OUR EXAMPLE based on Ephesians 5:21-33
When we think of the term submission, it often comes with a negative connotation. We think that to submit means to give up our identity and become a doormat that people can walk over. Sometimes, we see it used as a weapon to force one individual to bow to the will and command of another. But real submission is radically different from perception! Matter of fact, one who truly has mastered the discipline of submission is so radical, that the world does not know how to respond, for that individual has flipped the societal expectations upside down! Real Biblical submission is to willingly come and order our lives under the mission of another, specifically God!
Submission is difficult, for submission is counter to our human nature. However, submission can be achieved if we are willing to put in the work! Paul encouraged the Philippians and us today to have the same attitude as Christ Jesus (2:5), pointing to Jesus as the ultimate example of submission. How did Jesus demonstrate submission?
- Honest, self-evaluation of our own identity (2:1, 6). Jesus was fully God, and he knew it! He was comfortable with his nature and his identity (see the I AM statements of John). But what was key was Jesus allowed his nature, character, and identity as God to shape how he interacted with our world instead of allowing the world to dictate who he should be. Israel wanted a Messiah who was militaristic, marching into Caesar’s palace and bringing an end to the Roman occupation. But Jesus’ mission was to redeem humanity, to restore his creation!
Do we know who we are? Is our identity shaped by God, or by other people? Do we change who we are depending on who we gather around us? If we are Christians, then we are little Christs–we should look and act like Jesus! Paul gave some examples of what this can look like: being united with Christ, finding comfort in his love, sharing together the same Spirit, and being filled with tenderness and compassion.
- Break the hold of power (2:2, 6). Even though Jesus was fully God, he did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, or, as in other translations, something to be used to his advantage. In ancient cultures and religions (outside of Judaism/Christianity), humanity lived to serve the gods. When a god revealed themselves, all praise and adulation went in their direction. The deities had no responsibilities and could abuse that power. But Jesus, being fully God, broke the hold of power. Instead of wielding it, he cast it aside!
To break the hold of power we need to break the way of culture which creates winners and losers. Instead, as Paul counseled, we need to become like-minded, have the same love, and become one in heart and mind. Instead of elevating one over everyone, we all work together to achieve God’s purpose!
- Let go of living for self (2:3, 7). Instead of using that power, the text said that Jesus “made himself nothing.” The Greek term kenosis is best translated as “emptying.” Jesus emptied himself of any shred of power or self-importance and became a human being. He demonstrated “not my will, but yours” in how he came to earth to redeem humanity. Jesus lived for us!
How can we do this? Paul encourages us to do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. This means we should make decisions not for our personal benefit, but in a way that brings people to God.
- Serve others (2:4, 7). Jesus became a servant. He healed the sick, ministered to those in need, and had fellowship with the outcasts to point them to hope and show them a God who cares. The Son of Man did not come to serve, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many (Matt 20:28). Forced servitude is always wrong; but when we willingly serve another, it esteems them value and show them God loves them. We can do this by considering others more valuable than ourselves (2:4).
- Empathy for others (2:3, 7-8). Jesus not only served humanity, but he also took on human likeness. He experienced what we experienced. He lived how we lived. He knows firsthand what it means to have relationships with other human beings, to work, to struggle, and to rejoice. He was willing to enter the story of another and experience life through their eyes. Because of this, he was able to identify our struggles and show us the path of reconciliation, for he himself was without sin!
We can share each other’s pain. We can listen to the hearts of our neighbors with the same care that Jesus did!
- Humility and obedience through sacrifice (2:8). Jesus humbled himself, resisting the urge to preserve himself. He was so humble, he was obedient, following the directives of God the Father even to the point of his crucifixion on the cross! Instead of self-preservation, he gave his life to redeem his beloved creation. It was not about him but about our salvation!
We are called to have the same attitude as Christ. Can we follow his example of submission to the will of God? Who knows who might come to know Jesus through our faithfulness?!
Questions for Reflection
1) Who are we? Is our identity shaped by Jesus, or by other human beings?
2) In what area of your life are you unwilling to relinquish control to God?
3) Why is it difficult to break free from the urge to live for ourselves instead of others?
4) In what practical ways can you serve others to show them the good news of Jesus?
5) What has God asked you to do that you are resistant to obey? Can you take that step of surrender?
Application: Pray that God would grow your empathy for other people, especially those who do not have a relationship with Jesus!
This Sunday, Pastor Ryan will continue the study in the discipline of submission with the sermon titled, “Heart of Submission”, based on Ephesians 5:21-33. How should we submit to one another? What does Christ’s sacrifice have to do with it? Come or tune in on Sunday to find out!
Daily Bible Readings for September 5 – 11
September 5: Genesis 3:1-16 How was submission between spouses corrupted by sin?
September 6: Genesis 4:1-16 What prevents submission to God?
September 7: Genesis 6:1-8 What is the ultimate result of a lifestyle that does not submit to God?
September 8: Genesis 6:9-22 How did Noah submit to God?
September 9: Genesis 7:1-16 What was the blessing of submission to God?
