will be looking at John 13-17 - the Lord's supper. The immanence of Jesus’ crucifixion really sets the framework for this text. Key themes include the call for Jesus’ disciples to self-sacrificially love and serve each other, to have confidence that Christ will return, and that his Spirit will be sent in the meantime. There are also themes around perseverance under trial and bearing fruit as Christians.
During the seventy years the Jews suffered their Babylonian exile, God raised up several people to faithfully guide and direct His fallen people back to Himself. Among these people was a young woman named Esther. You can view a helpful illustration of the book of Esther here.
I wonder if you’ve ever heard someone say, “I wish we could go back to just how it was in the early church!” Imagine hearing Peter preach on the day of Pentecost, seeing Paul raise a young man back to life, and witnessing many put their faith in Jesus for the first time. But all was not perfect and worthy of imitation. Indeed, I expect Paul might have replied to such a longing, “have you met the Corinthian Christians?!”
In 1 Corinthians Paul writes to answer their questions and address some of the difficulties in the church. Join us in Term 2 as we look at Paul's letter to the Corinthians. You can download 'The toxic church' bible study books, or you can listen to the weekly sermons here.
In 1 Peter we are encouraged to stand firm and persevere, even though life will be difficult for us as we stand against the tide as Christians.
Peter's profound theological statement about our true identity - being citizens of Heaven - rings true not only for those early exiled Christians in Rome withstanding challenging social and political temperatures, but also for us in our modern Western context.
The Old Testament books of 1 and 2 Samuel follow the rise and fall of Saul and David, the first 2 kings crowned over God's people. As we study the book of 2 Samuel, our focus will be on king David, a figure who looms large over the rest of the Bible.
2 Samuel, like many of the narrative sections of the Bible, can prove difficult to understand. This is not to say it is difficult to read: there is enough blood-shed, conspiracy and scandal to keep us interested. However, you can come away from the various stories feeling you may have missed the key message.