Today we begin a new message series called “Live Out God’s Purpose.” In this series, we’re going to be studying the book of Ephesians. The theme of Ephesians is God’s Purpose for every believer and for the church. What is God’s purpose? God’s purpose is really God’s plan for your life. The first three chapters of Ephesians show us powerful principles about believer’s salvation. The last three chapters contain practical instruction for living out those principles.
Last Sunday, we studied in Acts 2, how Jesus began to pour out the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Peter preached a powerful message on that day culminating in his call to action in
Acts 2:38 (ESV) And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
These instructions tell us of three essential experiences for every believer. First is salvation by faith alone, second is believer’s baptism and thirdly is Spirit baptism. At the end of Peter’s message, 3000 people were saved, baptized in water and in the Spirit. The church experienced exponential growth throughout the book of Acts.
Yet over the next 300 years, the church became apostate, it fell away from the truth. Salvation was taught as coming by good works, not by faith alone. Believer’s baptism was replaced with infant baptism. Finally, Spirit baptism was neither taught nor experienced, so spiritual gifts died out. The falling away of the church led to the period of the Dark Ages for over 1200 years. But God had a purpose and plan for His church and He began to restore the truth.
In 1517, Martin Luther rediscovered salvation by faith alone and the Reformation began. In the 1700’s, the Baptists rediscovered believer’s baptism by immersion. And finally, in 1901, Spirit baptism was rediscovered, and the Assemblies of God was founded in 1914.
So, you and are privileged to live in a wonderful time in history, when New Testament Christianity is being restored. With the restoration of the three-fold foundation of the church, we are on our way to fulfilling the Great Commission. Spreading the Gospel to every nation in the world through the power of the Spirit. Once the Gospel is proclaimed to every nation, Jesus Christ will return.
Today’s message is entitled “Find Blessing.” We’re going to learn about the importance of this three-fold foundation in the start of the church at Ephesus. Then we’re going to learn more about the blessings that God has prepared for us as His children.