In chapel last week we looked at Ephesians 4:1–16. This is quite a well-known part of the Bible that has at least two very important lessons for the church today.

The first is that unity among the people of God is an absolutely essential manifestation of the gospel at work in their lives. One of the amazing lessons from chapters 2 and 3 of Ephesians is that the gospel has forged two very different groups of people—Jews and Gentiles—into a new fellowship that runs far deeper than any divides between them. Now, in 4:1–6, the call is for Christians to actively embody that fact in the ways they relate to each other.

This may not always be easy; it will require ‘humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.’ But it is critical that Christians strive for this unity—again, it cannot just be an abstract concept that is only agreed to in principle. It must be actively lived out.

The second lesson from verses 11 to 16 is that the church should be growing more and more into Christ. This requires our unity—Christ has one body, not many—but includes more too. In particular, it requires us to be stable in our beliefs so that we are not ‘children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming.’

Sadly, there is a great deal of doctrinal novelty in and around some parts of the church today. Things that no Christians in history have ever countenanced are now being put to believers as reasonable ideas to accept and adopt. The result is much division and confusion.

But the solution is also graciously provided by God. He has gifted the church with various types of ministers of the word who equip us all to build each other up in the truth and true ways of Christ (vv11–13). Pastor-teachers are the ones we perhaps know best. These care for us by feeding us with the word of God much like a shepherd feeds their sheep. We are thankful for these servants among us and here at Bible College SA, and we are thankful to God for entrusting us with forming another generation of word ministers for this generation and the next.

Tim Patrick

On Saturday 12 October, from 9.45am to 12noon, Bible College SA is having an Open Day for prospective future students to come and hear what it would be like to do some study with us. We begin by explaining the reasons for coming to Bible college and the ways it benefits our students and their ministries. Then, we introduce our staff team, talk about our accreditation, academic courses and pathways, and overview our formation program. Finally, we do a tour of the building, hear from some current students, and have a time for questions.

One point that we will make on the day is how much our study can benefits others. Although no one ever regrets studying at College, we don’t come just for the sake of our own spiritual growth—although we expect all our students will grow significantly—or just to stimulate our own minds and feed our own interests. Rather, we come so that we might be better equipped to serve under Jesus.

Some students start out very clear that, God willing, they are preparing for full-time vocational Christian work of one kind or another. Others are planning to head back to other work, but want to be further equipped to serve in their churches as Bible study leaders, occasional preachers, elders, kids’ group leaders or similar. Yet others come to College not knowing exactly what they want to do when they leave, but their plans develop as they study.

There is a great need for more well-formed women and men to serve Jesus across our city and state. If you know of someone who you think could be a faithful servant of the gospel in the years ahead, in whatever capacity, please consider encouraging them to come along to our Open Day. There’s no cost and no obligation, just a great opportunity to explore getting better equipped.

Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself?
I love Jesus and trust him with my life. I have previously taught in primary schools and I am now studying with BCSA. I co-coordinate a few Mercy/Word ministries of St Barnabas Church Croydon and involved in teaching and evangelism alongside full time study. I am married to my gracious wife Chrystal and we have a delightful son called Abel Oak.

What are you currently studying?
I am currently studying a Graduate Diploma in Divinity but transitioning to a Masters of Divinity. The courses I am participating in at the moment are:
1. Introduction to Preaching
2. Early New Testament Church
3. Introduction to Biblical Theology
I am also completing the Ministry Formation aspect of BCSA which has involved studying how to contextualise the gospel of Jesus while still proclaiming the true gospel of Jesus.

What do you like most about studying at BCSA?
Much to like but the lecturers provide knowledge of God's Word that enhances my learning and they teach me how to approach learning from God. This is immensely valuable to learn from older brothers in Christ. Furthermore, the lecturers offer insightful questions to stir my thoughts. That leads to more careful consideration of what God wants of me and everyone. The teaching and learning with BCSA has been a significant step for my life as I walk in step with the Spirit. I also thank God for the many students and staff at BCSA that have been a part of enabling me to mature in Christ.

In what ministry do you hope to work when you finish at BCSA?
I hope that my wife and I will be sent by our church in partnership with Church Missionary Society (CMS) to a country with high proportions of refugees. I am concerned by the violence/persecution in some countries which leads to more people being internally displaced or becoming refugees. The momentous news of Jesus needs to reach not only our hearts and our neighbours here but people who are going through significant hardship and possibly persecution. The people in those countries need eternal peace with God above anything this world can offer.

What is one thing you are learning at the moment that is particularly insightful?
I am learning of the significant place of persecution for the early church in aiding the spreading of the Word of God. It was through the persecution to disciples of Jesus in Jerusalem that led to many scattering beyond Jerusalem proclaiming the Word. When the apostle Paul was persecuted in different cities or towns he then left to continue proclaiming the gospel in other towns and cities. Whenever persecution comes my way or to brothers and sisters in Christ, I want us to pray for more boldness to continue preaching the gospel of Jesus without fear of others (Acts 3:23-31).

• Give thanks that the gospel creates a fundamental unity between Christian believers of all backgrounds. Pray that we will actively embody this unity in South Australia.

• Give thanks that Jesus has given his church people who equip us to build each other up by feeding us with his word. Pray that the current Bible College SA students will be great servants of God’s word and his people when they graduate.

• Pray that many people would come to our Open Day on 12 October, and especially that God would be raising up another generation of gospel workers through our local churches.

• Give thanks that Mark Kulikovsky, our New Testament Lecturer, has just submitted his PhD for examination after working on it for around seven years. Pray that it would pass without any issues and that Mark’s students would continue to benefit from all that he learned through the course of this degree.

Please also remember Evangelical Theological College of Asia in your prayers. Pray that God will use Andrew Reid and the whole team to prepare the next generations of gospel workers for Singapore, Asia and beyond.

Tuesday 24 September
City to City Incubator Day 3 - Cameron Munro

Saturday 12 October
Open Day 2019
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