I’m looking for advice on August theme ideas for preaching from Ephesians 4-6. I’m following the 3-year lectionary, and each of the four passages includes the thread of our speech, our words—to each other and to God. I have a couple notions listed below.
As background, here’s the “poster” for July. I’m preaching from Eph. 1-3 under the summertime theme of “First Base… Second Base… Third Base… Home: Learning from Baseball and Saint Paul.” Each week is a different base. The bases and passages relate as shown below:
• 1st Base: What Does It Take to Be Great? Ephesians 1:3-14 — July 1
• 2nd Base: What’s on Your Scorecard? Ephesians 2:1-10 — July 8
• Who’s the Designated Hitter? Rev. Willis Moerer — July 15
(Note: Because the sub was a semi-retired pastor on his way to the Hall of Fame, I referred to him as the Designated Hitter.)
• 3rd Base: Who’s on Your Team? Ephesians 2:11-22 — July 22
• Home: What’s the Secret to Winning? Ephesians 3:14-21 — July 29
So far, I have two sets of ideas for August—one about life together and the other focused on words. I appreciate any input you have:
• Does one theme fit Ephesians 4-6 better?
• Would one theme resonate more strongly with your congregation?
• Does one theme provide a better handle for grasping Paul’s thoughts in 2012?
• What theme are you using if you are preaching from Ephesians?
• Or, does another theme come to mind?
• Any thoughts about what to keep or what to change for the weekly topic?
The Comment option is after the Ephesians passages below in which I have highlighted some key passages. Thanksamillion!
Sermon Theme Ideas for August:
Let’s Raze Hell Together!
• Serve Together (Ephesians 4:1-16, August 5)
• Forgive Together (Ephesians 4:25–5:2, August 12)
• Worship Together (Ephesians 5:15-20, August 19)
• Fight Together (Ephesians 6:10-20, August 26)
Options 2A and 2B
Words Win! or
WWJS? What Would Jesus Say?
• Words Fertilize (Ephesians 4:1-16, August 5)
• Words Build (Ephesians 4:25–5:2, August 12)
• Words Lift (Ephesians 5:15-20, August 19)
• Words Fight (Ephesians 6:10-20, August 26)
August 5, Theme Ideas:
Words: Words Fertilize; Words Accelerate; Words Feed; Words Catalyze
Life Together: Serve Together
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit —just as you were called to one hope when you were called — 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
7 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. 8 This is why it says:
“When he ascended on high,
he led captives in his train
and gave gifts to men.”
9 (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions[c]? 10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) 11 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12 to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
August 12, Theme Ideas:
Words: Words Build; Words Benefit
Life Together: Forgive Together; Give Together
25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin”[a]: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.
29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
5 Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
August 19, Theme Ideas:
Words: Words Worship; Words Lift
Life Together: Worship Together
15 Be very careful, then, how you live —not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. 19 Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
August 26, Theme Ideas:
Words: Words Win; Words Fight
Life Together: Fight Together; Pray Together
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
19 Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.