God called you in one hope

Posted Jul 8, 2019

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Daily Scripture

Ephesians 4:3-6, 29

3 Make an effort to preserve the unity of the Spirit with the peace that ties you together. 4 You are one body and one spirit, just as God also called you in one hope. 5 There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 and one God and Father of all, who is over all, through all, and in all.

...

29 Don’t let any foul words come out of your mouth. Only say what is helpful when it is needed for building up the community so that it benefits those who hear what you say.

Reflection Questions

The apostle Paul’s words about “hope” to the Christians in Ephesus weren’t about a vague attitude, good for us no matter what its subject. (We may read surveys measuring how optimistic people are about the nation’s economy in two years. Paul wasn’t talking about that kind of “hope.”) “There is one hope belonging to our Christian calling (verse 4), one faith and one baptism (verse 5) because there is only one Lord. For the Lord Jesus Christ is the one object of the faith, hope and baptism of all Christian people. It is Jesus Christ… for whose coming we wait with expectant hope.”*

  • What are your most immediate hopes, either for yourself or for the people you care about? Are they things of which you are quite certain (the honor roll student will almost certainly graduate), or are they more in the “hoping against hope” category? How, if at all, do those hopes connect in your thinking with the long-term hope and confidence in Christ about which Paul wrote to the Ephesians?
  • Our words are one key way we embody hope as we interact with others. British scholar John Stott wrote that the Greek behind “foul words” was “sapros, a word used of rotten trees and rotten fruit. [cf. Matthew 7:17-18, 12:33]. When applied to rotten talk, whether this is dishonest, unkind or vulgar, we may be sure that in some way it hurts the hearers.”** Review the most typical parts of your conversation over the last week. (Ask God to guide your thinking.) Which parts have best expressed your hope? How can your speech more often embody hope?

Prayer

Lord Jesus, I’ve chosen you as my one Lord. Help me to keep growing in my understanding and expression of the amazing hope you bring into my life. Amen.


* John Stott, The Message of Ephesians. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1979, p. 150.

** John Stott, The Message of Ephesians. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1979, p. 188.

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Roberta Lyle

Roberta Lyle

Roberta Lyle has been on the Resurrection staff since 2006. She serves as the Program Director for Local Impact Ministries, concentrating on Education, Life Skills and Youth Focused Ministries.

In the Apostle's creed Christians affirm our belief in God, the Father almighty, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit and the "holy Catholic church" by which we mean the universal body of believers. For years we have accepted that believing in that universal truth doesn't mean we are all going to follow the same path, and so the church has split into many denominations. Now our denomination is also at a point where we are facing disagreement over what it means to be a faithful follower. This topic is important to many people and extends beyond the denomination. You've probably had conversations with friends, family members or even strangers about what's happening and what the future holds for the denomination. It's a complex subject and Resurrection is bringing together leaders in September for three days of in-depth discussions and thoughtful deliberations.

As we wait for the UMC to vote on the outcome, we can remain hopeful and optimistic in our discussions, knowing that God will bring good out of this situation no matter what the decision. I appreciated Pastor Scott's sermon reminder to elevate the discourse. Today's verse gives us good advice for how to do this, reminding us to keep our words positive and useful to the hearer.

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