“A Pastor’s Message” Ephesians 5:6-21
The 13th Sunday after Pentecost (B) 8/19/18
Pastor Mark H. Hein, St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Lockport, IL
It was the first thing chanted in our liturgy this morning as we heard in the Introit that, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding.” (Psalm 111:10)
And then in the Gradual came the clear injunction to “Fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him lack nothing!” (Psalm 34:9)
Finally, in this morning’s reading from the Book of Proverbs, what did it say? “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.” (Proverbs 9:10)
There you have it… a clear correlation… a common thread… a common thought… a common fact… that true wisdom is to be found and only found… it all begins… in the fear of the Lord… in the good, right and salutary fear, holy fear, true fear, true honor, reverence and respect of the Lord our God.
Something that is absent from this world and our society… Godly fear and Godly wisdom… that which is, thankfully, instilled in us by the Holy Spirit as we, in Him, come to realize, recognize and appreciate more and more the awesomeness of the one true God.
As we hear about, read about and consider the same in Scripture, it takes our breath away. We fall to the ground and lie prostrate before the Holy One. We give Him – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – all glory and honor.
Indeed, in His holy presence, we immediately realize how sinful and unclean we are. So undeserving to even be in His presence. So undeserving of all He has lovingly, mercifully and graciously bestowed upon us. The greatest being His holiness and this in the blessed exchange of God the Son, on the cross, taking upon Himself our sins and in return giving us His righteousness.
There and then, through Christ’s innocent suffering and death, we became children of light with the darkness of sin, our sins, blotted out forever by our Savior’s precious blood.
We are now free in Jesus Christ… free from sin, death and the devil’s control. And the only one who can take this freedom from us… is us! Of our own doing! And this as we separate ourselves from the Lord, His Word, His will, His Church and the fellowship of believers. This, as we again buy into the foolish ways and beliefs of this world and our society.
Ask yourself… how worldly am I in what I do, what I say and how I think… in terms of what occupies the lion share of my time and effort? It is not only a valid question, it is an essential one given the fact that we can so easily once again become prisoners of sin. We can, on our own, leave the light of Christ and dwell in darkness.
Many do that now as many did once then. Many of our Lord’s own disciples turned their backs on Him… left Him because they decided that they could no longer bear what He was preaching, teaching and proclaiming. It was all too much for them. It wasn’t what their itching ears wanted to hear.
The account recorded in our Gospel text is a chilling one as we are told that, “After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the Twelve, ‘Do you want to go away as well?’ Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.’” (John 6:66-69)
You, Lord, have the words of eternal life. You, Lord are the very Word of life… the Light of our life… the Holy One of God. The One through Whom we are made holy. The One through Whom we remain holy and yes, wise… and this by Word and Sacrament.
Which now leads us to the great importance of what we find written in our Epistle text. It is a divinely inspired message from the Apostle Paul. It is a message from a pastor who shows true love and caring for the flock… at Ephesus yes, but elsewhere, everywhere… for all time. Written and conveyed so that no one… not you… or you… not me or anyone is led astray, led away from our Savior and our salvation.
A pastor’s message, which reads in part… “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not associate with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.”
“Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” (Ephesians 5:6-17)
Understand, St. Paul declares… and what every pastor after him shares… what the will of the Lord is. Come to know more and more and rejoice more and more in His holy will… His will that you live in His love… that you live in the forgiveness, full and complete, He won for you on the cross… that you walk in the marvelous light that He provides making all of your footsteps sure during your sojourn here below… His will that when all is said and done here on earth, you joyfully enter the mansions prepared for you and all the faithful.
By the power of the Holy Spirit, walk closely with Jesus, my friends. Walk closely in His wisdom and will … and be at peace now and forevermore. Amen!