Faithlife Sermons

July 7th, 2019

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The Mystery of the Gospel

Ephesians 6:18–20 NIV
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. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.
Mystery… Everyone gets excited when we think of a mystery! The Dunn’s, Missy and myself went to a “Mystery Dinner” night not to long ago. And it was pretty fun… Except for the part where we had to get up and talk to a bunch of random strangers and find out who the killer was… I was terrible at this! But we had fun!
Mystery… That is our theme this year for Falls Creek. Now, I have really kind of struggled this year with this theme. And the reason is because although I know I don’t understand everything that God has given us in the Bible… I still don’t think of the Bible as a mystery. Because I know that everything we need… Is in this Bible. But, a perfectly clear example was when we went to Durango, Colorado… Some of those people have no clue what is in the Bible. God’s Word is a complete mystery to them… even if they don’t want to admit it. So, we will spend two weeks in the book of Ephesians as we prepare to take the teenagers to Falls Creek next week and then the teenagers will dig in to Ephesians more while we are there! So, here we go.
Ephesians 6:1–4 NIV
1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise—3 “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” 4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

The Responsibilities of Families

Children are instructed that their role in mutual submission is to obey your parents int he Lord, for this is right. Without learning obedience from parents, children would run wild in society… Much like we are seeing in today's times…
When Blake was 3-4 years old we started having him repeat Ephesians 6:1 every time he didn’t obey. As you can imagine with a young kid who is learning the boundaries of life by the end of week 2 it would sound something like this: “(sigh) Ephesians 6:1..... Children......... Obey your parents...... IN the Lord..... For this is right.....”
Now this section of the Bible brings up a lot of questions from teenagers. I have talked to numerous students who say “well my parents are not Christians so I don’t have to obey or honor them.” In the Lord does not mean that children only need to obey Christian parents. Rather, it means that they are obeying the Lord when they obey their parents. In some cases when unethical, illegal, or immoral things are being encouraged… the command to obey would be superseded by the higher biblical principles of “obeying God rather than the man.” This brings to mind the story of when Jesus stayed behind in the Temple. When his parents realized he was not with them and they went back, Jesus explained himself but then obeyed his parents wishes. He was respectful and obedient. In verse 3 we see the “promise” of enjoying a long life. This is a general promise, not an absolute promise. Children who learn obedience tend to live better lives and tend to live longer. The fact is, drug addicts, criminals, foolish and careless people tend not to live as well or as long as well-disciplined people.
But, kids.... Don’t think the parents get off without directions here to. The last verse of this section is directed at the Father’s but applies to parents in general. The parent’s role is not to exasperate their children but to bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. We have to make sure we do our part as the parent! I am one of those people who have to pay attention to how much I pick on people. I have always felt that was the way I showed people I liked them. But, I have come learn that not all people appreciate that. And I can carry it to far sometimes. Missy has to remind me all the time! When me and the boys are wrestling around and they start to get mad… I am just playing but miss the signals that they are past playing and she has to say, “Christopher, provoke not your children!”
John 8:31–32 ESV
31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Growing up in a Christian home is intended to be a very positive experience for both parent and child when each plays his proper role. If we will make sure we follow John 8:31-32 then this will be the case for our homes!

The Responsibilities of Workers

Now a lot of people like to skip over this part because they say, “we aren’t slaves! So this part doesn't apply.” Well, as Christians… Let me tell you this does apply to us! But let’s put this in our terms today. Employees need to be submissive to the authority of the employer. And likewise, the employer needs to be submissive to the needs of the employee. Now, everyone in here understands that there are limits to that statement. When I was in upper management at Halliburton I had constant requests/complaints/needs being voiced by employees. Some were reasonable and we could accommodate… Some were ridiculous and we denied. But I tried to make sure that whatever decision I made, would be as fair and reasonable as possible.
There was a time I had to fire a guy because he left location during a job to go sign papers on a brand new house. Just up and left… One of my Service Leaders stopped by to do an evaluation on him and called me to say that he had left. So, we had to report the issue and a decision came down from above me that he was to be fired that day. So, I had to drive from Duncan to Burns Flat at midnight and let the employee go. The really bad part is this… had he just asked for relief, I had 2 guys sitting at home who could have covered for him. But instead… He was fired and had 2 house payments.
So, as Christian workers… We should live out Colossians 3:24.
Colossians 3:24 ESV
24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.
Each and every day, as we go to work in whatever position we have. We are serving the Lord Christ, make sure you are being worthy of that!

The Demands of Spiritual Warfare

The whole armor of God. When it comes to spiritual warfare, we cannot be sufficiently strong enough by ourselves. They only way to have the strength for these battles is if it is the Lord’s strength. Revelation 12:9 tells us that Satan is a deceiver and a destroyer. He deceives in order to destroy. And if we fail to put on the armor of God… We will fail to withstand his attacks! The clear implication here from scripture is this, if the Christian has all his armor on, he has the ability to stand firm against Satan. At times the spiritual warfare in which we find ourselves may be frightening. However, the only thing we have to fear, is if our armor is in place. 1 John 4:4 says this:
1 John 4:4 ESV
4 Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
Each day we need to make sure we are preparing ourselves for battle! Take the time to read your Bible and pray so you can be fully protected by the Armor of God!

Encouragement for the Saints

Paul closes with a review of his own circumstances, his intention to send his friend to encourage them. Knowing Paul’s situation would be an encouragement for the church just as modern churches gain encouragement from news about missionaries they know in distant places. Churches need news of God’s work around the world to encourage and strengthen them in their own work with God. Paul took the time in this letter to pry for wholeness, love and faith for the readers.
Colossians 4:8–9 ESV
8 I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are and that he may encourage your hearts, 9 and with him Onesimus, our faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will tell you of everything that has taken place here.
We need to make sure we are encouraging to each other. Pushing each other to a better life with Jesus.
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