Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Only Offensive

From this morning's sermon,

It has often been noted that the armour described [in Ephesians 6] is not meant for offensive attack. There is no spear, bow, or long sword. The equipment described assumes close and intimate contact. It is interesting that the only piece of equipment used for any sort of offence is the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God. We often make truth or righteousness or even salvation as the sword we wield. We try to outdo our opponents in disputes over truth. We claim victory in our acts of righteousness. Or we divide people over our claims about salvation. Instead of offensive weapons Paul describes these things as gifted to us, that we take up and dress ourselves in. This sword of the Spirit is also mentioned in the book of Hebrews where it says, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”
And so even this one offensive object is something we ourselves can never master or control but is something that we allow to work on ourselves as much as others. When we allow the sword of the Spirit, the word of God, free movement it shifts from being the crusaders sword to the surgeon’s scalpel and the priest’s sacrificial knife able to make cuts and incisions that work for healing and wholeness.

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