Gudstjänst 17 januari kl. 11

Gudstjänsten 17.1 strömmas på församlingens facebook-sida: Betlehemskyrkan - Grankulla svenska metodistförsamling. Monica Lundgren talar och Mervi Palmberg sjunger. Nedan finns översättning av predikan till engelska - Below translation of the sermon into English.

Wearing the uniform of Christ – when fighting

Last Sunday we spoke about being clothed in Christ and used the picture of taking on the uniform of Christ. That uniform gives us a new identity and we can become like Christ, getting his qualities. The uniform is good for every day, also for days of celebrations, for weddings and especially for the big wedding day when Jesus is coming back to earth and calls all who believe in him to the big celebration. Today we are talking about wearing the uniform of Christ in fights. This uniform is also an equipment for fighting, a spiritual armor.

What are we fighting against? Paul talks in the letter to the Ephesians, chapter 6, about a wrestle against principalities, powers, the rulers of the darkness and in the same chapter the armor of God is described. The evil is everywhere and sometimes we don´t even recognize that there is a fight when we have to select between good and evil. The evil comes into our thoughts and creates unbelief and doubt, also in our feelings.

When are we tempted? Generally spoken, very often when we have experienced something good from God, the devil wants to take it away from us. When God has done something good in us, the devil wants to destroy it. The devil always wants to destroy and he is lying to us. Also, when we work passionately for God´s Kingdom, we have to fight. Sometimes, however not always applicable, we know that we are on the right way when we have to wrestle. If we are indifferent, the devil does not have to do anything. We are left alone and barely stays on God´s way and don´t carry very much fruit. What kind of temptations/fights do we experience? According to 1 Cor. 10:13 Paul says: No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful and will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. That is so good to remember. God´s power is always enough.

In the following we define some temptations: 1. The devil will make us deny our faith – he attacks straight to our heart. He can say to us: Do you really mean that God exists? Do you really believe that God has forgiven you that sin? Don´t you see that this is impossible? In these situations we need to wear the breastplate of righteousness. It will cover our body and all the vital organs, especially our heart. What kind of armor is this? Trust The Lord to have made you righteous – He sent Jesus to earth and he dies for your sins and has given you a new position before God, you have become a child of God. Proclaim this truth and keep to it! Everything will be possible for you. The devil also attacks our thoughts. Take on the helmet of salvation, it will protect your brain. Salvation gives us an identity, we know whom we belong to. Nothing can separate us from God´s love. Read Rom 8:38-39!

2. The devil wants us to be indifferent and passive Good deeds can not save us, but they are a consequence of our faith. Be willing to go with the gospel of peace, move your feet – both literally and figuratively. Paul says is Rom 12:2: And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is good and acceptable and perfect will of God. God is working in the present, he can renew us according to the situation that is now. For many of us the corona pandemic is the current reality. That is not a time when God wants us to do nothing. Seek God and ask him what he wants you to do. We cannot win a battle if we lie on the couch.

3. The devil wants us to deny the word of God and he does not want us to read it. Use the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God! The sword is used when attacking. We can destroy the work of the devil with it. We can win the battle! We can never read too much of God´s word. We need to feed us all the time with the Word. Paul says in Col 4:6: Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one. 2 Tim 3:16: All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. When Jesus was tempted after having been baptized, he always referred to the Scripture – it is written. God´s word tells the truth and shows how we can get help in every situation. We get inspired and guided by the word of God.

Many years ago one of my children found my Bible on the shelf and it was covered by dust. She told me: Dust on your Bible means dust on your soul. That will never happen again! God´s word is alive and keeps us healthy and is a perfect armour. Finally: when having the identity of Christ, we have the power to command the devil to disappear. We belong to God and we can act with his power. Use it and win!

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