The Message that Stands: Blogging Thru Eph in 150 Words or Less, 11


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LighthouseWe hear many messages in our society. Political messages and their spin seek our votes and corporate trust. Retail advertising messages seek to get us to purchase the next must-have product. Cultural message wish to convince us of a progressive or regressive position on social change. Social media sells the ideas that vanity, egotism, attention-grabbing, and speaking and bearing all without shame are to be valued above moderation, mystery, cordiality, and meekness.

From many corners we hear that the United States is great, without any reference to problems related to economic inequalities, systemic injustices, and moral vicissitude. Never mind those blights; the message seems to be that Uncle Sam is standing tall, the Bald Eagle soars, Lady Liberty’s torch shines bright, and Old Glory will wave strong until the world’s end. Ephesians by Eric Redmond

Above those messages, “the word of truth—the gospel of your salvation” stands (Eph. 1:13). We do well to call everyone to give attention to this message.

Lamb for Adam and Eve: Thru Eph in 150 Words or Less, 10


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Lamb 2As far as Adam and Eve knew, when God began to question them, they were dead in their sin, which in actuality they were. They had followed the prince of the power of the air and the passions of their flesh. They could not have known there was a mercy option for them; it had not been revealed, even though the option existed from all eternity.

God, who is rich in mercy, with the great love with which he loved these two persons who were naked before him in sin, made them alive with the death of an animal that provided their skin-coverings. By grace they were saved, and their guilt and shame before God was removed. They had nothing of which they could boast. They were the Creator’s workmanship alone. Their story is paradigmatic of salvation throughout Scripture.

I think the slain animal might have been a lamb. I can’t be certain, but in light of Gen. 3:15, it makes good sense.

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Spinning for All Eternity with the Sun through the Son: Thru Eph in 150 Words or Less, Part 9


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10f0.15“[A]s a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth” (Eph. 1:10).

As I watch the news story about our Sun spinning, I marvel even more at the grace toward believers that will unfold in eternity (Eph. 2:7)! All things in the universe will be united together in Christ, in a sense we do not fully understand as finite creatures (3:20-21). Simultaneously it will involve the Spirit dwelling in us corporately (Eph. 2:21-22), being filled with all of the fullness of God (1:23; 3:19), receiving back from the Lord good for the good we do on earth (6:8), and being one flesh like Adam and Eve (5:31-32).

As one married 25 years, I am very excited about the marriage of Christ to his Bride – including our spinning with the Sun through the Son – and the unspeakable, everlasting joy this means for us.

Ephesians by Eric Redmond#ktbeph #ktbephesians #ephesians #biblestudy

We, the Praise of God: Thru Eph in 150 Words or Less, Part 8



13782250_10154298492874898_344675783549758266_n“So that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.” – Ephesians 1:12

It is quite incredible that God, of his own free will, due to no merit in us, before there ever was a world, in Christ, chose to make believers “to the praise of his glory.” Without Christ, the hopeless will be to the terror of his wrath, as each of us should be.

A GM might be praised for acquiring a player that leads a team to a championship. The praise only will last as long as the team continues as a dynasty. For all of eternity, God will be praised for the great change he is making in us by acquiring us though Christ, and God should be praised for all that and more.

Ephesians by Eric Redmond

In Deep Prayer: Thru Eph in 150 Words or Less, Part 7



praying 3Even in his prayers Paul communicates rich theology. I ask in the study guide, “If the Ephesians already show love like Christ, what does Paul’s prayer for them tell us about demonstrating Christ’s love?” (p. 18.)

It would seem that there is more to walking in Christ by faith with love – Eph. 2:10; 4:1, 17; 5:2, 8, 15 – that goes beyond the initial act of justification. Yet in order to be faithful in walking, the Trinity (1:17) must act graciously to reveal more and more of the depths of the hope, riches, and power we have individually and corporately as believers.

Epistemologically, if Paul found it important to pray this prayer continually for 10 – 12 years, the truths the Ephesians needed to know come only by a unique working of the Spirit. How then should we be praying for our own congregations? Imagine what the results might be.

Ephesians: A 12-Week Study. Also available at #ktbeph
Ephesians by Eric Redmond

A Shower of Grace: Thru Eph in 150 Words or Less, Part 6



smiling-for-a-reason1“[A]ccording to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us…” (Eph. 1:7-8, ESV)

“Which he lavished upon us” is an interesting translation, (see too NET and NASB).  NLT uses “showered.” “Abounded to us” sounds unusual in the English, although that is what one sees when reading the Greek. But the sense the synonym – lavished – is correct: Through Christ, God has put His grace, as rich as it is (!), in all of its fullness, upon us lavishly, such that we are purchased to be Christ’s very own by means of his death on the cross—the redemption price, providing release from the penalty due to us for our sins. Whew!

Praise God in the highest for his glorious grace (Eph. 1:6, 12, 14)! We cannot boast of anything. We have contributed nothing to salvation—except the cause for the very need to be showered by Christ’s grace.

Ephesians by Eric Redmond#ktbeph #ephesians


Pre Sermon Statement Related to Recent National Shootings: Christ’s Humiliation and Exaltation


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imagesI love my church.

I love the people of my church.

My church is not a perfect church.

My church is a place of love, truth, and grace.

You would love my church too.

Yesterday I had the privilege of preaching in our morning services. Before the sermon, I also had the privilege of giving a few thoughts related to the recent national shootings. My brothers and sisters in Christ responded with grace.

