Big Idea: We have been Saved by God’s Grace for a new walk
Intro: Well morning friends and visitors. My name is Matt Johnson and today we continue our study of Ephesians. Paul has just explained that – God has brought people who believe in Jesus into a new community called the church. The church is God’s everything. And Paul has just explained that when the church knows God well, we have hope and when we have hope we are empowered with Christ-like, resurrection power. But for what? Why is God empowering the church?
Well today I’m going to explain that God is empowering the church with faith, hope and love – because we have a big hike to undertake. We are like pilgrims on a journey. So, I want you to think about the biggest and most exciting hike you have ever done. Have you ever done a big walk?
There is now a big walk in our city called “Sydney’s Great Coastal Walk”. It stretches from Palm Beach in the north, to Otford in the south. The total distance is 192km and it takes about 10 days. (Slide 2). You’ll notice they are suggesting about 20km a day – with most of the walk being fairly level and at sea level. When tracks are at higher elevations or more hilly – they usually recommend less than 20km a day. Anyway, that sounds like a great walk to undertake…
The best hike the Johnson family has done – was in the USA. We went to America in 2014 to visit Naomi’s brothers and while we were there we did a number of hikes. At the top of Glacier National Park Montana – there is a hike called the Highline Trail and it’s rated as one of the best one-day alpine hikes in the world. Anyway I convinced Naomi and the kids – it would be great. It said it was a one-day hike and when I read the brochure I was pretty sure it said the walk was only 13km. So despite Rachel being 4 and Liam 7 I figured we could do it. So with packed lunch, a couple of bottles of water and a backpack we drove our car to the top of the mountain and headed out.
At the 1km mark we came round a corner to be confronted with images like this (Slide 2). Yes, it’s as scary as it looks. And with the kids trying to look over the edge it made life interesting. I assured Naomi I wouldn’t let go of the kids hands – “yes, I promise and I double promise”, – so we headed on. And the hike meandered through all sorts of beautiful vistas like this (ENTER) and this (ENTER). But as mid afternoon came – it seemed like we still had a long way to go. So I checked the map again and worked out the hike was not 13km, it was 13 miles to the Granite Park Chalet (and then another 3 miles) down the side of the mountain to a carpark. At this point with Rachel wanting to be carried – I was getting nervous. Anyway, we eventually made it safely to the Chalet (Slide 4). It was wonderful. But then we still had to descend something like 3 million stairs back to the road, in the growing dark – with lots of signs like this – (Slide 6). At this point I was wishing I had spent the US $70 on bear pepper spray. Thankfully, we made it home.
Point is – if you are going for a long walk – its good to be prepared. The reason I tell you this – is that the book of Ephesians talks about walking 7 times. Paul basically says that we the church are going on a big hike together – and we need to know where we are headed, be careful how we walk, careful we don’t get blisters and make sure we bring a torch because it might be dark by the time we finish the hike AND there may be some unseen dangers lurking in the woods – worse than bears…