Building a Church

LeRoy Koopman

READ : Ephesians 2:19-22   When a congregation decides to build a new structure, a committee works with the architect to determine the basic design, be it Gothic, early American, contemporary, or 20th-century warehouse. The Bible, of course, dictates no design for the building, but it does lay down some important principles for building the church of God. In this passage, Paul includes three such principles: Architectural principle No. 1: God’s church must have an unshakable foundation. If the foundation …

How Outsiders Come Inside

LeRoy Koopman

READ : Ephesians 2:11-18   I suspect that almost every one of us, at one time or another, has been an outsider; perhaps an outsider to a clique at school, or to the inner circle at work, or to the group of neighborhood women who go bowling on Thursday nights, or to the Pheasant Run Country Club. In this passage Paul is talking about really being on the outside – separated from Christ (v. 12a) and from the people of …

The Place of Works

LeRoy Koopman

READ : Ephesians 2:8-10   Christians have wrestled for a long time over the respective roles of faith and works in the Christian life. It was a dispute over this subject, in fact, which was the spark that ignited the Protestant Reformation in 1517. It’s clear from this passage that we are not saved by our good deeds. “It is not your own doing, it is the gift of God” (v. 8). Nothing could be clearer than that. Over and …

The Gospel in Eight Words

LeRoy Koopman

READ : Ephesians 2:4-8   It took the Swiss theologian Karl Barth (1896 – 1968) thirteen thick volumes of his Church Dogma- tics to explain his theology, but it took Paul just eight words to explain the way of salvation: “By grace you have been saved through faith” (v. 8). Theologians love to use words such as “supralapsarianism” and “eschatalogical suspension of the ethical” to explain what they mean, but Paul’s eight words average four letters in length. “By grace …

The Walking Dead

LeRoy Koopman

READ : Ephesians 2:1-3   Some people are dead and don’t know it. Oh, yes, they get out of bed in the morning, go to work or school, take care of the children, go shopping, read the newspaper, and watch a video before retiring. But they are still dead. How can a person tell if he or she is dead or alive? These verses spell out three symptoms of death: “following the course of this world” (v. 2a), “following the …

Hope Keeps Us Going

LeRoy Koopman

READ : Ephesians 1:17-23   Hope. That’s what keeps us going. In the face of all odds and impossible situations, hope conquers all. Hope is what keeps a marriage alive, no matter how troubled. Hope is what enables us to cope with death, no matter how painful. Hope is what keeps us walking in the wilderness, no matter how lost. It’s no wonder, then, that of all the things that Paul wishes for the Christians at Ephesus, hope is at …