“Word for Today” – Ephesians 6 – www.concordialutheranchurch.com

November 5, 2009 at 4:45 am Leave a comment

Steve Jobs 1The iconic, even if somewhat aloof, CEO of Apple Inc., Steve Jobs, is well known for his highly anticipated keynote addresses, known as Stevenotes, delivered at Apple events all over the country.  His “Stevenotes” follow a predictable pattern.  He begins by presenting sales figures and reviews for Apple products released over the past few months.  He continues by presenting new products of moderate importance.  After that, he feigns some concluding remarks, turns to leave the stage, but then turns back and says, “But there is one more thing…”  And that “one more thing” is always his biggest announcement.  With this phrase he has introduced the wireless AirPort base station, the MacBook Pro, and the iPod Touch.  The “one more thing,” it turns out, always seems to be the most important thing.

The book of Ephesians could be considered a keynote address of sorts.  For in this little epistle, Paul covers many issues of importance to the Christian faith:  God’s divine choice in election (cf. 1:3-14), salvation by grace through faith (cf. 2:1-10), Jewish and Gentile relations (cf. 3:1-13), unity in Christ (cf. 4:1-6), and the order of a Christian household (cf. 5:22-6:9).  Indeed, some scholars believe this letter is written as a primer in Christian doctrine, intended not only for the Ephesians, but as a circular letter for all Christians everywhere.  This theory is derived in part from the fact that the earliest manuscripts of this letter omit the reference to Ephesus in 1:1.  Thus, although I would contend this letter was indeed for the Ephesian church because of other testimonies from antiquity, I would also contend that this letter was not for the Ephesians alone.  It was intended to be passed around as a keynote address.

In our reading for today from Ephesians 6, Paul is wrapping up his keynote address.  He has addressed both towering points of Christian doctrine and practical points of Christian life.  It seems as though Paul has finished.  But then, we read this word:  “Finally” (verse 10).  In Greek, this is the word loipos, most often translated in the New Testament as “other.”  The scene is this:  Paul has addressed many things in his letter.  His address now at last seems to be at its terminus.  He has wrapped things up, is walking off stage, but then, pauses, turns, and announces: “Loipos.  This is one other thing.  There is one more thing.”  And Paul’s “one more thing” is a huge thing:

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (verses 10-12)

Paul’s “one more thing” turns out to be a treatise on spiritual warfare.  For Satan will relentlessly try to entice and attack those who believe and confess the doctrine contained in this letter.  So Paul issues a call to Christians to gird themselves with God’s spiritual armor.  In his explanation of this armor, Paul mentions “the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God” (verse 17).  Satan is helpless against the sure and certain promises of God’s Word.  Martin Luther reminds us:

You will surely have the devil around you…Now, what is the devil?  Nothing else than what the Scriptures call him:  a liar and a murderer.  A liar who entices the heart away from God’s Word and blinds it, making you unable to feel your need or to come to Christ.  A murderer who begrudges you every hour of your life…Try this, therefore, and practice it well.  Just examine yourself, or look around a little, and cling only to the Scriptures. (LC V:80-83)

“Cling only to the Scriptures.”  For this is God’s effective armor against Satan.  Indeed, no piety, no work, and no effort of our own can defeat the evil one.  Only God’s Word and the message of Christ can accomplish such a feat.  And so we cling to that.

Is Satan attacking you?  Open the Scriptures, ponder their promises, and trust in the One whom the Scriptures reveal, Jesus Christ.  For his victory over sin, death, and the devil and for you is assured.  And that’s not just “one more thing,” that’s the very best thing.  For that is the gospel.  Praise be to God.

Entry filed under: Word for Today.

“Word for Today” – Ephesians 5 – www.concordialutheranchurch.com “Word for Today” – 1 John 1 – www.concordialutheranchurch.com

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