For All The Saints

“For All The Saints” 
Ephesians 1:11-23
Rev. Mark M. Vickers
November 6, 2016

Ephesians 1:11-23

11 In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance,[a] having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will, 12 so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory. 13 In 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; 14 this[b] is the pledge of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s own people, to the praise of his glory.

Paul’s Prayer

15 I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love[c] toward all the saints, and for this reason 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. 17 I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, 18 so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power. 20 God[d] put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come. 22 And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

Imagine being alone on an island, all alone. Nobody around, no cell phones, no text messaging, no nagging parents, no annoying teenagers. What would you do? If you are like me, the moment of bliss that jumps out at you would be probably hard to contain. Sounds like a great “escape” doesn’t it? 

However, what if it were like this permanently? It wasn’t just an escape? It was the way our life would be forever? I imagine, with some deep thought we might “re-think” this permanent fixture in our life. We would not do so well in that total isolation package. Many sociological studies would tell us that our existence as humans requires that we have interaction with others in some form or another.    

In the Christian journey we know that we need other people in our life and engaged in the journey with us as we move toward the cross. 

As we gather this morning to celebrate and remember the people who have been in our lives and have gone on to the Church eternal we are grateful to celebrate what they have given us. What they have left us in our faithful life. Paul’s prayer in vs. 15 sets the tone for us as we think about those lives that have influenced us, molded us and made us to be the people we are; “I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, and for this reason I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers.” You see in the Christian journey we have the beautiful gift of memory. To remember those who have made us who we are. For Paul and as it was for Wesley, the importance of this prayer for those who are with us and for those who have gone before us, we are called to remember them and the actions and words they have shared.   

Just think for a moment on that “blissful” island I described earlier. Who would mold you, make you, or impact your life? The Apostle Paul would suggest to us that a Christian life could not be faithfully lived in such an environment because our point of contact would not be evident. Paul was adamant that this human connection from God was passed down from Jesus to us and to those who went before us, just as we go before others in our Christian life. 

This is one of my favorite days of the Christian year because it is like getting a “booster shot” in faith! I get to spend the day thinking about those who have influenced my life and helped in my God path. Certainly, absolutely I have shed tears today and I will most likely shed some more, but they are mostly tears of gratitude and thankfulness for the influence my friends, my family has had on me.    

Yet it is evident that God in Jesus Christ has put this in our path. Paul’s wonderful prayer solidifies that promise as he reminds us today with these words, 

“God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come. And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.”

That my friends is the power of the church and the Christian faith put into powerful action. 

As we come to the table this morning, may we be moved to remember the saints that have gone before us and at the same time be mindful of what we need to do to be saints for those that follow us. 

 

AMEN AND AMEN!