Tag Archives: Ephesians

The War of Words – Ephesians 6:12

LudditesI saw an online article 12 Phrases Progressives Need To Ditch (And What We Can Say Instead). Go read the article only if you want to bemoan the coming fall of Western civilization (don’t say I did not warn you!). The article is a shining example of how the battle of ideas in the Western world is being fought at the level of the words and phrases. Even the idea that these people self-label as “progressive” is part of that battle. Because if you are not progressive, then you must be a Luddite who is against “progress.”  Now, I could break down the full article, but will instead select a few low-lights from these “progressives” who appear to be taking over our country.

Low-light #1 from the article:

(7). Homophobic: People who oppose equal rights for gays, lesbians, and gender atypical individuals are not “afraid,” as the “phobic” suffix implies. They are mean, bigoted [profanity]. Instead, try: Anti-Gay.

I am so glad that these “progressives” are not mean or bigoted themselves, but are rather quite tolerant of all ideas which may include personal religious expression. What an encouragement that is to me that they will support my right to free speech in  the future. <end sarcasm>. At least they got the first part right. The overwhelming majority of people who believe homosexuality is a sin or merely bad for a society are not afraid of homosexuals. Now, the whole idea of “gender atypical” is ridiculous. For thousands of years everyone has been able easily recognize that people are either boys or girls, but somehow now we are incapable of understanding simple concepts of biology. So much for us evolving into more intelligent life forms.

Low-light #2 from the article:

(9). Pro-Life: Ugh. They are NOT pro-life. Once a child takes its first breath, these supposed conservative “pro-lifers” couldn’t care less about the quality of life for the child or mother. Let’s call them by their true name for once. Instead, try: Anti-Choice. Because, that’s what they really are about. They don’t care about “life.” They only seek to deny choices to women. Not just the choice of whether or not to have a child, but whether a woman can — like a man — embrace her full sexuality without having to worry about pregnancy, and whether she can make related choices about her body, her career, and when to have children, as men always have.

1984Now, it easy to throw around accusations claiming that pro-life individuals “couldn’t care less about the quality of life for the child or mother,” but they have no data to support this. However, it is clear from this paragraph that they are really “pro-promiscuity.” One of the saddest parts of this commentary (other than the rejoicing in the killing of babies) is that it holds up promiscuity and the shirking of family duties among men as something to be desired also by women. Perhaps we should just call these people selfish.
From these examples we see that this is a battle of ideas through the intentional manipulation of words and phrases (as presciently described by George Orwell in 1984). And, this is a battle that is waged not only among men and women, but by “the cosmic powers over this present darkness and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).
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Pray for boldness – Ephesians 6:19-20

We just finished our Vacation Bible School for which the memory verses were the well-known lines from Ephesians chapter 6 on taking up the armor of God. As is pretty typical, we stopped at verse 18. I happened to look at those verses today and read past to verses 19 and 20:

and [praying] also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak (Ephesians 6:19-20).

It is amazing to hear Paul ask for prayers that he would boldly proclaim the gospel while he is in chains for proclaiming the gospel. It was Paul’s bold proclamation that got him in chains in the first place. While we may not face imprisonment like Paul, all Christians should pray that we would have the boldness to proclaim the gospel. If Paul needed prayers for that boldness, certainly we need them too.

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The ditch on the left and the right – Ephesians 2:8-10

As humans, we have a tendency to go to extremes in either one direction or the other. And, as I seem to recall reading in a quote from Jonathan Edwards, Satan likes to push us hard toward those extremes. Satan does not care which ditch we end up in, just that we end up in a ditch.

We can see this problem when looking at two sets of Scripture versus. In the first passage we have:

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Awesome, excellent, reassuring words. The danger here is that we can fall on the side of cheap grace and think we can go on sinning so that God’s grace can abound. By no means! (Romans 6:1-2).

On the other side we have this passage:

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

We can focus on this verse and zero in on the good works we are doing and believe they are at least a part of the reason God loves us and saves us. Crash! Now we are in the opposite ditch and Satan can again rejoice.

Thankfully, the Holy Spirit put these 2 passages right next to each other AND in the perfect order. As many of you likely noticed, these verses are taken from one continuous passage:

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:8-10).

