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 …

“I’ve heard about you”

LeRoy Koopman

READ : Ephesians 1:15-16   “I’ve heard about you,” said Paul (v. 15a). How had Paul heard? Perhaps from Christian merchants or local Christians who had relatives in Ephesus. And Paul heard positive things! The Christian grapevine was carrying good stories about how the Christians in Ephesus were treating others (v. 15b). Paul apparently had heard no news of power struggles in the women’s group, or criticisms of the leader’s sermons, or disagreements over what is “proper” Christian music, or …

Christocentric

LeRoy Koopman

READ : Ephesians 1:7-14   Today we’re going to concentrate on a really impressive theological word: “Christocentric.” It comes from the Greek words for “Christ” and “center.” It means, of course, that everything about our faith is centered around Jesus Christ. Everything good that happens to us spiritually is because of Him. In Christ we have been blessed (v. 3), chosen (v. 4), destined for adoption (v. 5), redeemed (v. 7a), forgiven (v. 7b), enlightened (v. 9), given an inheritance …

Waves and Particles

LeRoy Koopman

READ : Ephesians 1:3-6   We learned in school that light sometimes acts like particles and sometimes like waves. We know that eventually we will discover how these seemingly contradictory facts fit together, but until then we say that light is both/and instead of either/or. We face the same kind of dilemma when it comes to predestination versus human responsibility. Some passages strongly urge the importance of the human will. John 3:16 promises that those who believe in Jesus will …