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An Army of One

Ephesians 6:10-18

Rev. Kurt Hering

13th S. a. Pentecost
Trinity Lutheran Church  
Layton, Utah


right-click to download MP3 of this sermon

Sun, Aug 30, 2009
13th S. a. Pentecost
 

Preaching to the saints of the Lutheran Church at Christ-Elkhart and Faith-Hugoton in Kansas since February 8, 2015. All sermons prior to that date were preached either at Trinity Lutheran Church-Layton or First Lutheran Church-Tooele, Utah.

Greetings to you, the Church Militant of Christ!

If you would like to hear the sermon preached at Trinity Lutheran Church in Layton, Utah for the 13TH Sunday after Pentecost, click on the MP3 link provided above:

The audio recording begins with the Hymn of the Day, "By Grace I'm Saved," LSB #860. The sermon starts at the 4:`15 mark.

Have a blessed week marching together as the redeemed of Christ's Church militant.

Rev. Kurt Hering, Pastor

Trinity Lutheran Church

Layton, Utah

Here is the preaching manuscript.

TEXT: Ephesians 6:10-18

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12For 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.

Dearly beloved of God,

If you haven't figured it out yet, Christianity is no picnic. It is not for the faint of heart. It does not guarantee a life of riches and success—of peace and tranquility. In fact, here Paul is preparing the Baptized of God for quite the opposite.

Every day we face a battle with an unholy trinity:

• The devil, who loves nothing more than to wrest us away from our loving Father.

• The world, that wants company in its misery and separation from God to justify itself with numbers and to avoid seeing its own guilt

• Our own sinful flesh, that wants what it wants when it wants it, no matter the harm it may do to others or even itself.

So having preached repentance and forgiveness and the holy life to the Christians at Ephesus, Paul brings his letter to a close much like our Lord brings the Scriptures to a close in the book of Revelation—with a warning of what lies ahead and exhortation as to how to prepare to face it.

13Therefore 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. 14Stand therefore,

• having fastened on the belt of truth,

• and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,

• and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.

• In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;

• and take the helmet of salvation, and

• the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,

• praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.

But here we need to remember some context. When he speaks of praying that should put us in mind of how Jesus taught us to pray—"Our Father . . . ." Even when we find ourselves alone, we are to pray in a way that reminds us we are never alone.

Paul is not writing this to any one individual. He is writing it to the Church at Ephesus, and so to the Church throughout the world and until the end of the age.

As he wrote in chapter 4:

There is) one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 7But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ's gift. . . .

. . . When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men." Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. Ephesians 4: 4-7, 15-16

So Paul is not writing to prepare a bunch of Rambos. This is not a Special Forces manual.

There may be some of those:

It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers,

But even those Special Forces are never alone or to function as if they were. And their purpose is not to be some super hero. That position is already full.

12to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up. until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Ephesians 4:11-14

No, there are no Rambos in God's army. Let us recall once again the words of Christ's apostle with which we began today:

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12For 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.

Another apostle of our Lord, Peter, gives us another take on this spiritual warfare:

Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8

He looks for the weak, the strays that have been separated from the herd.

Warfare works much the same way—especially spiritual warfare.

No wonder our Lord tells us through the letter to the Hebrews "not [to neglect] to meet together, as is the habit of some, but [to encourage] one another, and all the more as you see) the Day drawing near." Hebrews 10:25

Standing alone, even armed to the teeth, you are vulnerable. But amidst an assembled army, marching in step and formation, when the time comes that you stumble, or drop a weapon, or lower a shield in a time of weakness or fatigue the ranks are there to lift you up and bear you along.

"Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have sealed the servant of our God on their foreheads." 4And I heard the number of the sealed, 144,000, sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel: Revelation 7:3-4

Apart from Christ, and His body the Church, you are vulnerable. But thanks be to God, you are baptized into Christ and it is the work of the Holy Spirit to keep you with Christ Jesus in His holy Christian church with all the saints who are the body of Christ on earth.

We are indeed an army of One, not each one to ourselves to go it alone, but one in faith and one in baptism—one in the forgiveness of sins that gives us eternal life—in the name of the Father, and of the + Son, and of the Holy Spirit.



Insofar as this sermon is a true proclamation of the Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ, it belongs to Him and His Church. Therefore its use is free to all who deem it worthy and beneficial.



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