Posts tagged ‘Ephesians’

March 26, 2014

843 Acres Lent: Supernatural Good and Evil

by Bethany

M’Cheyne: Prov 13 (txt | aud, 3:01 min)
Eph 6 (txt | aud, 2:59 min)
Highlighted: Eph 6:11-12

Choice: In The Fall by Albert Camus, Jean-Baptiste Clamence is a successful, well-respected and charitable lawyer in Paris, who primarily takes “widow and orphan” cases. One day, he’s crossing the Pont Royal and comes across a woman dressed in black leaning over the edge of the bridge. He hesitates for a moment, but continues walking. Suddenly, he hears splashing water and knows that she has jumped in. What does he do?

Realization: He has three choices: (1) he can jump in and save her, but then—he reasons—he himself might drown; (2) he can run and get help, but then—he reasons—someone might suspect him of wrongdoing; or (3) he can walk away, which is what he does. His choice plagues him. He considers himself good and altruistic, but he realizes that he is duplicitous and selfish. He realizes that he isn’t committed to anything other than his own comfort, that he has lived his whole life in search of honor, recognition, and power over others. Ultimately, he responds by withdrawing from the world—closing his law practice, avoiding people, throwing himself into debauchery.

Supernatural: Tim Keller says that Clamence’s crisis is not merely emotional or intellectual; it’s also spiritual. “There is human good and evil and supernatural good and evil. Every inch is claimed by God and counterclaimed by the enemy. Christians see that life is a fight, and that there is a battle for your soul.” [1] How do we engage in this battle? Paul writes, “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” [2] Evil is multi-dimensional; our problems are not merely human or natural.

Prayer: Lord, Evil is complex; it stems from the flesh, the world, and the enemy. We confess that we often do not take it as seriously as we should. We attribute our problems mainly to our intellect, our morality, or other things. Yet the spiritual realm is real. There is a battle for our hearts and souls. Teach us to discern it and fight it in our lives, and may we put on the full armor of God—truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, the word, and prayer. Amen.

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 Lent - logo

We invite you to join us and the Women’s Bible Society to a Lenten Bible Listening Event on Thursday morning, April 10th.
Click 
here for more details.

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Footnotes

[1] Tim Keller. “The Strategies of Darkness.” Sermon. 11/24/91. | [2] Ephesians 6:11-12 ESV

March 25, 2014

843 Acres Lent Tweetables: Our Complicated, Conflicting Inner Lives

by Bethany

M’Cheyne: Prov 12 (txt | aud, 3:02 min)
Eph 5 (txt | aud, 3:42 min)

Discerning Brokenness

We have trouble understanding our dynamic, complicated, sometimes conflicting and warring emotions that we feel inside of us.

And it’s hard for others to understand them, too: “The heart knows its own bitterness, and no stranger shares its joy. Proverbs 14:10

We are complex beings – physical, moral, philosophical, emotional, relational, existential. #solitaryinnerlife

Imagining Redemption

Anxiety in a man’s heart weights him down, but a good word makes him glad. Proverbs 12:25

If a kind word from the outside makes us glad, but if no one else truly understands us, then what hope do we have?

By this we reassure our heart before him: “for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.” 1Jn3

Praying ACTS

Lord, We #adore you for being a wholehearted Savior, knowing us in our many facets and speaking to our hearts with kind words of grace.

For we #confess that anxiety and confusion and the complex realities of life enslave our hearts and that we have no hope apart from Christ.

We give you #thanks for sharing in our joys and struggles in Christ, who became incarnate and took on the weaknesses of humanity.

May we love the things that you have given us, but may we treasure Christ above them all so that our loves may be ordered. #supplication

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 Lent - logo

We invite you to join us and the Women’s Bible Society to a Lenten Bible Listening Event on Thursday morning, April 10th. Click here for more details.
____________________________________ 

FAQs

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What is the reading plan this blog is based on? Click here.

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March 24, 2014

843 Acres Lent: The Good News About Injustice

by Bethany

M’Cheyne: Prov 11 (txt | aud, 3:38 min)
Eph 4 (txt | aud, 3:58 min)
Highlighted: Prov 11:10

Injustice: Even if the exact circumstances considered unjust can vary from culture to culture, the sense of injustice is universal. And it’s universally hated. No one likes to be misused, abused, or neglected. Is there any good news, though, about injustice?

Good News: In The Good News About Injustice, IJM founder Gary Haugen says that the good news about injustice is that God cares. He writes, “Amid a world of injustice, oppression, and abuse, we can know some simple truths about God if we study his Word … In regard to injustice, our heavenly Father bids us to trust in four solid truths about his character: (1) God loves justice and, conversely, hates injustice; (2) God has compassion for those who suffer injustice—everywhere around the world, without distinction or favor; (3) God judges and condemns those who perpetrate injustice; and (4) God seeks active rescue for the victims of injustice.”

Tsaddiqim: Here, in Proverbs 11:10, for example, we read: “When the righteous prosper, the city rejoices; when the wicked perish, there are shouts of joy.” [1] In Kingdom Calling, Amy Sherman argues that “the consummated kingdom” is marked by two features: justice and shalom. Concerning justice, she writes, “In Proverbs 11:10, there is a connection between the ‘righteous prospering’ on the one hand, and the ‘wicked perishing’ on the other. Notice that both events—the righteous prospering and the wicked perishing—produce the same reaction: wild rejoicing. Jubilation arises when the wicked—who are described over and over in the Old Testament as doers of injustice and inequity—are cast down and replaced by the tsaddiqim, the doers of justice. When the righteous prosper, justice prevails. The tsaddiqim seek to bring into reality three dimensions of justice that mark the consummated kingdom.”