September 10: Genesis 9:1-17 What was God’s covenant with humanity? How can we submit to God?
September 11: Genesis 11:1-9 What role did a lack of submission play in the tower of Babel?
This Week’s Events:
Thursday, August 31–All Team Budgets Due
Sunday, September 10–Children’s Church during worship @ 11 am
Monday, September 11–Timothy Bible Study resumes @ 7 pm
Thursday, September 21–Leadership Team Meeting @ 7 pm
Saturday, October 14–Fall Festival, 9 am – 12 pm
Submission– Spiritual Discipline Challenge
Submission is the discipline of bringing and ordering our lives fully under the mission of God. This week, I would like you to take a sheet of paper and divide it into four columns. In the far left column write Mentally/Emotionally at the top. In the second column, write the word Physically. In the third column, write the Word Spiritually. In the far right column, write the word Relationally.
Then, in each column, write down all the ways you act in that column throughout the course of a typical week. For example, under the column Physically I personally might write “counting my calories.” Do this every day for the next three days until you have populated a good list under each column. On Friday, I want you to evaluate the contents of each column and ask, “Does this item reflect my faith?” If a specific entry does not reflect your faith, then I want you to circle it. After you have made your circles, I want you to take a little time each day to offer that up in prayer to God, asking him to help your faith more in everything you do and submit it to God!
If you are a newer attendee at Beaver Creek, please call the office or leave in the offering plate your birth date so we do not miss anyone!
CALL FOR CANDY
Our Fall Festival is slated for Saturday, October 14. As the date approaches, we will have a call for volunteers for the specific stations again. But for now, we need candy! We use the fun-sized, trick-or-treat-sized pieces of candy for the prizes for the games. We need both chocolate and non-chocolate options. A box will be placed in the narthex of the church. Please bring some donations of candy and place them in the box. The more we have, the more we can bless the children of our community!
Call for Worship Leaders and Children’s Story
We are in need of both worship leaders and children’s storytellers. Contact Alice Over (worship leading) or Phyllis Simmons (children’s story) if you want to serve.
CHILDREN’S CHURCH & NURSERY
There will be Children’s Church this Sunday, September 10.
Call to Prayer
Let us continue to pray for our nation in the following ways:
1) National return to God
2) Repentance of personal sin
3) Repentance of corporate sin
4) Healing for the brokenness of relationships
5) Our leaders
7) Guidance for our congregation in the days ahead
What do you want to see at Beaver Creek? What are some ideas you have for the long-term growth of our congregation? Any outrageous outreach ideas? Please either email Pastor Ryan or write them down and place them in the brown suggestion box in the narthex. Dream big!
The Christian Education Team is looking for six to eight volunteers for the nursery during the Sunday School hour and church hour. There will be a signup sheet in the back. If you would be willing to volunteer to allow our families to be able to participate in worship, please let one of the members of Christian Education know (Theresa Eckard, Scott McAvoy, Becky Whitmore), or sign up on the signup sheet!
Sight & Sound Interest
The Fidelis class is looking at sponsoring a church-wide trip to Sight & Sound in 2024. But before the class can investigate bus prices and total cost, we want to gauge the true interest in the church. We have had several express interest and are trying to the best package for us as a church body. If you are interested and would like to be considered for this one-day event next year, please contact the office or let Pastor Ryan know in the next few weeks.
Four Ways to Give!
1) Mail your tithe to the church office
2) Drop it by the church office on Tuesday, Thursday, or Friday, 9 am – 1 pm
3) Our online giving platform: https://beavercreekchurchva.churchcenter.com/giving
4) Place in the offering plate on Sunday!
Continue to Keep in Prayer our members in Skilled Care Facilities: Mary G Miller, Shirley Miller & Carolyn Wine
Keep Evy Kaye’s friend Mary Beth and Tami Plaugher’s friend Vicki as they both are wrestling with cancer.
Eddie Baker (health)
Terri Burkholder (health)
Deanne Dastoli (health)
Patsy Dastoli (health)
Elijah Tucker Dean (health)
Natalie Dodge (health)
Bill Eckard (health)–currently at RMH recovering from his most recent setback.
Cindy Heatwole (health)
Bob Hess (health)
Reba Kline (surgery)–has a torn rotator cuff and will need surgery in the near future. Will update once we have a date.
Darlene LaPrade (health)–will begin taking a regimen of B-12 shots.
Mark Martin (health)
Barbara Meadows (health)
Betty Miller (health)
Norlen Miller (health)
Mary G Miller (health)
Mary M Miller (recovery)
John Miller (COVID)
Savannah Miller (health)–continuing to improve!
Tami Plaugher (health)
Ann Simmons (health)–dealing with an episode of gout, while continuing to battle with Afib. She possibly will need to amputate another toe.
Crystal Smith (health)
Norma Suter (surgery)–is continuing her recovery from her hip replacement surgery at VMRC. She is in Oak Lea, Room 101.
Whitmore family (house)
Mary Whitmore (health)
Cindy Wittig (health)
Shelvy Wittig (health)
Bill Wood (surgery)
Pastor Ryan Cooper
Beaver Creek Church