Ephesians

In Ephesians 4:13 it states "This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God's son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ." (NLV)

What is going to continue? The previous verses tell us, it is the giving of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. These are the gifts of grace given to the Body of Christ in Christ's ascension. These are not given before Jesus ascended, but in his ascension, that is while he is seated at the Father's right hand in heaven.

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Return To Your First Love



At the commencement of this message John Alley reads an email testimony from one of the Fellowship which delivers a word from God regarding “necrosis”, or death of tissue within the body. Our greatest dangers, says John, are hardness of heart and coldness of heart. The key to recovery is humility and repentance. Tony Ponicke takes up the message with an illustration of the way in which becoming accustomed to something causes us to become less aware of the reality of it. Tony reads from Revelation Chapter 2, where the Lord dictates a letter to the church at Ephesus – “...you have forsaken your first love...” Indifference, says Tony, is an enemy that takes hold of our hearts. We go through the motions of being in love with Jesus but there is no heart in it. We sing songs but we do not worship. “Remember the height from which you have fallen...” says the letter to the church at Ephesus. Tony echoes that instruction with some keys for our use: Worship from the heart; pray and study the Bible; give with joy and love and give ourselves in service to others. This is a message to provoke the listener to solemn consideration of their individual positioning with regard to salvation and the state of our hearts towards our Lord and Saviour.

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Other Messages About: Discipleship, Gospel, Ephesians

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Taking The Long View



Many believers grew up with the teaching that the world was almost at an end, says John Alley. Thus it was that the vision we have had for the nations has been limited. And yet, even while the church held this view, the kingdom of God was all the while advancing in the nations. With the passing of the early apostles, says John, there began a decline in the doctrine of the church. Some have taught that following the restoration of the five-fold ministry the return of Christ would be imminent. However, this is not accurate, for apostles (and the apostolic nature of the church) are being restored not as the end in itself, but for the purposes of God through the gospel in the earth. Ultimately, it has always been about discipling the nations, and there is a great history yet to be written, with many, many biblical prophecies concerning the gospel and the Kingdom of Christ in the nations yet to be fulfilled. In any case, whilst there has been some progress in the restoration of apostles to the church, we have not yet seen the restoration of apostolic authority, only the wider acceptance of the idea of having apostles. According to Ephesians 4, it is clear that Christ remains in His ascended rule at the Father's right hand and continues to appoint apostles etc “until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the full measure of the fullness of Christ." In other words, there is much to be done. John appealed for the opening up of our minds to see that everywhere the whole weight of scripture had in view a very long history for mankind, the earth, salvation, and the glory of the Messiah in the nations. John concludes his message with the thought that while the world is not about to end, for each of us individually life can be uncertain – we are each to live daily ready to meet God, while at the same time planning to live a long, fruitful life and working for the extension of God’s kingdom in the earth.

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Other Messages About: End Times, Eschatology, Ephesians, Nations, Service

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Good Works & Dead Works



John Alley begins this message with 5 points from his previous messages about the purpose of the Lord’s Day. The final of these points was that there is a spiritual experience of Christ that we are meant to walk in – faith rest. John goes on to present a simple yet profound comparison between good works, which come from a place of rest, and dead works, which come from human striving. These two different types of works, says John, begin with and are classified by what we believe, who we believe, and in what (or whom) we put our trust. Dead works are of the flesh and lead only to death, while good works are what we were created for and were prepared or us from the beginning of time. And yet, says John, often our works are a mixture of both. John gives helpful illustrations of the heart motives that could be at the heart of two people doing identical works, both of which in themselves seem good and have good outcomes. If we do things to obtain righteousness, then our works are dead. God will give righteousness as a grace gift, but not if strive to be “worthy” of the gift. John presents several verses of Scripture. To illustrate good works, John brings verses from Ephesians 2 and Philippians 2 and then to warn against dead works he brings verses from Hebrews6 and 9 and John 6. John concludes this inspiring message with words from the apostle Paul, who spoke of building with gold, silver and precious stones or wood, hay and stubble.

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Other Messages About: Works, Ephesians, Philippians, John, Flesh

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Power In Your Spirit



These day s we are surrounded by lots of electronic devices which have their place, but are they the cause of many Christians being more “in the mind” than in the Spirit on the Lord’s day – or any other day? John Alley explores the whole subject of the soul and the spirit of man, explaining that while God has breathed His spirit into man, our spirit is dead in sin until such time as we become born again of the Spirit. When we fail to grow and become strong in the Spirit, says John, our spirit is weak and may be bound, preventing us from fully walking with God. Every Christian needs to be strong in spirit – not in an aggressive, willful way, but with a calm and quiet heart. John teaches from the Scriptures, taking passages from the books of Ephesians, Revelation, John, Philippians, Galatians, Hebrews and 1 Corinthians, exhorting the people to worship God in spirit and in truth, putting no confidence in the flesh – we worship by the impulse of the Spirit. John also teaches regarding the dividing of soul and spirit by the word of God as well as the value of praying and singing in tongues as a means of strengthening the spirit within. John closes this excellent message with a reminder that every time we pray we should by faith step into the realm of the Spirit and find God by surrender.

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Other Messages About: Prayer, Power, Galatians, Ephesians, 1 Corinthians

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The Times In Which We Live



John Alley begins his message today with responsive reading of a passage from Ephesians 4:29 to 5:21. He then goes on to tell the story of a city that he once visited and the effect of the secret sin of a Christian leader in that place. John speaks extensively of the great need of all of us to walk in the counsel of God and to guard ourselves against falling into the ways of the world. John closes by exhorting the listeners to be prayerful and to practice listening prayer, as God has taught us in the past.

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Other Messages About: Spiritual warfare, Ephesians, Times in Which We live Series

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