Strong in the Lord

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After setting forth what it looks like to serve Jesus in household relationships, Paul concluded his message to the Ephesians with an important exhortation. There’s a big spiritual struggle going on. We do well to stand firm in the Lord and the strength of His might!

Strong in the Lord

Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honor thy father and mother (which is the first commandment with promise), that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but nurture them in the chastening and admonition of the Lord.

Servants, be obedient unto them that according to the flesh are your masters, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; not in the way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers; but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; with good will doing service, as unto the Lord, and not unto men: knowing that whatsoever good thing each one doeth, the same shall he receive again from the Lord, whether he be bond or free. And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, and forbear threatening: knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no respect of persons with him.

Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Wherefore take up the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and, having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; withal taking up the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: with all prayer and supplication praying at all seasons in the Spirit, and watching thereunto in all perseverance and supplication for all the saints, and on my behalf, that utterance may be given unto me in opening my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

But that ye also may know my affairs, how I do, Tychicus, the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things: whom I have sent unto you for this very purpose, that ye may know our state, and that he may comfort your hearts. Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ with a love incorruptible (Ephesians 6:1-24).

Strong in the Lord
Paul's Letter to the Ephesians

 
 
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Every Spiritual Blessing in Christ

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Paul wrote to Christians to encourage them in their faith. It is hard not to be overwhelmed by how Paul spoke of every spiritual blessing which we have received from God in Christ.

Every Spiritual Blessing in Christ

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God, to the saints that are at Ephesus, and the faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ: even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blemish before him in love: having foreordained us unto adoption as sons through Jesus Christ unto himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved: in whom we have our redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, making known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he purposed in him unto a dispensation of the fulness of the times, to sum up all things in Christ, the things in the heavens, and the things upon the earth; in him, I say, in whom also we were made a heritage, having been foreordained according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his will; to the end that we should be unto the praise of his glory, we who had before hoped in Christ: in whom ye also, having heard the word of the truth, the gospel of your salvation,–in whom, having also believed, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, which is an earnest of our inheritance, unto the redemption of God’s own possession, unto the praise of his glory.

For this cause I also, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which is among you, and the love which ye show toward all the saints, cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him; having the eyes of your heart enlightened, that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to that working of the strength of his might which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and made him to sit at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule, and authority, and power, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and he put all things in subjection under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all (Ephesians 1:1-23).

Every Spiritual Blessing in Christ
Paul's Letter to the Ephesians

 
 
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Soundness

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You have probably heard someone speak of a person or a church as “sound” or “unsound.” What do we mean by those terms? What do the Scriptures mean when they use them? How should we view “soundness” in individuals and churches, and how might we avoid self-deception in these matters?

Soundness

Soundness
The Restoration Plea

 
 
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Tribulation and Victory

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In only a little while, Jesus would go. There would be trial in the world, but Jesus had the victory, and in Him the disciples would too.

Tribulation and Victory

“A little while, and ye behold me no more; and again a little while, and ye shall see me.”
Some of his disciples therefore said one to another, “What is this that he saith unto us, ‘A little while, and ye behold me not; and again a little while, and ye shall see me’: and, ‘Because I go to the Father?'” They said therefore, “What is this that he saith, ‘A little while?’ We know not what he saith.”
Jesus perceived that they were desirous to ask him, and he said unto them, “Do ye inquire among yourselves concerning this, that I said, A little while, and ye behold me not, and again a little while, and ye shall see me? Verily, verily, I say unto you, that ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but when she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for the joy that a man is born into the world. And ye therefore now have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no one taketh away from you. And in that day ye shall ask me no question. Verily, verily, I say unto you, if ye shall ask anything of the Father, he will give it you in my name. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be made full.

These things have I spoken unto you in dark sayings: the hour cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in dark sayings, but shall tell you plainly of the Father. In that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you; for the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came forth from the Father. I came out from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go unto the Father. His disciples say, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no dark saying. Now know we that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God. Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe? Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. These things have I spoken unto you, that in me ye may have peace. In the world ye have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:16-33).

Tribulation and Victory
Jesus' Final Discourse

 
 
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The Day of YHWH in 586

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The prophets warned Judah. Israel served as an example. Yet Judah persisted in idolatry and ruinous foreign policy. The Day of YHWH came for them in 586 BCE. It was a destructive end. But it also proved to be a new beginning.

The Day of YHWH in 586

The Day of YHWH in 586
The Day of YHWH

 
 
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Jacob to Israel: Wrestling With God

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In the middle of many anxieties and trials, Jacob was called upon to wrestle all night. He would be then known as Israel, for he strove with man and God and prevailed. Ever since the people of God have been known as those who wrestle with God.

Jacob to Israel: Wrestling With God

And [Jacob] rose up that night, and took his two wives, and his two handmaids, and his eleven children, and passed over the ford of the Jabbok. And he took them, and sent them over the stream, and sent over that which he had.

And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was strained, as he wrestled with him.
And he said, “Let me go, for the day breaketh.”
And he said, “I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.”
And he said unto him, “What is thy name?”
And he said, “Jacob.”
And he said, “Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for thou hast striven with God and with men, and hast prevailed.”
And Jacob asked him, and said, “Tell me, I pray thee, thy name.”
And he said, “Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name?” And he blessed him there.

And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for, said he, “I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.”

And the sun rose upon him as he passed over Penuel, and he limped upon his thigh. Therefore the children of Israel eat not the sinew of the hip which is upon the hollow of the thigh, unto this day: because he touched the hollow of Jacob’s thigh in the sinew of the hip (Genesis 32:22-32).

Jacob to Israel: Wrestling With God
Experiences of God's People

 
 
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Growing in the Grace and Knowledge of Jesus

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But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and for ever. Amen (2 Peter 3:18).

Peter provided what he expected to be his final exhortation; he left a message ringing in the ears of all Christians: grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus. Growing in grace means dispensing with Neo-Stoic moralism and trusting in God and His strength; growing in knowledge goes well beyond grasping facts intellectually to something far more profound. We can choose grace in faith based in knowledge of Christ’s love or we can choose self-righteousness in moralism obsessed with rules; we cannot choose both!

Growing in the Grace and Knowledge of Jesus

Growing in the Grace and Knowledge of Jesus

 
 
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What Is “Spiritual”?

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It’s a term we hear all over the place anymore. People are trying to be “spiritual” but not “religious.” Even as people seem to question Christianity, “spirituality” remains popular. But what is “spiritual”? To what does it actually refer? Is it always good, healthy, or positive?

What Is Spiritual?

What Is “Spiritual”?
The Heavenly Realm

 
 
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What Is the Resurrection?

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It’s a savage irony: the resurrection is the fundamental of the Christian faith according to the Apostles and early Christians, yet in the 21st century, it has become quite poorly understood and rarely discussed. Everything about Christianity depends on the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, Jesus’ continual Lordship in the resurrection body, and the hope of bodily resurrection for the believer.

What Is the Resurrection?

What Is the Resurrection?
The Fundamentals

 
 
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A Man After God’s Own Heart

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God rejected Saul and sought a man after His own heart (1 Samuel 13:14). That man would be David. How was David a man after God’s own heart? How can we learn to be like him and be men and women after God’s own heart?

A Man After God’s Own Heart

A Man After God’s Own Heart
God's Faithful People

 
 
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