MISSION WOODS CHURCH
Worship Sunday August 15 2021
      • Bible Trivia
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      • Bible Trivia
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  • Let there be Praise
  • Jesus Name Above All Names
  • Fairest Lord Jesus
  • Grace Like Rain
  • We continue in our journey through the book of Ephesians today, and our text for today comes from the Lectionary is Ephesians 5:15-20.
    So lets jump in and see what God has for us in our reading from the Holy Bible.
    Ephesians 5:15–20 ESV
    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 your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
    This is a reading from God’s Holy Word.
    Thanks be to God.

    Tending the Flame

    One of the challenges of preaching, and indeed of following the Lectionary is not just the texts that are chosen or given, but sometimes what is left out. If you’ve been here weekly this summer you know that we’ve been working our way through this writing attributed to the Apostle Paul to the church at Ephesus. We’ve been following the lectionary readings for the day throughout this summer. So, you also are aware that we ended last week with Ephesians 5:2, and today we pick up at vs. 15.
    But what did Paul talk about in vs. 3-14?
    And we end at verse 20 today, and next week we jump in at Ephesians 6:10, but what of verses 21-33 of chapter 5, and 6:1-9 in chapter 6?
    This is one of the reasons why I always encourage people when they go to church to bring their own Bibles, or at least find a church supplied one. Especially in our church world today when more often than not the Scriptures is projected onto a screen and we don’t see the full context of the passage being preached on. Is the pastor using the proper context? Or, is the pastor making the Scripture say something it doesn’t?
    So we ended last week with
    Ephesians 5:1–2 ESV
    Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
    And yet we begin with verse 15,
    Ephesians 5:15 ESV
    Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise,
    Let’s back up a bit. I’m not going to go into all of the details from the previous verses, I will focus on 15-20, but it is important for all of us that we understand this is not a stand alone statement.
    So picking up from where we left off,
    Ephesians 5:3–14 ESV
    But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
    That is what comes before our text.
    sexual immorality, all impurity, covetousness must not even be named among you.
    No filthiness, foolish talk, crude joking, deception - there is no room for this in the kingdom of Christ and God. these are works of darkness and as children walking in the light, we are to have not part of them.
    We are to,
    Ephesians 5:8–10 (ESV)
    Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.
    So that gives us the context for where we pick up in verse 15,
    Ephesians 5:15 ESV
    Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise,
    Without the context we’d all be wondering how the way we “walked” even played a part in our text today.
    Paul invites us to examine ourselves…daily. Not as if we don’t know what God asks of us, but as those who do know.
    Ephesians 5:17 ESV
    Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
    We are called to live as those who do know that God said, and Jesus repeated that the call on our lives is to “be holy, for God is holy.” and we are children of God.
    Why is this so important? Why can’t we just claim Jesus as Lord and reap the benefits of being a follower of him?
    Simply put, because it cheapens what Jesus did on the cross. To do so is to cheapen God’s grace. We’re not about cheap grace. I know I’ve shared these quotes before, but I do not think anyone in modern times has put it so well. From his book Discipleship, Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes:
    Discipleship (Chapter One: Costly Grace)
    Cheap grace means grace as doctrine, as principle, as system. It means forgiveness of sins as a general truth; it means God’s love as merely a Christian idea of God. Those who affirm it have already had their sins forgiven. The church that teaches this doctrine of grace thereby confers such grace upon itself. The world finds in this church a cheap cover-up for its sins, for which it shows no remorse and from which it has even less desire to be set free. Cheap grace is, thus, denial of God’s living word, denial of the incarnation of the word of God. Cheap grace means justification of sin but not of the sinner. Because grace alone does everything, everything can stay in its old ways. “Our action is in vain.” Cheap grace is that grace which we bestow on ourselves.
    God’s grace is not cheap. God’s grace was costly. Again from Bonhoeffer:
    Discipleship (Chapter One: Costly Grace)
