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


The Fifteenth Sunday After Pentecost
St. Matthew, Apostle & Evangelist
Series B
 


Option #1: "God's Great Love in Action"
Ephesians 2:4-10
Rev. Wayne Dobratz, B.D., M.Div.

1) He made you alive with Christ when you were dead in sin--vv4-5; see also Rom 6:3-4 and Eph 1:7. You were made alive with Him because you died to sin with Him on His cross and your sins were buried with Hhim in the Tomb.

2) It was all for your benefit and it is BY GRACE--v5; cf Rom 5:6, 8, 10-11

3) God raised you with Christ and gave you a place "in the heavenly realms"--v6; cf 1 Pet 1:3; Col 1:17-20; 3:4

4) His promises gives you a future and a hope. "In the coming ages He (will) show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus"--v7; see also John 12:26, 14:3

5) No boasting is allowed; it is a pure gift from the Giver of all good--vv8-9; Deut 7:7-9; John 3:14-18; Acts 13:39; Rom 3:22-26, 4:16; Gal 3:22; 1 John 5:10-12

6) Until these promises are fulfilled and faith becomes sight, we have work to do--v10: We were created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do; Heb 13:20-21; Rom 6:13; 12:1-2; Gal 2:20.

John MacArthur on Ephesians 2:4: Though greatly offended and sinned against (as depicted in the parable of Matt 18:23-35), because of God’s rich…mercy and His great love, He offered forgiveness and reconciliation to us... Though in their sin and rebellion all men participated in the wickedness of Jesus’ crucifixion, God’s mercy and love provide a way for them to participate in the righteousness of His crucifixion. "I know what you are and what you have done," He says; "but because of My great love for you, your penalty has been paid, My law’s judgment against you has been satisfied, through the work of My Son on your behalf. For His sake I offer you forgiveness. To come to Me you need only to come to Him." Not only did He love enough to forgive, but also enough to die for the very ones who had offended Him. "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13).

Our response:

And then for works to do for Thee,
which shall so sweet a pleasure be,
that angels well might envy me,
Christ crucified, I come! 

 

+   +   +

Children's Message on Ephesians 2:4b-5: But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved.

I want you to think about the last time you visited someone in the hospital. There’s a special part of the hospital called the intensive care unit. It’s for people who are very sick or injured. These people might die unless they get a lot of very special attention.

One of my wife’s relatives is in such a place right now. He was very sick and almost died. His kidneys stopped working. The doctor told his wife that they might be able to save his life, but that it would be very expensive. If they gave him a bag of medicine to put in his bloodstream, his kidneys might make a comeback. The only problem: the medicine costs $80,000/bag. She said yes and he is getting better.

Now turn on your imagination: suppose you’re the one lying there with the bad kidneys. You can’t afford $80,000 worth of medicine, plus the big bill you already have. But then a rich man hears about your trouble. He comes to see the doctor and says: "I will pay for the medicine; do whatever you have to do to save this (boy’s/girl’s) life. I will pay not only for the medicine, but also for all his/her expenses."

Wow! That man must really care a lot about you! Wouldn’t you say? But he doesn’t know you; you’ve never met him. And he still paid your bills.

God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ... What Jesus did is a lot like that. He did know and love you and He paid your bill in full. The bill was because of sin and the price He paid was the blood He shed on the cross for your sins. He really must love you a lot!

Now suppose that the man who paid your bills wanted you to come to his house. All he wanted you to do was spend a little time with him and do a little housework--wash the dishes, vacuum the floor. Would you mind doing that given all that He did for you? I didn’t think so.

 

That’s what Paul means when he writes: For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

God has a plan for your life, and it’s more than making money and to enjoy yourself. The plan is for you to love Him and to serve your fellow brothers and sisters. There is no greater life than this!

+   +   +

"Dr. Jesus"
Matthew 9:9-13
Rev. Kelly Bedard, B.A., M.Div.

 
Goal: that we would admit our spiritual sickness, be healed, and follow Jesus
 
Malady: worldly comfort and seemed security --> religious righteousness
 
Means: God the Father's healing through God the Son's reeling (on the cross) and God the Spirit's sealing (faith working!)
 
Notes:
 
1. When Jesus calls, He calls us to come and die. (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)
 
2. Disciples are those who risk a break with the familiar in order to follow Jesus. (Brueggemann)
 
3. Ritual purity, while important, is less important than love of God and love of neighbor. (Richard Donovan)
 
4. It is possible to be so active in the service of Christ as to forget to love him. (P. T. Forsyth)
 
5. It is certainly possible to be so active in the service of Christ as to forget to love our neighbor. Whenever self-discipline has become too central in the church, this mercy-word has been a corrective. (Bruner)
 
6. "Sinners" were not only people who lived immoral lives. In the broader sense, Jews called anyone who lived outside Judaism proper "sinners." Hence, Gentiles and outcasts from the community were "sinners." (Larry Broding)
 
7. These Pharisees...refuse [Jesus'] healing ministrations and delude themselves that all is well with them. Yet in their heartlessness they would let those whom they themselves call sick perish. Their guilt is double, their disease twofold. (R. C. H. Lenski)

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This page was revised on: Friday, January 20, 2006 12:10:33 PM