The statement is below. The “humiliation and exaltation” line references the Westminster Shorter Catechism, questions 23 – 28:

23. What offices does Christ fill as our Redeemer?

Christ as our Redeemer fills the offices of a prophet, of a priest, and of a king, in his states both of humiliation and exaltation.

27. In what did Christ’s humiliation consist?

Christ’s humiliation consisted in being born, and that in a poor circumstance; in being subject to God’s law; in undergoing the miseries of this life, the wrath of God and the curse of death on the cross; in being buried; and in continuing under the power of death for a time.

28. In what does Christ’s exaltation consist?

Christ’s exaltation consists in his rising again from the dead on the third day; in ascending into heaven; in sitting at the right hand of God the Father; and in coming to judge the world at the last day.

The WSC is Christ-centered. It helps us think Gospel thoughts about life.

Did I mention that I love my church? Please come join me there in worship on Sunday.

Thank you, church family, for seeking Christ on this issues before us, and for helping me to do the same.


Good morning.

What a joy and gracious opportunity I have to stand before you today, in the place where Pastor Todd faithfully shepherds us through the word of God. With his coming absence today, yesterday afternoon Pastor Todd sent me a text to ask if I had plans to speak to the national events of this past week. I replied by saying that I had prepared a few lines, to which he replied, “Feel free to make more than a small mention.” I am grateful for his concern. Yet understand that what I say does not replace the things he must say to us with the authority of the Pastor.

Yes, I am concerned about what could happen if I am pulled over for a traffic violation, if I mistakenly am confronted by a local officer, or if Pam or my children somehow cross the path of local law enforcement suspiciously for any reason. We each had incidents this week where race played a factor in how people responded to us as strangers. Pam and I are cautioning everyone with extra cautions as they go out the door each day. It is unfortunate, but that is a reality for us, and many African Americans share our concerns and cautions.

It is true that all lives matter because we each bear the image of God. Black lives matter, blue lives matter, LGBT lives matter, Middle Eastern, Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist lives matter, and unborn lives matter. We should not minimize the significance of the events in Dallas, Orlando, Baton Rouge, and St. Paul by generalizing issues when specific groups are the objects of hate. That is not piety; it is avoidance, and it is insensitive to the injustice, hatred, and lack of support felt by the groups experiencing very real threats, fears, and deaths. Loving our neighbors with the love of Christ allows us to give strong support to each cause for justice with patience and kindness, without envy, rudeness, or arrogance, without rejoicing in others’ wrongdoings, and while rejoicing in truth.

Finally, the Gospel, with all of its ramifications and demands for God’s people, is the solution. It is the death and resurrection of Christ that moves us to love; it is his humiliation and exaltation that makes us take inventory of our own racism, bigotry, and anarchy. His suffering in our place provides God with empathy in all of our pains; and his defeat of death shows he has the power to change hearts—power to overcome the sin of hatred in every person. The Gospel does not deny the need for protest and calls for justice, but should fuel them with holiness through the presence of the people of God. Each one of us must be bold in proclaiming the Gospel.

If the Gospel did not make all of the difference, quite possibly I would be making these statements at Calvary Baptist Church or Kendrick Memorial Baptist Church this morning rather than among you, my brothers and my sisters, at Calvary Memorial Church; and many of you would not be thinking of how we can work harder to make Calvary Memorial Church a place where our worship and ministries show that all lives matter.

July 11, 2016 at Calvary Memorial Church, Oak Park, IL


NYT: Surprising New Evidence Shows Bias in Police Use of Force but Not in Shootings

Version 2In this morning’s NYT:

new study confirms that black men and women are treated differently in the hands of law enforcement. They are more likely to be touched, handcuffed, pushed to the ground or pepper-sprayed by a police officer, even after accounting for how, where and when they encounter the police.

But when it comes to the most lethal form of force — police shootings — the study finds no racial bias.

Read the whole article here.


Resurrection Power or Race War? Thru Eph in a Little More than 150 Words


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Resurrection or Race War PicturesEphesians might help us work through some tensions we experience when looking at the brutal police shootings of African Americans nationwide, and of the snipers’ shootings of the Dallas and DART police officers. The church has the power of Christ – which is Christ himself, who is seated at God’s right hand “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named” (Eph. 1:20-21). Christ has authority over all civilians, offices, forces, and governments on the earth.

Christ calls believers to “take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them” (5:11). Surely racism, hatred, abusive use of force, and vigilante justice are among such works. So it is not time to be passive or silent, but to act in the authority Christ gives the church as her Head.

Yet the real war behind violence and injustice is invisible, requiring believers to be the people in society who live lives of truth and righteousness, preach the Gospel that brings peace between ethnicities who despise one another, and pray with all of our might (2:11-18; 3:10; 6:10-20). So it is not time to rely on protest and removal of leaders from office only, but also to implore God to conquer the schemes of the Enemy.

The recent race-related shootings, coupled with the race-baiting statements of Donald Trump and the eight-year long racial backlash against Obama’s presidency, have primed this country for a very violent race war. Believers need to be wise, both vocally and prayerfully redeeming the time without shame (5:17), so that we might be a force of good as salt and light amid darkness, for the glory of Christ (1:6, 12, 14; 3:21).

My condolences to the families of the victims in the Dallas shootings. May the Lord Jesus provide you comfort and justice from on high. May we think soberly as we look at the grieving faces of those harmed by gun violence and the wrongful use of police authority.

See also, “I’m Not Safe; No Black Male is Safe.”

#enoughisenough #AlstonSterling #PhilandoCastile #BlackLivesMatter #justiceforSandraBland #TrayvonMartin #ktbeph