August 8th, 2021 – 11th Sunday after Pentecost
UPCOMING ACTIVITIES FOR WEEK OF: Aug 9nd – Aug 15th
Mon- Fri……………….. Preschool Summer Camps
Monday: ………………. 6:00pm Men’s Group
Thursday: ……………… 10:00am Bible Study
Sunday: …………………. 10:00am Worship
11:00am Bible Study
PRAYER THOUGHT AND MEDITATION
Paul’s letters typically have two sections. The front section is Paul’s big argument – what he is writing to express. And in most of the letters that is some form of the good news. In Ephesians we’ve heard the financial (“In him we have the redemption through his blood”), the familial (“We have obtained an inheritance”), and the cosmic (“he chose us in him before the foundation of the world”). And Paul has developed his argument such that we have a cosmic equity (“one Spirit…one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God the Father”) while also receiving different gifts. Today’s Epistle lesson (Eph 4:17-5:2) starts the second section. Our translation chooses to use an emphatic change word “now…now this I say and testify.” Now, remembering that argument. Now, on the basis of all that good news. Now, since you have heard the big picture. Let me – the apostle Paul– try to apply this to some specific problems in life. In many of the letters, Paul has to be responding to other letters sent to him. Ephesians feels like one of those letters. How do you live the Christian life, let me tell you.
This inheritance, this election, this redemption, is not so that you can just go on living as you have. “You must no longer walk as the Gentiles do in the futility of their minds.” You know! You have the mind of Christ. You have been enlightened with His gifts. He bought you with his blood not so that you could live like animals but so that you would be “the new-self created in the likeness of God in true righteousness.” Using the gospel to justify “deceitful desires” is “grieving the Holy Spirit.” What might we be talking about? Oh, let me see what people have written.
“Put away falsehood, let each one speak truth with his neighbor.”
“Be angry but do not sin.” Settle your arguments so the devil has no opportunity.
“Tell the thief to get a job.”
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up.” What did mom say? If you can’t say anything good, don’t say anything?
“Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor and slander be put away, along with all malice.” So you didn’t listen to the first warning about anger, I mean it.
Instead of all these “be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving.” But the Christian life is not one run by a checklist. The law is helpful, but you are not under the law, and it has no power anyway. The reason you have been chosen from before time and given an inheritance is because you are the children of God. As such you are imitators of God. “Walk in love as Christ love us.” Follow Christ. Out of his love, love your fellow believer.
Paul’s examples pick back up in parts that our lectionary leaves out. What does love not look like? Read Eph 5:3-5. Instead, what does walking look like? Read next week. But there is one last bit to contemplate. There are plenty of passages that would universalize the behavior that Paul is talking about (ex. The Good Samaritan), but Ephesians is concerned with how Christians treat each other. You collectively have been chosen. “We are members of one another.” If we are one body growing into the fullness of Christ, this is the life blood – love. If we do not have this, we are nothing.
We haven’t had a men’s group in a while. I’m lighting the grill Monday. Everyone of the male persuasion welcome. I’ve put out a sign-up, but if you aren’t on, don’t let that stop you.
- Thurs 10am: We are going to be looking at the short book of Jude which has an interesting problem. Come Join!
- Confirmation: Returns in September
- Life Application Fellowship (LAF): Returns in September
- Sunday Morning: Study will be at 11:15ish, after worship, Walking through the Gospel of Mark
- Catechism Moment: I promise to be back.