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Sermon August 5, 2018 Pr. Lopez

Sermon for the 11th Sunday after Pentecost           August 5, 2018       Pr. Lopez

 

Ephesians 4:1

So, we went on vacation for a week. The first thing my wife did when we got home was to check her flowers. We have a little corner at our house where she put her flowers. They look great. The secret to have these beautiful flowers is variety.  The iris garden does it, the tulip garden does it, the dahlia garden does it too.

 

When we develop a garden, we buy varieties of plants. We expect different colored flowers.

In your fish tank you would like to see different colorful fish.

 

Likewise, God placed us in the Church with varieties of textures. Variety in texture. Texture means the surface or the exterior of the building. We can also say the outdoor walls, how the outside of the building looks.  A texture means the feel, appearance and the consistency of the surface and substance. Texture is the quality of something that can be decided by sight and touch.

 

Ephesians 4

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

 

The sermon for today comes from the book of the Ephesians chapter 4. The first three chapters of Ephesians are teaching of doctrine. The last three chapters are about how this doctrine applies to our lives. There are  six chapters in this book of the Bible.

 

Ephesians 1

1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful[a] in Christ Jesus: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Spiritual Blessings in Christ 3 our Lord Jesus Christ, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved

 

Half of the book of Ephesians is head knowledge. It is great to have the head knowledge. We are saved by faith.  We do not have to do anything special. Jesus did all the special powerful deeds. Jesus died on the cross to save us. Today by believing in Jesus and been baptized we belong to the church of God. But the other side of our faith is our behavior.

 

First the head knowledge. Second our actions knowledge.

We are in chapter 4 today where our doctrine knowledge is applied. The way we behave as children of God. The doctrine and practice must go together.

 

The main point of this reading is the way we walk in life. Walk is ongoing, repeating till you reach your goal. But why does God want us to walk straight?

 

Ephesians 5:27

so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.  The other day I wanted to wear a shirt but was all wrinkled.  I did not wear it. What makes us wrinkle?

 

There are certain behaviors that wrinkle our lives. We all know, there are actions and attitudes that are shameful. We Christians have higher standards of behavior.

 

Just like my wife was cutting off all the dead flowers to make her garden perfect. Jesus wants his church blameless, radiant, with splendor. With no wrinkles.

 

Ephesians 4:3

…eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

 

In our trip in the city of Polson, Montana a woman came to us and said, I am really sorry for what is happening in our country.  At the beginning I did not understand her at all. It was not until my sister gave her a hug that I finally understood what she meant. It is the great problem we live today in this country. There is a fight between races. Not all people, but some people do not like a race that is not theirs.

 

In Ephesians 2:8 the Bible says,

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,

We are by grace saved.

 

All men and women are equal in God’s eyes, but some people, even Christians are fighting today.

 

Yes, I am a pastor, but also have a race.  The other day when I felt mistreated by a person, one of the things that crossed my mind was, it is because I am Mexican. It is because I am brown.

But then the same thing happened to an American woman.  Wow.  iI was not because I am brown, it was because the person was mean.

 

It is normal that we all feel this toxic environment of racism today. It is among us. I have seen also some people who are mistreated because they are white, or black.  But we all know that there are some people who don’t like people from other races.

 

We all live together in this country. Sometimes other people just rub against us in the wrong way.  People from a different race offend us. Even in the church. 

 

But the Bible says….

1 Peter 3:9

Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.

 

Believers are to be complementary to each other and not to compete with one another.

Always think of the grace of God.

Church unity is very difficult.

We are competing with each other.

 

The Lord says:

First, if someone has offended you, he taught us to pray for the enemies. The Gospel is so powerful to us.

 

Matthew 5:44

But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

Bless those who curse us, in verse 39.

 

We as children of God live covered by God’s grace and power. The Bible reminds us to behave, to walk as children of God.

 

Ephesians 4

14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and for by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

 

Rather, speak with truth and love…the love of Jesus in our hearts. All people are equal before God’s eyes. They are not against you.  It is sin that is against you. It is our sinful behavior.

 

But I have great news for you today. Jesus paid for that sinful behavior too.  We can forgive, we can live together, because the Bible today says we are “equipped” with the Holy Spirit in our hearts. That makes the whole body of Christ the church work properly.

 

So, if someone offended you who is from a different race than you, today you can forgive.

 

If it is you who have offended someone, in the name of Jesus and by the power of God who is in you, please stop, no matter your race.

 

In the name of Jesus as a called and ordained servant of Christ I declare freedom in the name of Jesus Amen.

Let us pray…

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