St. Luke's Church Faribault
1/10/2021
      • Psalm 89NIV2011

      • 2 Samuel 7:8–16NIV2011

      • Luke 1:26–38NIV2011

      • Romans 16:25–27NIV2011

      • Isaiah 60:1–6NIV2011

      • Psalm 72NIV2011

      • Matthew 2:1–12NIV2011

      • Ephesians 3:2–12NIV2011

      • Isaiah 60:1–6NIV2011

  • We Three Kings Of Orient Are
  • Arise Shine
  • All Hail The Power Of Jesus Name
      • Psalm 72NIV2011

      • Matthew 2:1–12NIV2011

  • Epiphany!

    Pray-
    Wednesday, January 6th, was the day the Church commemorates the event recorded in Matthew chapter 2, called the Epiphany. All of the scripture readings this morning are taken from the lectionary for the January 6th feast of the Epiphany.
    Most of us are familiar with Epiphany. We know the story of the three wise men. We sing the song - like we did this morning "We Three Kings". In this event, some truth of course is mixed with tradition. There are some things we don't know, and historians and scholars speculate as to what exactly happened.
    Most people's nativity sets contain the three kings, and in the Sunday School plays, we see that the Kings at the manger with the shepherds and angles.
    Matthew does not exactly say when the wise men showed up. Scholars mostly agree that coming from the east, it probably took them a long time. As we look at the story carefully chances are that they showed up a lot later, maybe as late as a year and half after the birth of Jesus.
    Or, we focus on the details of the star. Was it a comet, some say Haley’s Comet. Was it an asteroid? Or a conjunction of planets seems most likely. Interestingly in this unprecedented year, along with all other odd happenings. we had a rare planetary alignment the Christmas star as it was called. Perhaps you saw that.
    All that is interesting, and we can go on and on about it, but is that what is important? In other words, did God orchestrate that event, have Matthew record it and preserve it in scripture for us to sit and debate when the wise men arrived, or wonder about a star?
    God created billions of stars at the speed of light at a word of his voice; they are up there everyday. Even more wonders than at are present right now. It is not about the star. The star was just a sign . It is not about the star, it is about who the star points to. And I am convinced that the enemy loves to distract the church and have us talk about the star or the wise men and their gifts.
    The enemy does this because the real power in this story is that Jesus is King. The real power in this story is that Jesus came to die on the cross to be the good news to all the people, and to SAVE US from our sins. And if the enemy can get us talking about a star, we miss the power of the of the gospel.
    The word Epiphany is from the Greek and it means to reveal. In a very specific sense- The Epiphany is a revealing of Jesus-AS the CHRIST to the GENTILES.
    In the context of the Christmas story, we have in the gospels a revealing of Jesus as the Christ to one group of people the Jews- in the little town of Bethlehem, and then again in Jerusalem at the temple. Up to this point, the idea of the Christ-a Messiah- is contained- geographically, religiously, and ethnically to this little group of people.
    Now, of course, FOX News and CNN and Facebook did not exist at the time, so basically, this message of a Messiah would have been contained simply for this small group of people.
    However, God then moves the heavens, aligns the stars, coordinates and orchestrates the cosmos so that an astrological event occurs.That event causes in the minds and hearts of powerful people in far off lands to recognize something in the physical world has occurred. SO they journey to pay homage to a King.
    The bottom line is this-Epiphany is the event where Jesus as the Christ, the King is recognized outside of the religious, ethnic and religious group, and is displayed to the world.
    The Church then defines Epiphany as this- The MANIFESTATION of Christ to the gentiles- of course, the gentiles being those outside of the religious community or non-jewish people.
    A manifestation is a revealing of that which was already there.
    JESUS IS THE CHRIST-JESUS IS THE KING-There is just people who don't know it yet. And when they know it it is an Epiphany.
    There is a difference. I am not asking you to Make Jesus King- He is King- You don't have the authority to make Him King. I am saying He is King- Now recognize Him.
    That was what was happening in Matthew 2. The King was born, the wise men came and gave gifts to the king- He already was King.
    SO what do we do with Epiphany? Maybe we don't like talking about Jesus being King, so we focus on the star, or three wise men, or the gifts.
    But honestly, what does the Bible say to us, little Greg Purchla sitting in little Faribault, MN 2,00 years removed from Jesus' birth? How am I supposed to interact with the Epiphany?
    For that, we go to Paul's letter to the Church. The apostle Paul wrote a letter to the Church at Ephesus. The reading for Epiphany is from chapter 3, verses 3-12.
    Ephesians 3:2–12 NIV
    2 Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, 3 that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. 4 In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. 6 This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus. 7 I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. 8 Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, 9 and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11 according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.
