Pohutukawa Coast Presbyterian Church
Clevedon Presbyterian Church
Kawakawa Bay
Clevedon Kidz

A Bigger God - the Totality of Love

June 27, 2021
Mark Chapman

Ephesians  1:1-23 From Paul, who by God's will is an apostle of Christ Jesus—To God's people in Ephesus, who are faithful in their life in union with Christ Jesus: (2)  May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.  (3)  Let us give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! For in our union with Christ he has blessed us by giving us every spiritual blessing in the heavenly world.  (4)  Even before the world was made, God had already chosen us to be his through our union with Christ, so that we would be holy and without fault before him. Because of his love (5)  God had already decided that through Jesus Christ he would make us his children—this was his pleasure and purpose.  (6)  Let us praise God for his glorious grace, for the free gift he gave us in his dear Son!  (7)  For by the blood of Christ we are set free, that is, our sins are forgiven. How great is the grace of God,  (8)  which he gave to us in such large measure! In all his wisdom and insight  (9)  God did what he had purposed, and made known to us the secret plan he had already decided to complete by means of Christ.  (10)  This plan, which God will complete when the time is right, is to bring all creation together, everything in heaven and on earth, with Christ as head.  (11)  All things are done according to God's plan and decision; and God chose us to be his own people in union with Christ because of his own purpose, based on what he had decided from the very beginning.  (12)  Let us, then, who were the first to hope in Christ, praise God's glory!  (13)  And you also became God's people when you heard the true message, the Good News that brought you salvation. You believed in Christ, and God put his stamp of ownership on you by giving you the Holy Spirit he had promised.  (14)  The Spirit is the guarantee that we shall receive what God has promised his people, and this assures us that God will give complete freedom to those who are his. Let us praise his glory!  

A Bigger God – the Totality of Love

June 27 2021

May the Words of my mouth and thoughts of our hearts, be acceptable in your sight,

O Lord, our strength and our redeemer. Amen


(4)  Before the world was made, God had already chosen us to be his through our union with Christ, so that we would be holy and without fault before him. Because of his love  (5) God had already decided that through Jesus Christ he would make us his children—this was his pleasure and purpose.


My prayer this morning is that we surrender to the truth in Jesus

so that there may awaken within us

an understanding of life

that is beyond


And in surrendering know that behind this ever growing cosmos is a love that won’t let

you go. Enlarge your mind!


And that’s what the apostle Paul discovered.

That it was no longer just an exclusive group of people

that were loved of God

but all people.

And tis is not something that we can work out

Paul says that it’s actually foolishness

it’s not reasonable

nor is it something we can calculate.


But once we get it

a whole new picture of life emerges.


And I have to come back to the picture

the theme of falling in  love

it is unscientific

it is illogical

it defies wisdom

but when it happens we know that it is more real

than anything else.

It envelopes us

it explodes within

and everything changes

and that is what the apostle Paul found in the message of Jesus.

Prior to his encounter with Jesus

his God was exclusively for his people!

Then Jesus takes hold of him

and his whole world collapses so much

that he takes we think about two years off

while the vastness of God

that he has discovered in Jesus, takes hold

and blows his mind.


God is not just for his group

God is Lord of all the earth, of all peoples.


no exclusions.

It’s this immense picture

far beyond the little group who feel they have the market on God.


So a couple of observations

I’m not sure we come to that as men, until middle age

women I think the penny drops for you much earlier

but the consensus seem to be

that as men it takes us a while.

One suggestion is – men are supposedly doers.

We have to do something.


In my previous church we had a women’s weekend once a year

always over subscribed.

I suggested something for the men

and they said

we can’t just go

and have a speaker

and discuss our faith

We have to do something:

play rugby

fish, go surfing, whatever. Anything but be still!


And maybe men we have to do that for the first half of life

but then there must be an inward journey

where we discover who we are in God,

where we have to stop the doing

and walk in the dust of the master.

If we don’t as men, we tend to drop out of church

because it’s irrelevant to our doing gene.


But when as men we stop and surrender

then our vision enlarges

God becomes bigger that you can ever imagine

and we begin to realize we are nothing

and then we become everything.

And we are game changers.

It’s what is called, falling, upwards.

It’s a paradox – to become something we must lose everything!


I don’t think that as men and women

it is easy to let go and become nothing

we have spent so many years building up our ego

a sense of who we are without God

and then we find we have to let go.


Maybe that’s why Jesus said

it’s like taking up your cross.

Or what good is it to gain the world but lose your soul!


I remember years ago

in thought of God – it’s called meditating!

and I saw myself in a cardboard box.

I was comfortable and safe

and then I imagined myself pushing against the sides and the top

and the walls of the box pushed out

and I found myself in a much bigger cardboard box

safe and comfortable again.

But then I found I could touch the walls

and they gave way

and on and on

each time larger than before

and always more to discover.


And I began to realize that God was like that

Who God was at 7 or 10, or  as a teen,

was so limiting

and at 20 and 30,

discovering still more,

until now at this age I know less

because God is so much more.

The apostle Paul prayed that we might discover the dimensions of God’s love

reminding us

that we can never ever say, God’s love, God’s nature ends here.


It appears that this is what happened with Paul

and he had this glorious vision that the time would come

when God would bring all creation back together

overcoming all divisions

over coming bigotry


jealousy – all the things that destroy.


That in the end God would win

Love would prevail against every evil

every shred of darkness.

One Bible writer put it this way:

I Jesus God is saying – I will make all things new!


And for Paul the church was the group of people who understood this.

Understood the power of love

and what love could do

if we surrendered to God’s love.

If we would be ravaged by His love

so that all darkness would flee from us.


Then says Paul, everything changes.


Discover the greatness of God

discover that God will have the last word in your life

and mine

and the lives of all we know

and everything changes.

The way we look at people, the way we speak of them.

Our leaving judgments of others to God.


And then we discover this reality

that if we strip away human achievement

and what we think is important

we realize that there is no one more important than anyone else

in the eyes of God

based on what they

do, have

or their reputation.


No child is born

who is not less or more important than any other.

When Jesus taught the good news about God

children were a disposable item in the Roman world.

Girl babies were often unwanted

and so left in the elements to die

as were anyone less than perfect.

Jesus raised the status of children

simply by saying

let them come to me

for of such is the Kingdom of heaven

And so the early Christians began to safe children left to die.

Some say that’s where the term God parents came into being.


They considered all life sacred

and refused to allow children to be committed to the garbage dump.

Why? Because in Jesus, they saw a bigger picture of humanity.


There is no child

less important than another

and because all are different

the church needs be that people that embraces and cares for all.



All bear the image of God

all have the DNA of the Divine.


And I guess we realize this when we surrender to One

who holds all of life

in being

who works through all and is in all.


So my prayer this morning

may we all let go

admit that our thoughts of God

are tiny, tiny, tiny,

in comparison to the depth and purpose and love of God.

Surrender our little God

that the God we know in Jesus

might fill our hearts and minds.

In Jesus Name. Amen.


Now unto God the Father, God the Son and God, the holy Spirit, be all the honour and

glory, world without end. Amen

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