    Costly grace is the hidden treasure in the field, for the sake of which people go and sell with joy everything they have. It is the costly pearl, for whose price the merchant sells all that he has; it is Christ’s sovereignty, for the sake of which you tear out an eye if it causes you to stumble. It is the call of Jesus Christ which causes a disciple to leave his nets and follow him.Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which has to be asked for, the door at which one has to knock. It is costly, because it calls to discipleship; it is grace, because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly, because it costs people their lives; it is grace, because it thereby makes them live. It is costly, because it condemns sin; it is grace, because it justifies the sinner. Above all, grace is costly, because it was costly to God, because it costs God the life of God’s Son—“you were bought with a price”—and because nothing can be cheap to us which is costly to God. Above all, it is grace because the life of God’s Son was not too costly for God to give in order to make us live. God did, indeed, give him up for us. Costly grace is the incarnation of God.
    Do you hear it church?
    Ephesians 5:17 ESV
    Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
    Don’t be foolish.
    So how are we to act?
    Reading on in verses 18-19
    Ephesians 5:18–19 ESV
    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 your heart,
    And our attitude ought to be different.
    Ephesians 5:20 ESV
    giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
    Years ago, my friend and mentor, Denny Rydberg had chosen this verse as his verse for the year. He was working on the Serendipity Bible Old Testament questions. He had been working on it for quite a while, and this was back in the days of the true floppy disks of the mid-80’s. He was working at home one evening, and left his computer to go get a cup of coffee, only to come back and see his youngest son Jonathan, still very young and obviously mobile, at the computer joyfully striking the computer keys. When Denny got to his computer it said simply I-G-B-V on the screen. That’s okay, he thought, I saved my work. But as he sat down and opened up the directory on the floppy disk he discovered that somehow, the entire disk had been erased.
    Months of work - gone.
    Little Jonathan - sitting there so proud.
    And I so appreciate Denny’s authenticity as he shared this story. He asked, “How do you be thankful in that situation?” He was struggling with it. As I know we all do when we read things like this.
    I don’t have a good answer to his question. I too face challenges and times where everything it seems that I’ve been working for has been wiped out in one swoop. I’m sure you’ve all felt that way at a time or two as well.
    Where I have to go, what I have to recalibrate my heart to understand is, “God is in control.”
    And a key verse that we’re missing is verse 21 as we finish our passage today.
    Ephesians 5:21 ESV
    submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
    There are passages in the Bible that we read and we think, “I’m so glad of all God’s done for me.” And then there are passages we read where we think, “I don’t like that.”
    As I opened this morning I shared with you the challenges of preaching and of following a lectionary. The next verse 5:22-6:9 are left out of our lectionary readings for our Sundays. They are perhaps the most argued about verses in Paul’s writings. Sadly the first one has set the tone and caused people to miss the context.
    Ephesians 5:22 ESV
    Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
    But note it’s not just about wives, it’s about husbands, it’s about parents and children, it’s about slaves and masters.
    Ephesians 5:25 ESV
    Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,
    Ephesians 6:1 ESV
    Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
    Ephesians 6:4 ESV
    Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
    Ephesians 6:5 ESV
    Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ,
    Ephesians 6:9 ESV
    Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him.
    All of these come under the heading that we end with today in verse 20, and I’m going to complete the sentence with 21.
    Ephesians 5:20–21 ESV
    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.
    Submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
    Let’s give thanks always.
    As it has been said so many times: God is good; all the time. And all the time, God is good.
    Thanks be to God.
    Amen.
      • Ephesians 5:15–20ESV

      • Ephesians 5:1–2ESV

      • Ephesians 5:3–14ESV

      • Ephesians 5:15ESV

      • Ephesians 5:17ESV

      • Ephesians 5:17ESV

      • Ephesians 5:18–19ESV

      • Ephesians 5:20ESV

      • Ephesians 5:21ESV

      • Ephesians 5:22ESV

      • Ephesians 5:25ESV

      • Ephesians 6:1ESV

      • Ephesians 6:4ESV

      • Ephesians 6:5ESV

      • Ephesians 6:9ESV

      • Ephesians 5:20–21ESV

  • In His Time
  • He Touched Me

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