Support and Resources For Pastors and
Christian Ministry Professionals
Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Editor
Twelfth Sunday After
Option #1: "Some
Helpful Advice from the Owner's Manual"
Rev. Wayne Dobratz,
Note: For the sake of
coherence, I have chosen to add verse 29 to this pericope.
1) WHAT TO AVOID
Word Pictures in
the New Testament: v29: corrupt (sapros): rotten, putrid,
like fruit (Matthew 7:17f), fish (Matthew 13:48); here the opposite of
agathos (good); for edifying as the need may be (pros
oikodome˘n te˘s chreias); for the build-up of the need, for
supplying help when there is need. Let no other words come out. v30:
Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God (me˘ lupeite to pneuma to hagion
tou theou); "cease grieving" or "do not have the habit of grieving."
v31: bitterness (pikria); old word from pikros (bitter),
in NT only here and Acts 8:23; Rom 3:14; Heb 12:15; clamour (krauge˘):
old word for outcry (Matthew 25:6; Luke 1:42); see Colossians 3:8. Be
put away (arthe˘to˘): first aorist passive imperative of airo˘,
old verb, to pick up and carry away, to make a clean sweep.
2) WHAT TO DO
Word Pictures in
the New Testament: Be kind to one another (ginesthe eis
alle˘lous chre˘stoi); present middle imperative of ginomai,
"keep on becoming kind (chre˘stos, used of God in Romans 2:4)
toward one another." See Colossians 3:12f. Tenderhearted (eusplagchnoi):
late word (eu, splagchna) once in Hippocrates, in LXX, here and 1
Peter 3:8 in NT. 5:1: Imitators of God (mime˘tai tou theou): this
old word from mimeomai Paul boldly uses. If we are to be like
God, we must imitate him.
3) VIEW THE
ACCOMPANYING ILLUSTRATION (5:2)
Word Pictures in
the New Testament: An offering and a sacrifice to God (prosphoran
kai thusian to˘i theo˘i). Accusative in apposition with heauton
(himself): Christ’s death was an offering to God "in our behalf" (huper
he˘mo˘n), not an offering to the devil (Anselm), a ransom (lutron)
as Christ himself said (Matthew 20:28), Christ’s own view of his atoning
death. For an odor of a sweet smell (eis osme˘n euo˘dias): same
words in Philippians 4:18 from Leviticus 4:31; Paul often presents
Christ’s death as a propitiation (Romans 3:25), as in 1 John 2:2.
Barnes Notes on
the New Testament on Ephesians 4:32: As God for Christ’s sake hath
forgiven you--as God, on account of what Christ has suffered and done,
has pardoned you. This is to be the rule which we are to observe in
forgiving others. We are to do it "freely, fully, liberally." The
forgiveness is to be entire, cordial, constant. We are not to "rake up"
old offences and charge them again upon them; we are to treat them as
though they had not offended, for so God treats us.
1) That the
forgiveness of an offending brother or sister is a DUTY which we are not
at liberty to neglect.
2) The peace and
happiness of the church depend on it. All are liable to offend their
brethren, as all are liable to offend God; all need forgiveness of one
another, as we all need it of God.
3) There is no danger
of carrying it too far. Let the rule be observed, "As God has forgiven
you, so do you forgive others." Let a man recollect his own sins and
follies; let him look over his life and see how often he has offended
God; let him remember that all has been forgiven; and then, fresh with
this feeling, let him go and meet an offending brother and say, "My
brother, I forgive you. I do it frankly, fully, wholly. So Christ has
forgiven me; so I forgive you. The offence shall be no more remembered.
It shall not be referred to in our contact to harrow up your feelings;
it shall not diminish my love for you; it shall not prevent my uniting
with you in doing good. Christ treats me, a poor sinner, as a friend;
and so I will treat you."
