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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September 2 Pentecost 14 – Eph. 6:10-20 – A Strong Church, A Strong Nation

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. 6.  We begin with prayer.

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

  • I’ve always been a bit reluctant to fully embrace any responsibility I might have “as a pastor” for the current state of our nation and our culture.  Much of what has gone on in the way of “change” for the past forty years in America has been contrary to Holy Scripture, God’s Word, and inimical to Christianity and the church!  So, as a preacher and teacher of God’s Word, I’ve recognized that many of my fellow citizens simply “don’t want to hear it” from me.  I’m suspect that many of you have come to a similar conclusion. 
  • I’m fully aware of my personal responsibilities as a “citizen” within the democratic processes of our nation, and that as Christians we have duties toward our government – but what role or responsibility should a pastor, and we as “the church,” have in regard to the “commonweal” of the nation?  So, I’ve looked at my responsibilities within the church as being daunting and challenging enough for me and pretty much focused on that.  After all, there is much that is amiss in our own personal lives, and within the life and fellowship of the church.  It seems we should get our own house in order before “advising” those outside of the church!
  • But in the Old Testament reading, we see that there is a connection between the Word of God, that is, people adhering to the Word of God, and those people being “a great nation.”  The two go hand in hand, as we read:

 

“You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you . . . Keep them and do them, for that will be your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’ For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the Lord our God is to us, whenever we call upon Him?”

  • So, let us stop to consider that:

 

I.  Churchly Strength And Also National Strength Come Through Submission To The Written Word Of God, Holy Scripture

 

A.  The Word Referred To Is Specific – That Given By God Through The Authors Of Holy Scripture

 

OT LESSON:  “[Moses wrote] You shall not add to the Word that I command you or take from it.”

 

B.  Submission To And Adherence To This Word Makes A People Great – Both The Church And As A Nation

 

OT LESSON:  “Keep them and do them, for that will be your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’ For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the Lord our God is to us, whenever we call upon Him?”

 

Statement:  If this is the case – and surely it is since God, the only True and Living God, the Almighty God, Creator and Sustainer of the whole universe, has asserted that it is so – then we who know Him, who submit to Him, who know His love for us in Christ Jesus, and who worship Him, should also fully embrace His Word, for our own personal blessedness, but also for the good of the Church, and even for the good and welfare of our nation! 

 

Application:  If we reject this personally it weakens the church.  And if the church rejects the Word of God, how can it positively influence the nation toward “greatness”?   So I’m willing as a pastor to acknowledge that I have a “citizenship” duty to promote God’s Word publicly, for the sake of the greatness of our nation.  But the question remains as to whether each of us individually is willing to submit to and adhere to God’s Word personally, and whether we as a church are uniformly willing to do this.  Only when the church is fully submissive to God’s Word – not “adding to it” or “taking from it” – can the church be a positive influence toward the “greatness” of our nation. 

 

II.  And It Is Helpful For Us To Recognize That This Embroils Us In Conflict And Controversy, And Important For Us To Recognize The Real Nature Of This Conflict

 

A.  First, That Our Warfare Is With The Cosmic Forces Of Spiritual Darkness

 

Text:  “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”

 

B.  And Secondly, To Remember That These Enemies Have An Ally Within Us – Our Own Sinful Hearts

 

Gospel:  “What comes out of a person is what defiles him.  For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickeness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.  All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”

 

Statement:  And these are precisely the kinds of things that have increased dramatically over the past 40 years or so in our nation – and also within the church itself.  Sadly, they are no longer recognized as “evils,” not by many of our fellow citizens, and not even by many within the “church.”  Why is this the case?  Because we have rejected the Word of God and refused to submit to it and adhere to it.  Instead, we have decided that the things within our hearts are what determine “right and wrong, good and evil” – oblivious to the wickedness that is within our hearts!

 

Application:  So again, the first issue for each of us has to do with our own relationship with the Word of God, Holy Scripture.  Will we submit to it, and adhere to it, taking our own values and beliefs from God’s Word – or will we listen to the “wicked wisdom” that comes out of human hearts, our own as well as those of others?   And again, it is not just our own personal health and well-being that is at stake, but also that of the Church, and also that of the nation! 

 

Transition:  And given the nature of our enemies, and of our conflict, our text is extremely important, for it teaches us that:

 

III.  Strength For This Conflict Can Be Found In The Armor Of God – Which He Gives To Us Through His Word

 

Text:  “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.”

 

A.  We Are To Put On Truth As A Belt – And God’s Word Is Truth

 

B.  We Are Put On Righteousness As A Breastplate To Protect Or Hearts – God’s Gift Of Righteousness In Christ Jesus, By Which We Are Accounted To Be Perfectly Cleansed From All Sin And Righteous In God’s Sight Through Faith In Christ, In His Blood Shed For Us On The Cross, Which “Cleanses Us From All Sin”

 

C.  We Are to Put On This Gospel Of Peace As Shoes Of Readiness – To Speak And Proclaim It To Others – That The Church May Be Strong And The Nation Be Great

 

D.  We Are To Put On Faith In God As A Shield – That No Evil May Harm Us – When Attacked We Remember God’s Word And Promises

 

E.  We Are To Put On Salvation As A Helmet, To Protect Our Heads – Sure And Certain Of God’s Gift To Us Of Salvation In Christ Jesus

 

F.  We Are To Take The Word Of God Into Our Hands – As A Sword, The Very Sword Of The Spirit Of God, Which Will Slay And Destroy All Evil

 

G.  We Dare Not Forget Prayer And Supplication – For All Depends On God, As His Word Teaches

 

H.  We Are Urged To Remain Alert With All Perseverance – To Not Grow Slack, Or Loose, Or Careless In This Conflict

 

I.  And We Are To Do All That We Can To Support, Encourage, And Facilitate A Bold Preaching And Proclaiming Of The Gospel – For This Alone Builds And Strengthens The Church, And Hopefully Also The Whole Nation

 

Statement:  We must ponder these encouragements, for part of remaining submissive to and adherent to the Word of God is attending to this arming of ourselves with God’s Word and Blessings! 

 

Application:  As we do so, not only will we personally stand firm, strong, and secure, but the Church will be strengthened.  And there is nothing to strengthen the nation, and make it great, unless the Church is exerting its influence upon our nation – drawing it to the Word of God.

 

Conclusion:  So you see that we do have a significant opportunity and responsibility for the “strength and greatness” both of the church, and of our nation.  It is a conflict, a warfare, but much is at stake.  Pray God that we “listen to” His statutes and decrees, that we may live.  Pray God also that the Church be strong in encouraging this submission to God’s Word.  Pray God that hopefully our nation might be restored to “greatness” under His Word – and that He might use us to accomplish this.  God grant it to us for Jesus’ sake, 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.