    So,.. as we read this passage the thing that jumps out to us, is that Paul over and over is talking about a Revealing or a A making known
    Start at verse three and we will go through this
    Ephesians 3:3 NIV
    3 that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly.
    So there is a mystery being made known, let’s go on....and
    verse 4
    Ephesians 3:4 NIV
    4 In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ,
    and continuing in verse 5
    Ephesians 3:5 NIV
    5 which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets.
    Paul is taking about what he calls the Mystery of Christ- and it’s being revealed to him. This mystery Paul says was not made known to people before Christ, but now- that is in the age of the Church it has been made known.
    What is the mystery he talking about… it is in verse 6.
    Ephesians 3:6 NIV
    6 This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.
    This mystery is that…then there is the phrase- Through the gospel-
    you know the gospel right- That Christ died on the cross for your sins, and was raised from the dead, according to the the scriptures, 1 Cor 15-
    It is though the gospel That the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel- members and sharers together in the promise of Christ Jesus,
    Remember Gentiles are everyone in the world besides jews. Pagans, greeks, Romans, Africans, Samaritans, Persians.
    What does that mean what significance is that? It is this- That God so loved the world- the whole world that He gave His one and one and only son-
    This means that the death of Jesus on the cross, is not just for a few chosen people. It is not just for those on the inside, It means that the death of Jesus was for everyone- the marginalized the outcasts the poor the rich. It was that Jesus died for People of every tribe every nation every tongue.
    It means that ALL have sinned aND FALLEN SHORT OF THE GLORY OF GOD- Rich and poor, healthy and sick man woman, Priest and thief, harlot and nun, all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, all are in need of a savior,
    It means that Jesus died so that all could share together in the promise the hope of eternal life, and the inheritance in the kingdom..
    For us that means that the gospel should be preached to all. To make the mystery of Christ known to atheists, and agnostics, and muslims, and Buddhists and mormons and Jehovah’s witnesses Hindu’s and pagans, and believing cultural Christians as well. To call all of them to share together in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
    Paul goes on Verse 7,-9 to say this
    Ephesians 3:7 NIV
    7 I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power.
    Paul says he became a servant of this gospel by the GIFT of God’s grace. He did not earn it. he did not do anything it was a gift, BY GOD”S power, not his own.
    Ephesians 3:8 NIV
    8 Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ,
    That gift was given to preach this news to all the people THE BOUNDLESS RICHES OF CHRIST....
    SO Paul has been grace why to REVEAL Through proclaiming or preaching The BOUNDLESS which means NEVER ENDING -ETERNAL RICHES of Christ-
    WHAT ARE THE RICHES OF CHRIST---That he is ALL GOOD< that Jesus alone is all satisfying that He is ALL KNOWING-ALL POWERFUL-ALL LOVING-ALL JUST-That He is ETERNAL- That HE OWNS ALL THINGS- HE HOLDS ALL THINGS TOGETHER-
    We can refer to Ephesians in chapter 1, for more of those Riches.
    Ephesians 1:3–8 NIV
    3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding,
    Then in verse 9, Paul is supposed to do something else
    Ephesians 3:9 NIV
    9 and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things.
    The administration-or the plan or the job- to make plain to everyone this news of the gospel. To make it known.
    Then in verse 10 we read
    Ephesians 3:10 NIV
    10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms,
    God’s plan what that NOW_ That is the Church age- That is the age in which we know live, THROUGH THE CHURCH That is the group of believers-
    The Church is those that have saving faith in Jesus. That is faith in Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins. The Church is the true believers in Jesus, not just the membership roles. It is the believers, that is who the word church is referring to here, Believers in Jesus Christ-
    There are a lot of people who claim to be believers, but only the true believers are the real church.
    It was God’s intent that through THE REAL CHURCH the wisdom of God SHOULD BE MADE KNOW Should be revealed. Should be made manifest-Should be demonstrated should be witnessed to
    the rulers and authorities-
    Not just any ruler and authority-but the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms. Sometimes the Church spends a lot of time trying to recognized by the earthly authorities. That is not always a bad thing but HERE
    We are not talking about President Trump or Nancy Pelosi we are talking about the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms.
    The Church—among other things- IS supposed to make know the wisdom of God to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms. The Demons, the angles, Satan, and His tribe.
    The Church is supposed to be a witness on this earth right? Everyone knows that the whole world is witching the Church right? A city on a hill-hide it under a bushel? No!
    But it is actually more than that isn’t it? MUCH MORE
    God’s intent is that THROUGH THE CHURCH_ God’s manifold wisdom is being made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms!
