August News

MacLaren's Expositions

 

          EPHESIANS  

 ‘THE MEASURE OF GRACE’


Ephesians 4:7  The Apostle here makes a swift transition from the thought of the unity of the Church to the variety of gifts to the individual. ‘Each’ is contrasted with ‘all.’ The Father who stands in so blessed and gracious a relationship to the united whole also sustains an equally gracious and blessed relationship to each individual in that whole. It is because each receives His individual gift that God works in all. The Christian community is the perfection of individualism and of collectivism, and this rich variety of the gifts of grace is here urged as a reason additional to the unity of the one body, for the exhortation to the endeavour to maintain the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.

 

I. Each Christian soul receives grace through Christ.

The more accurate rendering of the Revised Version reads ‘the grace,’ and the definite article points to it as a definite and familiar fact in the Ephesian believers to which the Apostle could point with the certainty that their own consciousness would confirm his statement. The wording of the Greek further implies that the grace was given at a definite point in the past, which is most naturally taken to have been the moment in which each believer laid hold on Jesus by faith. It is further to be noted that the content of the gift is the grace itself and not the graces which are its product and manifestation in the Christian life. And this distinction, which is in accordance with Paul’s habitual teaching, leads us to the conclusion, that the essential character of the grace given through the act of our individual faith is that of a new vital force, flowing into and transforming the individual life. From that unspeakable gift which Paul supposed to be verifiable by the individual experience of every Christian, there would follow the graces of Christian character in which would be included the deepening and purifying of all the natural capacities of the individual self, and the casting out from thence of all that was contrary to the transforming power of the new life.

 

Such an utterance as this, so quietly and confidently taking for granted that the experience of every believer verifies it in his own case, may well drive us all to look more earnestly into our own hearts, to see whether in them are any traces of a similar experience. If it be true, that to every one of us is given the grace, how comes it that so many of us dare not profess to have any vivid remembrance of possessing it, of having possessed it, or of any clear consciousness of possessing it now? There may be gifts bestowed upon unconscious receivers, but surely this is not one of these. If we do not know that we have it, it must at least remain very questionable whether we do have it at all, and very certain that we have it in scant and shriveled fashion.

 

The universality of the gift was a startling thing in a world which, as far as cultivated heathenism was concerned, might rightly be called aristocratic, and by the side of a religion of privilege into which Judaism had degenerated. The supercilious sarcasm in the lips of Pharisees, ‘This people which knoweth not the law are cursed,’ but too truly expresses the gulf between the Rabbis and the ‘folk of the earth’ as the masses were commonly and contemptuously designated by the former. Into the midst of a society in which such distinctions prevailed, the proclamation that the greatest gift was bestowed upon all must have come with revolutionary force, and been hailed as emancipation. Peter had penetrated to grasp the full meaning and wondrous novelty of that universality, when on Pentecost he pointed to ‘that which had been spoken by the prophet Joel’ as fulfilled on that day, ‘I will pour forth of my Spirit upon all flesh ... Yea, and on my servants and handmaidens ... will I pour forth of my Spirit.’ The rushing, mighty wind of that day soon dropped. The fiery tongues ceased to quiver on the disciples’ heads, and the many voices that spoke were silenced, but the gift was permanent, and is poured out now as it was then, and now, as then, it is true that the whole company of believers receive the Spirit, though alas! by their own faults it is not true that ‘they are all filled with the Holy Spirit.’




PANTRY OF HOPE:  Open Tuesdays 3 – 5 p.m.



THANK YOU to Barbara Morash for her service as our Music Director for the past five years.  She has been instrumental in bringing people into the church, as well as holding several fundraising concerts and performances which brought in money to support our music program.  We will all miss her many talents, and our prayers and blessings will continue to be with Barbara and her family.  Her last Sunday with us was July 30, 2017.


