Commentaries Written by Doug Bratt

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Ephesians 6:10-20 Sermon Commentary

Proper 16B

The past approximately 17 months have taken a heavy toll on many of this Sunday’s Epistolary Lesson’s proclaimers and hearers. The pandemic and efforts to mitigate its affects have caused great physical, mental and even spiritual suffering. They’ve left us exhausted. What’s more, just when we seemed to have turned a corner, COVID-19 seems to…

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Ephesians 5:15-20 Sermon Commentary

Proper 15B

Near the middle of this Sunday’s Epistolary Lesson the apostle summons his readers to “understand what the Lord’s will is” (17b). In a letter that he soaks with grace, this may be among the biggest challenges he sets before God’s Ephesian adopted sons and daughters. Paul spends much of the first part of his letter…

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Ephesians 4:25-5:2 Sermon Commentary

Proper 14B

“Imitation” may be, as Charles Colton once famously wrote, “the sincerest of flattery.” However, some attempts at imitation may also be the sincerest of sheer folly. A six-year-old might, for example, try to flatter LeBron James by trying to dunk a basketball – with potentially disastrous consequences. Who can, however, as Paul’s calls us in…

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Ephesians 4:1-16 Sermon Commentary

Proper 13B

E Pluribus Unum (“out of many, one”) is one of the United States’ oldest mottoes. It originally reflected the diverse American colonies and colonists’ desire to unite into one nation. However, Ephesians 4 implies that E Pluribus Unum might also be one of the Christian church’s mottoes. After all, it reminds its readers that a…

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Ephesians 3:14-21 Sermon Commentary

Proper 12B

This Sunday’s Epistolary Lesson’s first five words, “I kneel before the Father” (14) suggests that its hearers are eavesdropping on Paul’s prayer. However, the Scriptures’ prayers always almost make me wonder, “How do you preach about an inspired yet overheard prayer?” and “Should we even preach about an overheard prayer?” But Jesus’ friends might argue…

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Ephesians 2:11-22 Sermon Commentary

Proper 11B

Could Paul say anything more counter-cultural yet hopeful than Christ has made the two one? (14). We live, after all, in a world that’s deeply divided along so many lines. In fact, the gaps those fault lines create also seem to be widening. Democrats vs. Republicans. Liberal Party members vs. Conservative Party members. Vaxxers vs….

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Ephesians 1:3-14 Sermon Commentary

Proper 10B

Christians know that God didn’t create us to “eat, drink and be merry because tomorrow we die.” Yet that popular philosophy raises a number of interesting questions. It makes us wonder how God’s people should evaluate the purpose of our lives. How do we think about why God has put us here? Something in a…

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2 Corinthians 12:2-10 Sermon Commentary

Proper 9B

[God’s] power is made perfect in weakness might be one of the most appropriate and hopeful things the inspired Paul could say to his 2021 hearers. After all, in the past 18 months we’ve surely learned if not been reminded that we are weak. Among the countless reasons why the COVID-19 pandemic may have proven…

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2 Corinthians 8:7-15 Sermon Commentary

Proper 8B

This Sunday’s Epistolary Lesson’s proclaimers come, in a sense, with hands outstretched as we speak on giving. Yet if we’re going to do so, we’d better come up with some good reasons. So why should we preach or teach on what Paul calls “the grace of giving” (7b)? “What’s the matter?” some of our hearers…

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2 Corinthians 6:1-13 Sermon Commentary

Proper 7B

2 Corinthians 6 virtually drips with pathos. It reveals the heart of an apostle who has been both reconciled to God and invites others to be reconciled to God, but has been stonewalled by people to whom he longs to be reconciled. While God has graciously reconciled Paul to himself, Paul’s friends in Corinth have…

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