The Practicality of Theology
By Ryan Welsh
It’s not too often that a guy walks in to church on Sunday morning wearing a self-made name tag that says “My name is Tim, I’m new here and I want to learn more about Jesus." But that is exactly what happened one Sunday.
I welcomed him and found out that he wasn’t mocking or joking at all, he really did come to Mars Hill Downtown Seattle a few Sunday's ago to learn more about Jesus. God brings new people to Mars Hill every week that want to learn more about Jesus, but it was never this easy to identify them.
After a brief conversation with Tim I learned that he was “saved at the age of ten, but since had fallen away from Jesus and lost his salvation.”
I invited him to listen to the sermon and talk afterwards. While listening to the sermon with Tim on my mind, I was amazed at the practicality of theology.
Pastor Mark preached his second sermon in Ephesians and focused on some great, but often overlooked, if not avoided, doctrines.
“Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:4)
“In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will” (Eph. 1:11)
“In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, you were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory” (Eph. 1:13-14)
I love theology, I love debating theology, and I love teaching theology! So of course I love reading and studying Ephesians 1. However, I hadn’t ever read these verses through the eyes of a self-proclaimed “former believer.” On Sunday, with Tim on my mind, I realized how incredibly practical these doctrines truly are.
Tim and I talked after the sermon for about an hour. He said, “I know I’m a believer, I thought I had lost my salvation because of all the bad things I had done since becoming a Christian as a boy. Now I get it... Jesus loves me and chose me and holds on to me.”
I said, “Exactly!”
I could see the signs of relief on his face. He came to church that morning thinking he needed to be saved again by a God that had shunned him years ago and he left knowing he was still saved and will always be saved by a loving and faithful God.