“The Character of Christ” (Ephesians 1:3-14) Sunday, March 18, 2018    

Lenten Candle Extinguishing: (4 unlit, 2 purple & Christ candle lit)

 

L1:       Today is the fifth Sunday in Lent. We remember Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem. Each week the Light of the World diminishes.

 

L2:       When the days drew near for Jesus to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.

 

P:          On their way he and the disciples enter a Samaritan village, but they do not receive him.

 

L1:        As they are going, someone says to Jesus, “I will follow you wherever you go.”

 

P:         Jesus replies, “Foxes have holes, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”

 

L2:       Jesus invites others along the way, “Follow me.”

 

P:         But instead of following they say, “Let me first go and bury my father” or Let me first go and say farewell.”

 

L1:       Jesus invites a rich young ruler—pious in keeping the commandments and eager to inherit eternal life—to sell his possessions, give them to the poor, and follow him.

 

P:         The man goes away shocked, sad, and grieving. The light of salvation’s invitation is refused, and a shadow darkens that light.

 

L2:       (Leading unison prayer): Let us pray in one voice:

 

U:        God who summons us from death to life, your call invites us to leave our shadowy lives of comfort for life on the road with you. Discipleship is never convenient, nor is the cost of following you cheap. Our possessions and priorities can hinder or prevent our obedience to your invitation, and our shadows darken that light.  (Extinguish candle). Forgive us, O God, in your great mercy. Amen.

 

L:         Let us sing, “Here Hangs a Man Discarded.”

 

Scripture (Ephesians 1:3-14)                        

                                   

Our reading comes from the letter to the Ephesians.    

3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,

4just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love.

5He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will,

6to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.

7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace

8that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and insight

9he has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ,

10as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

11In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will,

12so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory.

13In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit;

14this is the pledge of our inheritance towards redemption as God’s own people, to the praise of his glory.

Here ends our reading. May God bless our understanding.

@Copyrighted by Rev. Dr. Troy Sybrant Sermon:  “The Character of Christ” (Ephesians 1:3-14) Sunday, March 18, 2018  

 

“The Character of Christ”

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