Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
303-665-6105
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January 6 – Epiphany – Eph. 3:1-12 “The Light Still Shines”

Introduction:  Grace be to you and peace, from God our Father, and from our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.  Our text is the Epistle Lesson just read, from Eph. 3.  We begin with prayer.

 

Dear fellow disciples of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ:

  • Extraordinary things take place within the life of the church.  It is not just a matter of “consuming” some things which help us get through life, which provide us with some comfort and optimism and support.  Rather, the life of the church is “life with God,” it is participating in the blessings and wonders of His powerful, re-creating love. 
  • We can think of the church in human terms – and view it as flat, a mere sociological phenomenon that is just part of our personal tradition, or part of our “circle of friends.”  We can even look at the sacred activities of the church in this way – as mere words of advice floating out into the sanctuary, as an odd little “ritual” meal of tasteless bread and ordinary sweet wine.  But if we do so, we are in fact “blinded to the light,” the light of God and His glorious love for us that is here within the church.
  • According to God’s Word, “THE LIGHT STILL SHINES,” and it is shining right now, here within the church, through God’s Word and Sacraments – through which He “streams” the glory and power of His transforming love into our hearts, our minds, and our very being.  It is these blessings that He wishes to impart to us even now, as we meditate upon His precious Word.  Of first importance is for us to understand that:

 

I.  The Light Of God Is Christ, His Glorious Gospel Of Gracious Forgiveness And Salvation – These Are Christ’s “Unsearchable” Riches Freely Given To Us By God’s Gracious Love

 

Text:  “To me this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.”

 

A.  This Gift Of Christ’s Unsearchable Riches Is For All People

 

Text:  “and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God Who created all things.”

 

Text:  “This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the Gospel.”

 

B.  This Great Gift Is Revealed To All Through The Ministry Of The Apostles And Prophets Of God – By The Holy Spirit Of God – The Holy Scriptures Which We Still Read And Meditate On

 

Text:  “When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit.”

 

Statement:  Now, people can make the church into whatever they want it to be and mean to them – if that is what they desire, and there are many who do so to their great detriment.  But it is obvious that God’s church, the true church, is about what God desires, and what God makes it to be.  According to His Word, His church is about His gifts to us – the mystery of Christ, the unsearchable riches of Christ, the light of God’s love that has “shined upon us,” the “glory of the Lord that has risen upon you,” the very light of God’s love for us in Christ Jesus! 

 

Application:  It is God’s will that you be incorporated into this blessedness – that this light of Christ also shine in your heart, mind, and soul.  His will is not for you to just be here, to be “externally” connected to a sociological phenomenon!  Rather His will is for you to be “fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the Gospel.”  So the light of His love continues to shine forth within the church – the assurance of His gracious forgiveness and mercy, the promise of eternal life and glory through faith in Jesus Christ, and the powerful transforming experience of His love through His Word and His sacramental meal! 

 

The thing is, you can “have it your way,” have a McDonald’s view of Christianity and the church – but then what you will receive will be little different than what you can get at McDonald’s!   Or, you can have it “God’s way,” and then you will receive “the unsearchable riches of Christ.”  Then you will participate in God’s “eternal purpose that He has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Then you will be “accessing” God with boldness and confidence!  Hmmmmm.   I wonder which is preferable, and more blessed for us? 

 

Transition:  And there should be no confusion in our minds about this, that this is the blessedness of the church, for:

 

II.  The Light Of Christ’s Glorious Love Continues To Shine Through The Life And Ministry Of His Body, The Church

 

Text:  “So that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known.”

 

A.  This Light Of Christ, His Unsearchable Riches, The Glory Of His Gracious Love, Mercy, Forgiveness, And Salvation Gives Us Boldness And Access To God – In Accord With His Eternal Purpose

 

Text:  “According to the eternal purpose that He has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in Whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in Him.”

 

B.  So The Purpose Of The Church Is To Bring This Light Of Christ And God’s Eternal Plan To Everyone

 

Text:  “To bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God Who created all things.”

 

C.  In So Doing The Church [you and me, all here present, and all Christians everywhere gathered to the church] Makes Known God’s Loving Mystery To The Whole Cosmos – Even To The Rulers And Authorities In The Heavenly Places

 

Text:  “that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.”

 

Statement:  You may have come here this morning for different purposes, for different reasons, with other things on your mind.  You may think that the primary purposes of our congregation are other things.  That doesn’t matter – except that it impinges upon and perhaps prevents you from participating in the principle blessedness of this congregation.  For regardless of what we think, these are God’s purposes for His church – and He is accomplishing them even if it has to be “in spite of us.”  But His desire is for us to be fully participating in the light of Christ, and be receiving all the blessings of “the gift of God’s grace.” 

 

Application:  There is no doubt that “THE LIGHT STILL SHINES.”  If there are some who cannot see it or grasp it that is their loss – and more of a revelation of who they are than a correct and realistic evaluation of the church of God!  For there are many here present who do see the reality – by faith, faith born of Word of God, His glorious and great promises to us in Christ Jesus!  They see the light – and what they do here is all about God’s purposes and eternal plan for the church, and it is done with great joy and enthusiasm.  In fact, it is done with boldness and confidence as well, in the very presence of God – Who created all things, and redeemed us and called us to be “fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ through the Gospel.” 

 

Conclusion:  Flat?  Or embracing the mystery, exulting in the unsearchable riches of Christ?  At the beginning I asserted:  “Extraordinary things take place within the life of the church.”  I hope that you see them, and joyously participate in them, for it is certain that through the church “THE LIGHT STILL SHINES.”  Thanks and praise be to God!  Amen.

 

Votum:  And the peace of God, which surpasses all human understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds in the true faith, which is in Christ Jesus, even unto life everlasting, Amen.