Prayer: Lord, We long to live in a rejoiced city and, therefore, we long for your justice to be on earth as it is in heaven. Yet we confess that we have been lovers and doers of injustice. We have been witnesses of injustice and have remained silent. Therefore, we pray first for our own hearts to be reformed by the gospel. Then we pray for our cities to be places for tsaddiqim to flourish, as you raise up lovers and doers of justice. Amen.

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Footnotes

[1] Proverbs 11:10 NIV

March 21, 2014

843 Acres Lent: The Grace Beyond Grace of Election

by Bethany

M’Cheyne: Prov 8 (txt | aud, 3:19 min)
Eph 1 (txt | aud, 2:40 min)
Highlighted: Eph 1:1-14

Order: In Ephesians 2:1-10, we read the order of salvation from our perspective—being dead in sin, becoming alive, developing faith by the Spirit, doing good works. Here, in Ephesians 1:1-14, however, we read the order of salvation from God’s perspective—choosing, redeeming by the blood of Christ, forgiving, adopting, keeping safe forever, being brought into glory. Why does the order matter?

Chosen: Paul writes, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.” [1] Here, Paul makes it clear that God chooses us before the foundation of the world. But what does that mean?

Non-Meaning: First, it does not mean that we don’t have free will. We choose what we want. Yet the Bible teaches us that we are incapable of wanting God; apart from Christ, we are at “enmity” against Him. [2] Second, it also does not mean that we lose any incentive to do good because, in Christ, our incentive to live out the gospel is rooted in love, not fear. What, then, does it mean? 

Implication: Tim Keller says, “As long as you make your choice the ultimate reason for your faith, then the real bottom line is that you’re better—more open, more humble. That goes against everything Scripture teaches. As Paul says, ‘By the grace of God, I am what I am.’ [3] This is the doctrine of election. You cannot make yourself a Christian; you did not make yourself a Christian. You can’t even want to be a Christian unless God has opened your heart. Therefore, pride and superiority are excluded.” He continues, “When you realize that His choice is ultimate and your choice is penultimate, then when someone asks you whether you’re a Christian, you can say, ‘Yes, it’s astonishing. It’s amazing. It’s almost a joke. Why me? But it’s true.’”

Prayer: Lord, The doctrine of the your sovereignty in election, the doctrine of the ultimacy of your choice, the doctrine of the absolute sheer graciousness of your love means that we will always have a sense of humor about ourselves. There’s no reason in us that we would ever want you. But we do. For you have given us grace beyond grace and love beyond love. Amen.

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 Lent - logo

We invite you to join us and the Women’s Bible Society to a Lenten Bible Listening Event on Thursday morning, April 10th. Click here for more details.
____________________________________ 

Footnotes

[1] Ephesians 1:3-4 ESV | [2] Romans 8:7 | [3] 1 Corinthians 15:10

October 4, 2013

843 Acres: Is there any distinctiveness in Christian ethics?

by Bethany

M’Cheyne: 1 Kings 7 (text | audio, 7:28 min)
Eph 4 (text | audio, 3:46 min)
Highlighted: Eph 4:25-32

Lifestyle: In Ephesians 4:25-32, Paul covers a lot of topics:

Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another [honesty]. Be angry and do not sin [righteous anger]; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil [sinful anger]. Let the thief no longer steal [theft], but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands [integrity], so that he may have something to share with anyone in need [work]. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths [communications], but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear [relationships]. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you [bitterness, anger, slander], along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another [kindness, love, forgiveness], as God in Christ forgave you.

Distinction: Most religions—Islam, Confucianism, Judaism, Buddhism—say that it is wrong to steal and lie, that a healthy anger is good, that our work should be honest, that our communications and relationships are important, that we should pursue kindness, love, and forgiveness. Is there any distinctiveness, then, in Christian ethics?

Heart: Paul tells the Ephesians to “put off your old self” and “put on the new self.” Tim Keller comments, “To put off the old self means to live an examined life. You look at every part of your life and ask, ‘Is this what Jesus wants?’” [1] In reply, however, we find an astounding answer—Jesus wants our hearts. Jesus once said that the Pharisees were “whitewashed tombs” because they were clean on the outside and dead on the inside. [2] As Keller says, “[Christian] righteousness is not simply a matter of external behavior, but is essentially a matter of the mind, the imagination, the attitudes, and the motives. Apart from this, morality is repression—cold and artificial.”

Prayer: Lord, When we read your commands that target our sanctification, may we never separate our actions from our hearts. Ultimately, you want our hearts. Awaken an affection for Jesus within us this morning so that we obey out of love. Amen.

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FAQs

How can I make a tax-deductible donation? Click here.
How can I get these devotionals in my inbox? Click here.
What is the reading plan this blog is based on? Click here.

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M’Cheyne Weekend Readings

Saturday, October 5: 1 Kings 8 (text | audio, 11:02 min) & Eph 5 (text | audio, 3:28 min)
Sunday, October 6: 1 Kings 9 (text | audio, 4:14 min) & Eph 6 (text | audio, 2:59 min)

Footnotes

[1] Tim Keller. “The Christian Lifestyle.” Sermon. January 13, 1991. | [2] Matthew 23:27-28 ESV

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