Summary: End of Vacation Bible SChool - wrapping up how it all fits together with our lesson today
† In the name of Jesus †
The great treasure of grace, mercy and peace, is your gift, from God our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ!
The depth of the riches of Christ – every spiritual blessing! - 1 Cor 1:5 – diamond!
I look around our altar area this morning, and part of me is in wonder. Somehow, up here, we have found room for a 15 foot camping canoe, an industrial fishing net made of inch and a half rope. We have a card-board hut inside which lives a puppet treasure chest named, of all things Chester. There are two inflated palm trees, a couple of parrots, some sea lanterns, and who knows what else.
Not what you really expect, when you think of a Lutheran church’s altar area.
Yet, after this week, I almost don’t want to take it down – because it represents this church, doing the work which God has entrusted to it.
Communicating one message, to the children of this community, and in some cases, to their parents as well.
It is the message that the apostle Paul wrote about to the church in Ephesus, that we heard read this morning. It is also the message that was so clearly communicated to the kids who attended Vacation Bible School. They heard, that Jesus is their greatest treasure(AVAST?), and that Jesus treasures us (AVAST!)
Or as their diamond jewel memory verse says, In Jesus, we have been enriched in every way.
That is the journey our sermon will take today, as we examine the epistle reading, and we realize how deep the love and grace of our God truly is. For it is an incredible journey, and the further we go, the more we realize God’s love toward us, and what it means.
For our visitors, I recommend keeping your bulletin open to page 8, as I will refer to the reading a lot during the sermon, and keep your note sheet handy.
He Chose Us
For a life of Holiness and Blameless-ness
There is a struggle there,
But no “should” about it
God is rich in His mercy
But the Destiny is set
How and Why?
We start, rather simply, in verse 4. It starts out, in that verse, talking about how God has chosen us, in Christ. That is a pretty incredible thing to think about, really. God chose us! Each of us, because of Christ’s work.
And He chose us for a purpose, to live Holy and Blameless lives. For those unfamiliar with those terms in a church setting, let me define them for you. To live holy, means to live set apart by God, for a purpose God intends. It doesn’t mean that we are goody-too-shoes, but instead that our life, no matter what we do, is seen as His, to fulfill His plans. It is not that God wants us to be robots, programmed, but that He chose and designed us, with certain gifts, and abilities, each one of us for a purpose. Blameless, means, literally, to not deviate from that path – that we actually do walk in the way that God intended for us to live. It is not so much where we walk, but how we walk, using the gifts He has given us, to love and serve each other, and in doing that, serving Him.
Of course, there is a problem there. Most of us, ok, all of us, have at times not walked in that kind of life style. We have deviated from God’s plan for our lives. We may have dropped off the path in pure self-service, or perhaps, we felt we had no choice, and lived our lives away from God in desperation. In church language, that is called a very simple word – sin. We are, as all human beings are, sinners, and because of that, we sin. Often with that sin, comes guilt or shame, for we realize that we fall short.
And maybe, if we have lived that way long enough, that guilt or shame convinces us that we cannot have been chosen by God. That’s where the verse the kids learned along with the sapphire gem comes into play. For they learned, from Eph. 2:4, that God is rich in mercy. Incredibly rich in His mercy. So rich in His mercy, that He chose us, knowing all that, and having a plan for dealing with sinners, so that He could, and has, made us saints.
He Adopted Us
In the beloved, we are blessed
Redemption thorugh His blood
Forgiveness of our sins -
We see that plan, as we proceed through the reading. As the amethyst gem verse states, we begin to ‘know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ! In verse 5, God makes clear his plan, the purpose of Christ’s life – to set for our destiny, that we would be adopted, by Him. This is part of how God delivers to us, every spiritual blessing. It is how He blesses us, in Christ. We are adopted by God, and we become His sons and daughters. In order to do this, verse 7 tells us that Jesus accomplished two things.