FAIR UP-DATE MEETING will be held on Wednesday, August 2nd, at 6 p.m. in the Coffee Hour Room.  Pizza, salad and ice cream sundaes will be served!  We hope that the chairpersons of each area can attend and everyone else is invited.   We will talk about some new ideas, how to improve the way we have done things in the past, and the importance of advertising.   If you cannot attend, but want to share some ideas, please let us know.  We're anticipating having a wonderful fair with lots of people shopping, visiting, eating great food and having fun!    Thanks, Pat and Beverly      Pat 617-827-9222   Beverly  781-665-4067


FAIR UPDATE - WHITE ELEPHANT SMALL ITEMS MAY BE BROUGHT TO THE CHURCH  The November Fair seems far away, but preparation starts in the summer with organizing and planning the details. Some people are working on crafts at home,  and we will be having a special craft night at church soon.   What can everyone do to help?   As you're cleaning at home and have items that you no longer need, please put them aside for the fair.  You may know someone who would like to donate items and you can connect them to someone on the fair committee.  Do you have jewelry, scarves, handbags, Vintage clothing, new gift items, china, silverware, knick knacks, collectibles, dishes or cookware, toys, tools, Christmas and craft items, and more that you would like to donate to the church?  You may bring them to Social Hall and put them on the stage and we will go through them during the summer to separate for the different areas of the fair.  Large items will be accepted after Labor Day.  Please let us know if we can answer any questions.   This is a big event each year and we need everyone's help!  We are looking for people to be greeters to welcome and direct visitors as they come in.  We also need workers at the various tables, help with food preparation, work at the Silent Auction table, and help with advertising.  We have jobs for everyone!  The fair is a lot of work, but so much fun!  We have a wonderful team and we have lots of laughs and a good time as we work together for this great outreach to the community. 


THE PANTRY OF HOPE will be focusing on specific needs for our clients in the coming months.  While we will always accept monetary donations, please note that we will continue to collect Personal Toiletries for the month of August (i.e. soap, toothpaste, shampoo/conditioner, deodorant).  There will be an area in the Coffer Hour room to bring your donations.  Thank you for supporting our clients!  



VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL NEWS  This year’s theme is ““Maker Fun Factory: Created by God; Built for a Purpose”.  V.B.S. will be held on August 14 – 18 from 8:30 AM – 12:00 PM.  The registration website is  open for business and taking registrations.  You may also register by calling the church office at 781-665-4470.  Thank you!


CHILDREN’S CHURCH will be held during the summer, and it will be for PreK through the 5th grade.  We are looking for volunteers for the month of August, and an activity and possible a craft will be provided.  If you are interested, please speak with Karen Rivera.


BRICK CAMPAIGN  There will be an order for bricks this fall. This is a good time to buy a brick for the sidewalk around the front of the church building.  Bricks are a way to remember a person important in your life, stating your favorite Bible verse, or in honor of a church group.  It is a joy to walk over the sidewalk and be reminded of people we all knew and loved.  The bricks are $100 each and part of that money goes into the Restoration Fund.  Please order your brick by using the form which is available in the Coffee Hour Room.



GIFT FROM THE FLORENCE WESTON ESTATE
The First Baptist Church appreciates the generous gift that was received recently from the Florence Weston Estate.  Florence was a long time member of the First Baptist Church and passed away at age 100 a few months ago.
   


THE "LITTLE DRESSES FOR AFRICA" PROJECT IS ALREADY A SUCCESS!  Thank you Linda and Sandy for bringing back this idea from a mission conference.   We have a good team of women working on this project which will be on-going  and we have produced over 25 pillow case dresses so far.  We want to thank Arlene for making 11 adorable dresses at home.  Ten people met on July 18th, and with three sewing machines, two ironing boards set up, and all ten people working together, we made lots of progress.  We want to thank the following people for participating on the 18th: June Cuttino, Ruth Paine, Marilyn Boynton, Linda Buttimer, Karen Rivera, Elisha Rivera, Beverly Schluntz, Pat Fish, Ann Stone (Pat's sister-in-law from Malden), and Alison Birch, a food pantry volunteer.  We not only produced dresses for a good cause, but had a lot of fun as we worked.  We hope everyone saw the nice article and photo in the July 23rd Melrose Weekly paper about the project.  We have had calls from other people that are interested in joining this project.  If you would like more information, please call Linda at 781-665-0575 or Pat at 617-827-9222.  The next date for making dresses is Monday, August 7th at 6:30 p.m. in the church library.  Everyone is invited!



BIBLE STUDIES will be held on Tuesday nights at 6:30 PM located at 212 Grove Street, Melrose.  The Wednesday morning group will be meeting in the church parlor at 10:00 AM.



COFFEE HOUR  Members of the congregation are responsible for Coffee Hour during the month of August.  Thank you to all who have signed up.