Rev. Greg Mech | March 24, 2018 | Saturday Night Service | 6:00 pm
“To the Ephesians” Power Walk 2.29
Children of God; Who Am I
Pastor: During the two years Paul was under house arrest in Rome, he instructed many in the faith. He also used the time to write at least two epistles, one to the Colossians and one intended to circulate among several scattered churches where Paul had never served. Though we know Paul had spent years in Ephesus, the saints there apparently also received a copy of that letter, or, at least, they obtained and preserved a copy.Paul begins his letter with one of the longest sentences you are ever likely to read: verses 3-14, here broken into smaller sentences to make sense to us. Paul shares the hope that is ours in the doctrine of predestination, telling these Christians he had never met, “I might not know you, but you have always been known to God.”
Pastor: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.
Reader 1: In love he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,
Reader 2: to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.
Pastor: In him we have redemption through his blood,
Reader 1: the forgiveness of our trespasses,
Reader 2: according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us,
Reader 1: in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose,
Reader 2: which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
Reader 1: In him we have obtained an inheritance,
Reader 2: having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,
Reader 1: so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.
Reader 2: In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, 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.
Pastor: Among the most cherished images Paul shares with us is that of the Christian clad in the Whole Armor of God. Since Paul was imprisoned when he wrote this epistle, with soldiers always at the door, he may have been drawing metaphors from the uniforms of the Romans. Their armor and weaponry were specific and appropriate to their purpose; so, too, is ours. As the uniforms of many soldiers in our history were stamped GI-government issued-so ours is GI-God issued.
Paul was likely drawing also on poetic imagery from the prophet Isaiah, especially chapters 11 and 59.
Isaiah 11:1–5 The Belt of Righteousness and Faithfulness
Pastor: There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,
People: the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and might,
the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
Pastor: And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.
People: He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
or decide disputes by what his ears hear,
but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
Pastor: and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
People: Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist,
and faithfulness the belt of his loins.
Ephesians 6:10–18 The Whole Armor of God
Reader 3: Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.
Men: For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers,
Women: against the authorities,
Men: against the cosmic powers over this present darkness,
Women: against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
Reader 3: Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore,
Men: having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,
Women: and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.
Reader 3: In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;
Men: and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,
Women: praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.
Reader 3: To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,
Isaiah 59:1–4, 15–17 The Breastplate of Righteousness, the Helmet of Salvation
Reader 3: 1Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear; 2but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.
3For your hands are defiled with blood and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies; your tongue mutters wickedness. 4No one enters suit justly; no one goes to law honestly; they rely on empty pleas, they speak lies, they conceive mischief and give birth to iniquity. 15Truth is lacking, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey. The Lord saw it, and it displeased him that there was no justice.16He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no one to intercede; then his own arm brought him salvation, and his righteousness upheld him. 17He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on his head; he put on garments of vengeance for clothing, and wrapped himself in zeal as a cloak.
God of Angel Armies (Whom Shall I Fear); In Christ Alone
Sermon and Prayers
Pastor: Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Created by Lutheran Service Builder © 2006 Concordia Publishing House. CClI License # 11356333