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Sep 25, 2022

Sympathy for the Devil

Sympathy for the Devil

Passage: Ephesians 1:1

Speaker: Patrick Lafferty

Series: Song & Dance - The Gospel Melody that Moves in Ephesians

Keywords: father, grace, peace, saints, will

The melodies you most remember are those that move you–inwardly and outwardly. What song worth its salt doesn’t make you at least think of dancing to it? The book of Ephesians is in roughly two parts: the song of the gospel and the dance of the gospel. And the two while distinct are never separated. What is the essence of that song? What does it look like to dance to its tune? That will be our burden and privilege as we listen to Paul’s letter associated with the church in Ephesus. In just the first two verses we will be introduced to the singer, the audience, and the song.

Readings & Scripture

PREPARATION: Psalm 87:1-3, 5-7
LEADER: On the holy mount stands the city he founded;
the LORD loves the gates of Zion
more than all the dwelling places of Jacob.

PEOPLE: Glorious things of you are spoken,
O city of God.

LEADER: And of Zion it shall be said,
“This one and that one were born in her”;
for the Most High himself will establish her.
The LORD records as he registers the peoples,
“This one was born there.”

ALL: Singers and dancers alike say,
“All my springs are in you.”

LEADER: For it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. It has been testified somewhere,
“What is man, that you are mindful of him,
or the son of man, that you care for him?
You made him for a little while lower than the angels;
you have crowned him with glory and honor,
putting everything in subjection under his feet.”

Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

ALL: Thanks be to God.

CENTRAL TEXT: Ephesians 1:1-2 - Edward Isingoma
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,

To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

CONFESSION OF SIN: based on Matthew 8:26, John 14:27, Psalm 40:3
ALL: How many times did You look upon those you love and ask, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” In how many ways do we refuse the peace you mean to give–and not see it as the purpose and gift of Your grace to us? Where we have no peace, we cannot love, and both we and our world are the worse off. Help us to hear your song again. Help us to trust in the melody meant to lift our hearts and love your world.

ASSURANCE OF PARDON: Colossians 1:13-14
LEADER: He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

ALL: Thanks be to God.

BENEDICTION: Romans 16:20
LEADER: The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

ALL: And also with you! Amen!


  • John 6:40; 8:28
  • John 14:27
  • Acts 9
  • Galatians 3:1-6


  1. Your favorite singer, ever–go. Why them? The song you are most likely to sing in the shower (even if you’re not the kind of person who sings or sings in the shower)? Why that one?
  2. Read verse 1 and, if you’re in a group setting, have a mock debate. Some of you argue that verse 1 is evidence that Paul is completely arrogant to claim what he does about himself. The others take the position that the opposite is true. Have fun. Who won?
  3. How do you first think about being called a “saint”? Honored? Amused or bemused? Something else? Why? How is a “saint” and being “saintly” similar? How are they different?
  4. How do grace and peace go together? How do they relate? What is lost if either is omitted?
  5. If you are willing to be honest–you choose how much–where does peace elude you? From circumstances beyond your control, of from regrets you can’t get past, or from impulses you can’t quite shake, or from fears that keep you in a steady state of inner panic? Whatever the cause(s), how does the grace of God to us in Christ apply–how should it apply even if it feels like it doesn’t or can’t apply?


InView Media Album - 9.25.22 Album


  • The first practical help I ever received in the mastery of the English Bible was from a layman. We were fellow-attendants at a certain Christian conference or convention and thrown together a good deal for several days, and I saw something in his Christian life to which I was a comparative stranger—peace, a rest, a joy, a kind of spiritual poise I knew little about. One day I ventured to ask him how he had become possessed of the experience, when he replied, “By reading the epistle to the Ephesians.”  James Gray
  • "I think that if the beast who sleeps in man could be held down by threats-any kind of threat, whether of jail or of retribution after death-then the highest emblem of humanity would be the lion tamer in the circus with his whip, not the prophet who sacrificed himself. But this is just the point-what has for centuries raised man above the beast is not the cudgel, but an inward music-the irresistible power of unarmed truth."  Pasternak, Dr. Zhivago
  • What if – just for the remainder of this week, say – you were to proceed on the basis that the quest salvation-through-productivity was never going to work? . . .in Christianity, this idea takes the form of grace: the principle that God “offers you peace before you do anything.” You don’t accomplish things in life in order to attain peace; that’s unnecessary, indeed hubristic. You accomplish them as “a response of worship” to the peace you’ve already been given, deservedly or not. I don’t share Raynor’s religious convictions, so I’m not bringing this up in order to suggest that anyone else adopt them. But when I think about it, I’m obliged to concede that the opposing view — the culturally dominant [view] that says you do need to accomplish things in order to achieve a baseline level of OK-ness — is certainly no more rational or logical or scientific. There are no real grounds for it. Letting go of it, at least for a little while, is as easy as remembering that I can do so. Oliver Burkeman
  • We should be satisfied with the benefits of our Lord Jesus Christ, and that when we are grafted into his body and made one with him by belief of the gospel, then we may assure ourselves that he is the fountain which never dries up, nor can ever become exhausted, and that in him we have all variety of good things, and all perfection. John Calvin
  • The Devil exulted when Christ died, and by that very death of Christ the Devil was overcome: he took food, as it were, from a trap. He gloated over the death as if he were appointed a deputy of death; that in which he rejoiced became a prison for him. The cross of our Lord became a trap for the Devil; the death of the Lord was the food by which he was ensnared. Augustine
  • Confession is a beautiful act of great love. . . .nothing but humility in action. . . .When there is a gap between me and Christ, when my love is divided, anything can come to fill the gap. Confession is a place where I allow Jesus to take away from me everything that divides, that destroys. Mother Teresa