Sermon Starters

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Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Editor

The Tenth Sunday After Pentecost
Series B

"Body Building"
Ephesians 4:1-7, 11-16
Rev. Kelly Bedard, B.A., M.Div.

Goal: that we would maintain the unity God has attained for us
Malady: unworthy living--arrogant, deceptive, immature, and loveless--hoarding and hiding God's good gifts from/for all Body members
Means:  One God, the Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all; One Lord, Jesus, the grace-giver and Body-builder; One Spirit, the unity- and peace- and faith-keeper
1. tapeinophrosune {tap-i-nof-ros-oo'-nay}, v2: having a humble opinion of one's self ; a deep sense of one's (moral) littleness; modesty, humility, lowliness of mind. (Strong's)
2. kubeia {koo-bi'-ah}, v14: dice playing; metaphorically, the deception of people, because dice players sometimes cheated and defrauded their fellow players. (Strong's)
3. "The unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (4:4) does not just happen spontaneously. It needs some keeping. It needs some focusing. In the context of writings by Paul and those who follow him, we know that love is not an ideal we summon up by discipline and motivational hype, but a fruit of a relationship, most often expressed as sharing in the life of the Spirit. The unity is generated on the basis of that relationship as an ongoing phenomenon. The result is wholeness--peace in the broadest sense. (William Loader)
4. The idea of unity in Ephesians is not about a huddled unity which keeps itself safe, but about an expansive and open unity. This is so because its understanding of God is like that. God is clearly personal, but also able to be thought of as being like a fluid which flows through all the universe. A positive relationship with God opens us to all of life. It is not about withdrawal or escape. As we shall see, Christ's body becomes an image for dreaming about the goodness of God filling the whole world. It is like Christ is a large body which keeps expanding as it incorporates more and more of reality and brings more and more of it into unity (both with the body and with all other reality). (William Loader)
5. I know as a theological truth worth insisting upon that there are no theological truths worth insisting upon... The truth that alone can redeem our theological certitudes, posturing and chatter from utter insignificance is finally not combative but conciliatory. If God is indeed agape, then we have reason to hope that God will look mercifully when viewing our woefully inadequate insights and self-interested truths and make far more of what we say and believe than we have any right to hope for... Yet beliefs and doctrines that appear to us to be mutually contradictory may in truth be evidence of the glorious diversity of the spiritual gifts flowing from God’s love in Jesus Christ. (Ronald Goetz)
6. In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity. (Philip Melanchthon)

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