S-1512 14SAP/3B 8/30/2015 Hymns: (O) #594; (S) #662; (C) #660
Texts: Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-9; Ephesians 6:10-20; Mark 7:14-23
Theme: “Armed With POWER!” Ephesians 6:10-11
Question: “Do you enjoy having power?” (3rd sermon at Trinity)
Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Alleluia! The text for the 14th Sunday after Pentecost is the Epistle reading. “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil” Mark (7:1-5).
Precious children of the heavenly Father walk into any convenience store and you will find an assortment of energy bars and drinks. These bars and drinks are supposed to make you strong and powerful. I stopped to check them out in preparation of my sermon. Here are few that I found available: Power aid, power drink, Red Bull and 5 hours energy drink. There are Power Bar+, Supreme Protein, and Lean Muscle to name a few.
The companies that sells them claims that these drinks and bars will give you POWER—power to run faster and farther. You will have more strength and stamina. They will give you power like Samson, and Superman. Young men take them to impress the girls. Young ladies take them to impress the guys. But so do the older generation. For those of us whose “get up and go has got up and went”, we like to have power to accomplish the task at hand. All of us in this room desire to have more power to get the job done. Power gives us stature and sometimes fame. But do they really? Do these chemicals that we take into our bodies really make us like Samson and Superman?
Today, the Holy Spirit through the pen of Pastor Paul tells us, “…be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” Notice please what Paul is emphasizing here, “Be strong in the Lord!” The strength that we need to daily to fight the enemy is from the Lord and not from us. Our strength doesn’t come from our own power that we make by exercising in the gym or in the chemicals we take into our bodies, but rather is given us by the Lord Himself. If we stand, we stand because God made it possible for us to stand. How tragic though that we often rely on our own power rather than God’s. We look to ourselves rather than our Savior. We depend on what we have rather than on what God provides. PAUSE.
Almost all of us have one of these (show cell phone), these are wonderful invention. They give us power to communicate with others all over the world. We rely on them often and desire to have them with us at all times. Just last week my wife and I were leaving our home in Armour to come to Sioux Falls. Two miles out of town she said: “Oh, no!” I responded, “What is wrong honey?” She answered, “I forgot my phone at home.” You know what I did…right? I turned around to get the phone. That phone is power. It helps us reach out to others. But that phone is useless unless it is charged. Daily we plug it in so that it will have enough power to serve us. And if we are in a place where there is no good signal, we lift it up high (demonstrate) and try to reach a place that will give us power to make contact with someone.
We have become dependent on the cell phones that it is almost impossible for us to leave home without them. Wouldn’t be wonderful if we did the same with the Word of God take it with us wherever we go? It surely would. It would give us power to fight our enemy—the devil because we are armed with the strength of the Lord. PAUSE.
Saints in Christ, Pastor Paul tells us to put on the whole ARMOR God so that we might be able to stand against the evil one—the devil. We don’t stand on our own power but the power of God. Certainly we have many things to help us stand against our enemies. They are all defensive mechanism. Daily we use things to defend us and keep us secure. Some have security system in house or office. Some have passwords on our computer or cell phone. Some wear helmet on bikes or while playing football. We have air bags in cars and many other things. These are gifts to keep us from harm’s way. This is what the Apostle Paul is encouraging us to do—to stand firm on the promises of God who gives us the Armor to wear. His Armor is what gives us power to destroy the enemy. As we stand under the grace of God we see Him at work in us and fighting for us.
By the way precious children of the heavenly Father, did you see the battle today? Did you observe what just took place? At the Font a battle ensued over Jacob’s life. At the Font the devil who had Jacob in his clutches didn’t want this child to come here. But Jesus, His loving Savior through water attached to the powerful Word washed his sins away and made Him His child forever and ever. Thank the Lord Jesus, that He has won the war on behalf of Jacob and all of us. Here, today, you saw a mighty battle fought by Jesus on your behalf and destroyed every arrow of the devil. That little garment that Christ put on during baptism, appears to be soft and gentle, but don’t be fooled. That is your armor against the fiery arrows of the devil. That garment is your protection because you are wrapped up in the strength of the Lord.
That is why the devil hates baptism. That is why we Christians love baptism. Today, this sinner became a saint and was given the garments of salvation to be presented holy and pure in the sight of God. There is power in Jesus. There is power in His Word. There is power in His blood. There is wonder working power in the precious blood of the Lamb of God—power to take away the sins of the world—and YOURS.
Beautiful people of God, daily we are attacked by our enemies. This world is filled with evil, sin, and temptation. But we don’t need to fear. We have an armor that has been given us to protect us and help us fight our enemy. The spiritual warfare that we face day in and day out can ware down your defenses. Spiritual strength and courage are needed for our spiritual warfare and suffering. And we have it in Christ our Savior. He is the One who arms us. He is the One who fights for us. He is the One who has defeated our arch enemy on Calvary’s cross, when He cried out: “IT IS FINISHED!”
Christ has won the victory. Now, we, His followers by the working of the Holy Spirit follow Him and know for certain no matter what the devil throws at us, we are able to stand armed with His Gospel. In another book, Paul wrote: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Rom. 1:16). Did you know that the word Paul uses for “power” in the original is dunamis from which we get the word dynamite?
Yes, the Word has power. Power that drives Satan and his cohorts away from us. Power that strengthens us in our walk of faith. Power that arms us for our daily battles. Today, the Holy Spirit puts on us the armor of God. So how do we do that? by praying for others because Satan’s attacks are relentless.
I pray that the Lord would arm and armor us for battle, just like He did for His servant David. Remember the story of David and Goliath. You can read about it In 1st Samuel 17. For forty days the giant Goliath taunted the army of Israel to have someone fight him. David heard of the challenge and accepted it. Saul and his commanders wanted him to wear his armor. David refused. He chose and armor that works—God’s mighty power.
Listen to this discourse between Goliath and David: “And the Philistine moved forward and came near to David, with his shield-bearer in front of him. And when the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained him, for he was but a youth, ruddy and handsome in appearance. And the Philistine said to David, ‘Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?’ And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. The Philistine said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and to the beasts of the field.” Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hand.” (1 Samuel 17:41-47).
David did destroy the giant Goliath. But the greater Son of David, Jesus fought our battle on Calvary’s cross and defeated the devil, sin and death once and for all. And He Won. The victory is the Lord’s. In Him and through Him we are armed with power.
The power you need and seek will not be found in a bottle that you drink, or a candy bar that you eat. But real power is given to us through His blood which we drink, and His body which we eat. Week in and week out we gather in this place to be fed, nurtured and nourished through His mighty and powerful Word. Daily we stand firm on His promises that delivers. Through His grace we are armed with power—power for today and forever. Amen.
Now the peace…
SOLI DEO GLORIA