PAUL UNCOVERS DELIGHTIN YOUR TIMES OF...

I. Weakness

II. Emptiness

III. Amazement


Ephesians 3:14-21 14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15

from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I

pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power

through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your

hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in

love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide

and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love

that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all

the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more

than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within

us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all

generations, for ever and ever! Amen.


In the name of Jesus Christ, who dwells in our hearts and works in our lives to

uncover delight in a world of sin, dear Christian friends, Amazed, incredulous, shocked— all words that might describe Jesus’ mother Mary after she witnessed her son change water into wine. She probably knew he could do a miracle like this, based on what she was learning about her son over the thirty years of his life, but neither she, nor anyone else, had seen it before as this was “the first of his miraculous signs” (Jn 2:11).

What was she to make of it? Was this a sign that Jesus could do all things, but

that he might use his power for evil, not good? Was this a sign that Jesus could do all

things and therefore would soon leave her to go on to bigger and better things? Was

this a sign that Jesus could do all things and that she should just take it all in and be

thankful for whatever good he would accomplish?

If the Apostle Paul had been at the wedding where this miraculous event took

place, he might have shared these words before us today to uncover delight for Mary in


PAUL UNCOVERS DELIGHT

IN YOUR TIMES OF...

I. Weakness

II. Emptiness

III.Amazement


2 her time of weakness, emptiness and amazement. It is the same kind of effect these

words can have in our lives. Listen to them and look for ways to apply them in your life

and in the lives of those around you, for PAUL UNCOVERS DELIGHT IN YOUR TIMES OF...

I. Weakness II. Emptiness III. Amazement.

What would Paul say to you when the lure of worldly wealth overcame you and

you put in all those extra hours at work, for nothing more than a bigger paycheck to buy

bigger toys, even though it meant your personal health declined, your family life

suffered and your devotional life was non-existent? What would Paul say to you when

your anger careened out of control, leading you to post derogatory comments against

your elected leaders, to shout obscenities at your classmate or to physically or

emotionally harm your child? What would Paul say to you when you thought you could

get through life on your own, so you stopped attending worship and Bible study and

never opened your devotional book or your Bible app?

How fitting these words would be at those times, right? I pray that out of his

glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner

being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.

When does greed overwhelm us or anger control us or spiritual apathy affect us?

It is when we are weak. We remain Christians, but in our weakness we think and act like

those who are not Christians. So, we need the strength and power that comes from

God’s Holy Spirit working through his Word, which we are receiving right now, but

which can be so easily overlooked or accidentally avoided when we prioritize sports or

the internet or extra sleep ahead of the Lord.

Remember these words and rely on God’s strength in your times of weakness.

Find delight in the fact that you do not have to sin. You do not have to fall for Satan’s

temptations. You do not have to follow the wicked ways of the world just because

“everyone else is doing it”. The one who changed water into wine can and does change

your heart of unbelief and sin to one of faith and holy living.

What would Paul say to you when you watch your loved ones die and enter

heaven? What would Paul say to you when you establish a new relationship of love, but

then it is broken off? What would Paul say to you when the career that defines your life

is ripped out from underneath you?

Would these words help? And I pray that you, being rooted and established in

love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and

high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—

that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Your loved one who never dies is Jesus. While other relationships of love are

nice, but the one you must have is with Jesus. The thing that defines you is not your

career, but rather your connection to Jesus as his child of faith.

When your loved one dies trusting in Jesus, see it as an act of God’s

immeasurable love as that loved one has “the salvation of her soul, the goal of her

faith” (1 Pt 1:9). When you suffer through a broken relationship, trust the four

dimensions of Jesus’ love to uphold you When you no longer are employed, depend on

Jesus’ love to care for you until he unveils and you discover the next career path.


3 With these words, Paul uncovers delight in our times of emptiness. That

emptiness in our lives can be caused by many different things, but can always be filled

with “the one thing needed” (Lk 10:42). The conversation you used to have with your

loved one now passed away can be replaced with God talking to you through his Word

and you talking to him through prayer. The time you spent with your significant other

or at work can be filled in with the time you give to learning more about how wide and

long and high and deep is the love of Christ through corporate and personal Bible study

and discussions with like-minded Christians.

What would Paul say to you when you go to the bluff on a clear day and watch

the amazing colors of a Lake Michigan sunset? What would Paul say to you when you

are suffering with a dire illness? What would Paul say to you when you hear once again

in Word and Sacrament that Jesus lived, died and rose again to win forgiveness for every

one of your sins or that the parent, the child, the church member, the classmate, the co-

worker you sinned against has forgiven you of your wrongdoing?


How appropriate would these words be at those times? Now to him who is able

to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at

work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all

generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

With these words, Paul uncovers delight in our times of amazement. We can

find delight because God delivers more than we ask for, not less: more beauty in his

creation, more hope and healing in our lives, more forgiveness for our innumerable sins.

He is the one who is to receive all the glory, honor, and praise from us!

Because the Apostle Paul is no longer here to say these things of our second

reading to you, make sure you continue to hear these words as God speaks them to you

through his holy Scriptures. Follow them and find your delight in them!

And when others need to hear them, make sure you tell them. You are not the

only one to encounter times of weakness, emptiness and amazement. Help others

uncover delight in those times, just as God, through Paul, has done for you.

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