Twenty Fifth Sunday after Pentecost
Last Sunday Before Advent
This last Sunday of the lectionary year is devoted to the Reign of Christ the King. What does it mean for Christ to be King in an age of Brexit, Trump, fake news, lies and sexual misconduct in public life? Where, oh where, is the Kingdom to be found?
Things were different in first century Ephesus but maybe actually not all that different. People struggled with the same sort of issues and temptations. The pressure of empire was heavy upon the people and there were human rights abuses, misuse of wealth and power and no shortage of sexual immorality.
Into that culture, Paul wrote a letter to encourage those trying to live by this new faith in Christ the King, the crucified one, resurrected and now reigning, and willing his kingdom to come through those who would receive him.
Look at some of the keywords Paul uses to describe the new identity of these followers of the Christ. In Christ, they are now:
We can take even one of these descriptors and meditate on it and the Risen and Reigning Lord and Humble King will speak into our life and renew our mind, change the old track that’s been playing for too long and form new pathways to the Truth. This is how Christ reigns even in the midst of turmoil all around.
Great King of all
Reign in me
Reign all around
Until your Kingdom comes
Questions for discussion:
Can you think of a time of uncertainty, turmoil or transition in your own life? What did it feel like? How was you faith in God affected?
What does it mean to be sealed with the Holy Spirit? What difference does this make to the way we live our lives? In what way is this just a first instalment?
Were we really ‘dead’ before we came to faith in Christ? What does a dead spirit look like?
In verse 3, the NIV says, “blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ” whereas the Message translation, tells us that God “takes us to the high places of blessing in him”. What does this mean?
The passage talks about believers being adopted into God’s family through Jesus Christ. What does it mean to be adopted into a family? Is anyone willing to share their experience?
The Message translation of verse 11 doesn’t say we’re chosen and predestined but instead says, “It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for.” Is there a difference and what does it mean anyway?
In verse 22, the NIV says, “God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church” whereas the Message translation says “The church is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church.” How can the church avoid a superiority complex?
If Christ reigns as King, where is his kingdom now?