    We the believers are supposed to be an Epiphany to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms of the the fact that God Saves people from their sins.
    The devils and the angles should take notice. Prople like to say, Satan should fear me- Oh NO dont get that wrong- Satan does not fear you- Satan can destroy you- But Satan should fear God because of you!
    Satan should see that BY THE LORD JESUS CHRIST’s finished work on the cross God raised you from the Dead. The demons should see that the CHRUCH has been set free from the bondage of sin. The angles should glory in that Holy Spirit is sanctifying your once black heart, transforming your mind. The heavenlies should witness the blind seeing the truth and deaf hearing the word of God.
    God’s work on the cross is powerful and effective. In the here and now in the physical and what happens here in the physical world IS A WITNESS to the the heavenly realm. That is the the Church-transforing and powerful
    Paul twice in other places of this letter reminds us that what we see here- The COVID- the riots -the hatred the violence- the meanness is not all there is. The battles that seem like they are are against us, and that are being waged here, are NOT the real battle.
    There is a Spiritual realm that is watching us as well. Now if we were expected to fight this world with devils filled and temptations around about us with just our strength Could God expect us to be victorious? oOuld we be able to fight them?
    If the gospel had no tangible effect on us and in our lives but what just a nice story, and if it were up to us to muster up our strength How could we possibly be an epiphany to the heavenly realms. If we were able in our own power and in our own strength able to do that what need would we have for Christ?
    Instead we are here and with the power of the gospel that we receive IN christ Through the gospel we are given the power to be that witness to the heavenlies, Listen to EP chapter 1 with me for a moment, and listen to this other realm, Paul is talking about.
    Ephesians 1:18–22 NIV
    18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church,
    Through the Gospel we by being United with Christ- By being raised from the dead have been changed. We have the power of Christ to be that witness to the heavenly realm. Devils and angles stand and take notice. If God can raise that dead guy He must be powerful.
    These things of this world are not what we are fighting against .We are mot batteling COIVD or CANCER OR THE government OR ONE ANOTHER. We are not fighting REPUBLICANS OR democrats or liberALS OR CONSERVATIVES. WE ARE CHOOSING SIDES FOR POLICE OFFICERS OR BLACKS OR WHITES OR LATINOS. We are simply with Christs power to battle the sin and temptations, and battle for heart and our loyalty to the one true king the Lord Jesus
    Our battle is not against flesh and blood. The Church must be the manifold witness to the powers and authorities through the transforming power of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
    I think from what I have been reading and what I have been seeing too many people are trying to fight the things of this world. They think the battle is over masks or not masks or over Democrats or republicans. The anger and darkness in our hearts is deep and the dark forces in the heavenly realms see that and laugh as weak church succumbs to the temptations of this world and s\does not demonstrate the manifold wisdom of God and power of the Gospel.
    It is as if the God of the Universe never died on the cross. It as if the church has not been purchased by the precious blood of Jesus, but is instead weak and powerless. It is as if the Church cannot even love one another.
    The battle is the hearts and minds of people. The battle is fought in our own hearts when we are tempted toward hatred and racism. The battle is with our pride and greed, and anger, and idolatry. We are fighting an enemy it is Satan and His desire to kill and destroy . He kills our joy by stealing our time with God he kills our love for one another by making pride our love, and he substitutes His lies for God’s word.
    The battle is fought each morning over opening our Bibles. It is fought when we do not pray without ceasing, and without the strength of the Spirit. The battle is fought over wether to join in the rhetoric and gossip or to reach out in love across barriers. The battle is in our hearts and minds
    But we can fight that battle because Jesus Christ has already won the victory.
    Colossians 2:15 NIV
    15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
    Jesus triumphed over those authorities and powers at the cross He disarmed the power of Satan. so that WE can trust in His mighty power.
    SO
    Ephesians 6:10–18 NIV
    10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
    Ephesians 5:8–20 NIV
    8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. 14 This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” 15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
      • Ephesians 3:2–12NIV2011

      • Ephesians 3:3NIV2011

      • Ephesians 3:4NIV2011

      • Ephesians 3:5NIV2011

      • Ephesians 3:6NIV2011

      • Ephesians 3:7NIV2011

      • Ephesians 3:8NIV2011

      • Ephesians 1:3–8NIV2011

      • Ephesians 3:9NIV2011

      • Ephesians 3:10NIV2011

      • Ephesians 1:18–22NIV2011

      • Colossians 2:15NIV2011

      • Ephesians 6:10–18NIV2011

      • Ephesians 5:8–20NIV2011

  • Victory In Jesus

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