Sunday preaching – Bethany Church

There is a paragraph at the start of Paul’s Ephesian letter that consists of a 202 word sentence in the original Greek. I’d be interested to hear what a creative writing coach would have to say about that, for it sounds like a long sentence. English Bible translations have broken it up into what we know as Ephesians 1:3-14, an opening expression of praise from Paul for what God has done through Christ. 202 words: as though his heart was so full that once he was started, he couldn’t get stopped!

That was my material for this past Sunday night as I preached at Bethany Church, just beside Finaghy crossroads in south Belfast. Bethany is an open Brethren church in a prime location (they usually have a street side carol sing on the Saturday before Christmas) on the Lisburn Road. Sunday night is designated as their main teaching time and they have just embarked on a series of a few weeks on Ephesians.

Paul’s long sentence is densely packed with a great deal of rich (and sometimes controversial) theological concepts following closely on one another’s heels. One of the features of the sentence, or eulogy, is the fact that salvation is clearly trinitarian.

  • The Father has planned our salvation.
  • It is through the Son that it has been accomplished.
  • The Holy Spirit is given to us as a guarantee that the work will be completed.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.

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