Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

The past two Sundays we’ve explored the Apostle Paul’s ethical exhortation to the church at Ephesus. In these passages Paul is instructing the Ephesians in how they shall now live in light of what God has done in the world. You’ll recall in the first three chapters of Ephesians, Paul declares what God has done through the gift of grace, found in Jesus Christ. In the last three chapters Paul exhorts them to live a life worthy of the calling they have received. He has instructed the church in Ephesus to be united in Christ and to bear with one another in love with humility and gentleness. He called them to live not as unwise but as wise. This Sunday we’ll seek to understand the Apostle Paul’s final exhortation in this letter to the church at Ephesus. It is found in chapter 6 verses 10-20.

His final exhortation begins with these words, "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil." For those who have spent considerable time as part of a faith community, this passage may be very familiar to you. You might recall making crafts of the "whole armor of God" in Sunday school or Vacation Bible School. Being familiar with biblical passages is a good thing, but it also presents us with a challenge. In his book Deep and Wide Andy Stanly says, "Time in erodes awareness of." This means the longer we’ve been "in" a place, a community, a job, a home, the less aware we become of that place, community, job, home etc. We forget about that broken back-step, until our realtor points it out to us. We miss the new café on the street because we’re still seeing a vacant store front. The same is true in our relationship with scripture. Our familiarity with scripture can prevent us from gaining new awareness and understanding.

This Sunday we’ll explore the Apostle’s instruction to put on the whole armor of God. What kind of armor is God’s armor? What is the purpose of the God’s armor? What does it mean that it’s God’s armor and not our own? As we explore a few of these questions perhaps we’ll come to a new understanding of Paul’s instruction to the church at Ephesus and to us.

See you Sunday!

Pastor Dave