What comes first? Saved by grace through faith. What does it deny? Being saved by your works. What comes last and after you are saved? The reminder that you were created to go do the good works God has prepared. Perfect balance and perfect order. If we can can keep the whole passage in focus, we can avoid those nasty ditches on both sides no matter which way Satan tries to push.

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God’s beautiful plan for marriage – Ephesians 5:25-27

This is likely my last post until next week. Not so much because of the holidays, but because I will be traveling to attend the wedding of my oldest daughter. Our world, under the controlling influences of Satan, is doing its best to destroy God’s beautiful institution of marriage. But, thankfully the truth of God’s plan for marriage remains clear because He made it clear in the Scriptures from the very beginning:

Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him….So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh (Gen 2:18, 21-24).

Jesus affirmed God’s plan for marriage on numerous occasions (Matthew 19:3-4, Mark 10:6-9, among others). The love of a marriage is also a model of Christ’s love for the church as in Ephesians 5:25-27:

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.

So, my hopes and prayers will be that the marriage of my daughter and my new son-in-law will conform to God’s plan for marriage. However, I know all too well that Satan, the sinful world, and even their own sinful natures will try to destroy it. Satan does not want a beautiful, loving, holy marriage because it just might remind people of Christ’s love for sinners. And Satan hates that. So, they need those prayers all the more.

They will also need the Gospel—every day. Not just to save them from the wrath of God, but to remind them that their sins are forgiven, and therefore they are called to forgive the sins of their spouse. They need Christ’s love so they can love each other as God intended. It’s a beautiful plan for marriage, because it was God’s perfect plan from the beginning. Praise God!

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A long weekend with my family

I have not posted for a few days because I had the pleasure of enjoying a long weekend with my family camping up in the mountains of central Idaho. Every year 100+ of my closest family members get together for a long weekend of Bible study, worship, singing, fun, and food. The amazing thing is that every single one of us has been adopted into this family!

He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will (Ephesians 1:5).

You have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” (Romans 8:15).

While we tend to focus on our biological and earthly relatives as our family, Jesus made it clear that for Christians our true family is rooted in our standing in Christ Jesus and our relation to the Father.

And his mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him. And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, seeking you.” And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother” (Mark 3:31-35).

I look forward to the day when I can get together with my other millions of family members and worship our Savior together, forever. And to all my family members who may read this blog but I have not had the pleasure of meeting yet, I look forward to meeting you one day.

I certainly hope and pray that all of my earthly family will join me someday in that heavenly family. Yet, I can still rejoice today that I am part of a heavenly family that will always be together. Praise be to God for adopting me into such a wonderful family.

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Preach about Christ or Superman? – Ephesians 3:7-10

If your pastor is preaching about Superman this summer rather than about Jesus, then it is probably time to find a new church home. CNN has reported that Warner Bros. Studio has created a nine page document helping pastors prepare sermon series based upon the new movie. One pastor is quoted in the article as saying:

“When I sat and listened to the movie I actually saw it was the story of Christ, and the love of God was weaved into the story,” said the pastor.

Ummmm. No. Sorry, time to step down from the pulpit. Look, I have not seen the movie, but I am quite confident that Jesus is not a superman from another planet. He is God in flesh. The story of Superman is not the story of Jesus. Pastors are not called to preach about supermen, but about the unsearchable riches of Christ Jesus:

Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places (Ephesians 3:7-10).

If you see the movie this summer, I hope it is in the theater and not in your church. If it is in your church service, I would recommend heading for the exits as soon as the first clip begins to roll.

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But wait, there’s more! – Ephesians 2:4-7

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:4-7).

If you are a Christian and are not moved by those words, you had better check your pulse. No wait, that will not help since a Christian without a pulse will be enjoying those immeasurable riches.

This is one of those great “But God” verses demonstrating the sovereign love of God. I absolutely love the way it conveys the idea that we have already been raised up and seated in the heavenly places. One might think that Paul would point to our salvation in describing the immeasurably riches of God’s grace. He certainly could have! But, Paul tells us that God is going to show us even more of his grace in the future. Christian, if you heart is not beating faster thinking about that, go read it again!

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