Perseverance in Christ, 3

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As Paul wrote about perseverance and standing firm, he focused most of his exhortation on God’s power and might working through His armor to strengthen the believer for spiritual battle in which victory is assured. This emphasis on God’s work is important, for without Him we can do nothing. However, even in saying all of this Paul puts clear obligation on the believer to act in certain ways that run behind the strong work of God on his behalf. For example, Paul commands us to take up the armor of God and to stand firm in Ephesians 4:10-17. Additionally making use of the different pieces of armor implies a responsibility on the part of the believer to avoid passivity in his worthy walk. Paul adds more responsibility in v18-20, most significantly, prayer. Prayer is such an interesting work and perhaps is the best work by which we can evaluate the synergistic nature of our perseverance. Orthodox believers have refused to claim that prayer in some way changes God, for God proclaims Himself immutable in His Word, and nothing we can say or do can add to or detract from God in any way (Acts 17:25. But the Scriptures also teach that prayer effectively works (James 5:16-18). Herein lies the paradox of prayer, if prayer works how can we say that we don’t change God? And if prayer doesn’t change God, how can we say that it works? We need to look no further than the Lord’s prayer to understand this paradox a bit better. When Jesus teaches His disciples to pray, He tells them to pray “Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” When we pray we are bending our will to God’s will and seeking the fulfillment of His promises. We should be asking for His will to be done. And that is exactly the kind of prayer that Paul is encouraging in Ephesians 6:18-20. God’s will is that His saints persevere in His strength and with His armor on, and it is God’s will for His saints to be bold in proclaiming the gospel. Christian prayer is a peculiar thing, inexplicable even, but it’s a necessary thing because in it we fulfill our role in the work God is doing. It’s His strength and His armor that are working His will, but it’s our prayers bent to that will that work simultaneously with them. Praise God for bringing us into His work through prayer. –Pastor Rory

Sunday at Liberty

9AM: Paul Scharf–Introducing the Friends of Israel

10AM: Pastor Rory Martin–Ephesians 6:10-24–Perseverance in Christ, 3 (sermon notes)

5:30PM: Potluck

6:20PM: Paul Scharf–The Importance of Israel Today

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