Summary: A sermon for a friend’s installation service at a new congregation using a text that was one of his favorites.
September 14, 2003 Ephesians 6:19-20
Introduction and remarks
and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. NKJV
I. The Apostle Paul asks for prayer for…
A. Utterance— Words to be given him. We are to preach GOD’S message.
A woman from Kentucky tells this story. After directory assistance gave me my boyfriend’s new telephone number, I dialed him and got a woman.
"Is Mike there?" I asked.
"He’s in the shower," she responded.
"Please tell him his girlfriend phoned," I said and hung up.
When he didn’t call back, I dialed again.
This time a man answered. "This is Mike."
"You’re not my boyfriend!" I exclaimed.
"I know" he replied, "That’s what I’ve been trying to tell my wife for the past half-hour."
“The Apostle is conscious that a great responsibility has devolved upon him to preach the Gospel. In doing so he wants to be sure that, when opportunities present themselves, he will speak the right word. He wants to be sure that his word is always God’s word.” (Beacon Bible Commentary on Ephesians, pg 268).
Jeff, you know that as a minister you receive inspiration for messages from a number of places. Illustrations sometimes come from personal experiences or funny stories. This be sure of, preach God’s message. We, like Paul have been given a tremendous responsibility to proclaim the Word of the Lord. Let God speak through you.
B. To Open his mouth boldly, To preach the mystery
For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. NKJV
“He wants power to declare the truth that God in Christ Jesus has provided salvation for all men, both Jew and Greek. He desires courage to preach this message without flinching before the face of men and without compromising the Gospel.” (Beacon Bible Commentary on Ephesians, pg 268).
Jeff, you know that sometimes you have hard or uncomfortable messages to preach. Speak boldly the message of God. Be ready to give a defense of the Gospel to those who do not understand.
C. We should ask for help from God, family, & Church. We cannot do it alone!
One commentator commented on this passage in this way, “No preacher stands above the need of being prayed for. The critics in some of our churches would render a service if they would pray more for the preacher and criticize him less. Dear friend, all of God’s servants need help from heaven. None of us has strength and wisdom of his own to carry the battle to the enemy…” (Lehman Strauss Devotional Studies in Galatians and Ephesians). Jeff, ask for help from God, your family, the church and your fellow ministers. Paul asks Timothy to come to him in II Timothy because all others have forsaken him.
II. The Apostle Paul was ‘an Ambassador in Chains’.
A. An ambassador in chains?
What Paul was probably referring to was a wrist chain running from him to a soldier. I’ve wondered who was actually a prisoner here. Paul or the soldier? Imagine being chained to the Apostle Paul. How could you help but to be saved?
An ambassador of a nation or kingdom is given diplomatic immunity in the nation where he is serving. It would be the highest of insults to another nation to place their ambassador in custody. It would be an act of war. Not only in this instance but the Apostle Paul suffered much for the sake of the Gospel. We must remember that we are in a war. There was opposition to Paul and there will be to us. Jeff, know that when God works, the devil will oppose you. Take heart and do not be discouraged.
B. There is a cost for us as well.
You don’t have to be in the ministry for long before you realize that it is a calling that you’re family must hear as well (not just you!). Although not many ministers are imprisoned for the Gospel in America today there is a cost that we and our families pay. As a pastor we must not only seek to protect the church, we must seek to protect our families as well. Jeff, protect your family as well as the church.