+ + +
4:32: ...Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant
offering and sacrifice to God.
a can of air freshener
This is the time of
the year when we ride bicycles, motorcycles, convertibles, and in all
kinds of cars and trucks with the windows rolled down. The other night
two trucks passed me and there were young people riding on the back of
With all that
fresh air blowing at us in this warm weather, sometimes we have to smell
things we’d rather not smell. There’s a skunk that someone ran over; here’s
a raccoon on the highway that decided to run right under the wheels. That
was last Tuesday, and he’s still there. You can imagine what he smells like
I bring this up
because the Bible describes our sin this way. Right before the flood, the
Bible says: "Now the earth was corrupt in God's sight and was full of
violence. God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on
earth had corrupted their ways" (Genesis 6:11-12). When Moses was on the
mountain with God, the people started worshiping other gods. The Lord told
Moses: "Go down, because your people, whom you brought up out of Egypt, have
become corrupt" (Exodus 32:7). God says that we are CORRUPT with sin. That
means "Sin stinks!"
He has a
remedy. Your mom buys air freshener to deal with the problem of odors
in your home. God has his own air freshener. Paul says in today’s text:
"Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and
sacrifice to God."
When Noah came
out of the ark, he offered up a burnt offering. Then the Bible says: The
LORD smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: "Never
again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination
of his heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all
living creatures, as I have done" (Genesis 8:21). Animals were killed and
their bodies burned on an altar to cover up the corrupt odor of sin. It
smelled like steak on the grill. Paul says that Christ died for us and his
sacrifice covers over our sin. (SPRAY AIR FRESHENER)
never condemn anyone who has faith in Jesus, because Jesus’ death covers
over the bad odor of sin. Jesus
is our Savior and the world’s air freshener. (SPRAY AIR FRESHENER) Now He
wants us to live His life of love in our lives. So do your part about sin’s
air pollution. Live a life of love and let's freshen up this sinful old
world. (SPRAY AGAIN)
+ + +
"God-Flattery is the Sincerest Form of Imitation"
Bedard, B.A., M.Div.
became like us. Are we more and more becoming like Him?
oftentimes "grieve the Holy Spirit" by not imitating God and by failing to
live a life of love.
God made Christ walk the path of sacrifice and give Himself for us, the Holy
Spirit more and more empowers us to love and to live like Him and, as a
result, to lead others into such a love and walk.
1. C.S. Lewis, in his
Four Loves, begins by making the fundamental distinction between
"Gift-Love" and "Need-Love." He notes that in Gift-Love we are near to God
in likeness, for then we live according to the image of our Creator and
Redeemer. It is precisely through the love that pours itself out for others
that we are most like the divine. On the other hand, it is only through
Need-Love, a love that longs to be filled with the love of another, that we
can truly approach God--for what else are we than children in need of our
heavenly Father's love? It was the profound recognition of this Need-Love
that inspired Luther's theology even until his very last words, "We are all
beggars." It seems clear that in the confusion of these two kinds of love
lay many of the misguided answers to the question of Christian imitation. To
regard our neighbor only as a source of our own fulfillment or as a means
toward a higher more spiritual end (for example, salvation) is to turn love
into selfishness. Likewise, one approaches dangerously close to the pride of
the Pharisee (Luke 18:9-14) when our love for God is regarded as a gift that
fills a divine need... As C.S. Lewis concludes, we must never mistake "Like
for Same." (Erik Herrmann)
is the secret root of all: "fires fed within, and not appearing to
by-standers from without, are the most formidable." (Chrysostom)
3. "Forgiving" in 4:32
is not the word(s) traditionally used to express forgiveness but, instead,
from the root for "grace" or "gift." In other words, "do something pleasant
or agreeable (to one), to do a favour to, gratify, to show one's self
gracious, kind, benevolent" (Strong's), as God doesn't just "say"
forgiveness but gifted us with His Son and continually gifts us with His
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was revised on:
Monday, November 13, 2006 01:00:29 PM