Ephesians 4:7-16

But each one of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it says, “When he ascended on high, he took captives captive; he gave gifts to people.” (Now what does it mean that “he ascended” except that he also descended to the lower regions, that is, the earth? The one who himself descended is also the one who ascended above all the heavens in order that he might fill up all things.)  Namely, he gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints, for the work of service, for the building up of the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature person, to the measure of Christ’s full stature.

So that we might no longer be infants, tossed about by waves and blown around by every wind of teaching by the trickery of people, who craftily carry out their schemes of deceit.

Rather, being truthful with love, we might in all things grow up into Christ, who is the head—from whom the whole body grows, being joined together and held together through every supporting connection according to the measure of work from each individual part, the body builds itself in love.


Ephesians 2:11-22

Therefore remember, those of you who are Gentiles physically, that formerly you were called “uncircumcised” by those who were known for being circumcised by human hands. Remember that at that time you were apart from Christ, alienated from the people of Israel, strangers of the covenant of promise, without hope, and without God in the world.

But now in Christ Jesus all of you who were formerly far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He is our peace, the one who made the two groups into one and broke down the barrier, the separating wall of hostility, and in His flesh invalidated the law of commandments contained in decrees so that He might make in Himself the two into one new person, thus making peace and so that He might reconcile both groups in one body to God through the cross, by which He killed the hostility. And when He came He preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near so that through Him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.

As a result you are no longer strangers and foreigners but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of God’s family, being built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom also all of you are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

“The Most Thrilling Story”

Here’s a great insight from the life of Adoniram Judson:

During Adoniram’s visit to America after over 30 years away, there were many who wanted to hear him speak.  He had become quite famous while he had been gone serving in Burma.  On one particular occasion, after a sermon at a small church (because of his health, his voice was just about worthless for public speaking), he spoke for “some fifteen minutes ‘with singular simplicity, and . . . touching pathos,’ as Emily [his soon to be third wife] thought, of the love of the Saviour, ‘what he has done for us, and what we owe him'”

Emily continued, “As he sat down . . . it was evident, even to the most unobservant eye, that most of the listeners were disappointed. After the exercises were over, several persons inquired of me, frankly, why Dr. Judson had not talked of something else; why he had not told a story . . . On the way home, I mentioned the subject to him.
‘Why, what did they want?’ he inquired; ‘I presented the most interesting subject in the world, to the best of my ability.’
‘But they wanted something different — a story.’
‘Well, I am sure I gave them a story — the most thrilling one that can be conceived of.’
‘But they had heard it before.  They wanted something new of a man who had just come from the antipodes’
‘Then I am glad they have it to say, that a man coming from the antipodes had nothing better to tell than the wondrous story of Jesus’ dying love.’

(taken from “To the Golden Shore” p. 461-62)

Do you have a long or high spirit?

I started doing some study for a teaching time on patience with the youth at my church this coming Saturday and came across this verse in Ecclesiastes: “Patience of spirit is better than haughtiness of spirit.” (Ecclesiastes 7:8b, NAS).  I looked up the verse in the Old Khmer Bible and found it to be pretty similar.  But as I thought more about the verse, it didn’t really make sense to compare patience with pride outright…I mean, wouldn’t a comparison with patience and a quick temper or something be a better match?

So I looked the verse up in Hebrew and found something interesting – if you were to translate it literally it would read: “It is better to be long of spirit than to be high of spirit.”  That kind of makes sense, but then again, it doesn’t really make any sense – only this: we see a play on words.

So part of the reason for the comparison is a play on words in the Hebrew language – and possibly it isn’t a comparison at all, just a bare fact.

Translation is really a hard task (it is part of what I do everyday here in Cambodia, so it is on my mind a lot) – how do you convey Solomon’s play on words in English, or Khmer for that matter?  The NET Bible translation tries to capture it a bit: “patience is better than pride” (matching “p’s” to give some sense of unity).  In Khmer I looked around a little bit to try and match the Hebrew.  It turns out it can be matched pretty well, literally, “A small heart is better than a big heart” – a small heart meaning patience, and a big heart meaning pride («ចិត្តតិច នោះវិសេសជាងចិត្តធំ។» ឬ «ចិត្តធ្ងន់ នោះវិសេសជាងចិត្តធំ។»).

But in the end, the cool thing is that even though the play on words might not be able to be fully conveyed in a translation – the lack thereof doesn’t confuse the meaning, or the message of what God through Solomon was trying to say – for it is true, patience is better than pride!  And that was his point.

So, do you have a long or a high spirit?

Philippians 4:1-9

Philippians 4:1-9
Therefore my dear brothers and sisters, whom I long to see, my joy and my crown; stand firm in the Lord in this way my beloved.

I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to have the same mind in the Lord. Yes, I ask you, my true companion, to help them, because they contended in the Gospel with me and Clement and the rest of my fellow-workers, whose names are in the book of life.

Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say, rejoice!

Let your gentleness be evident to all people—the Lord is near.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard all of your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is anything excellent in character, if there is anything praiseworthy, let your thoughts continually dwell on these things.

That which you learned, received, heard, and saw in me, put into practice.  And as a result the God of peace will be with you all.

Philippians 2:19-30

But I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon so that I might be encouraged by knowing your situation. For I have no one like-minded who will be genuinely concerned about your condition, for all the others strive for themselves and not Jesus Christ. For you know his proven character, that as a child with a father he slaved for the Gospel. I hope to send him immediately after I see how it will go with me. Nevertheless I am convinced in the Lord that I too will come to you soon. But I consider it necessary to send Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow-worker, fellow-soldier, and your messenger and servant of my need, to you. Because he longs for you and he is anxious because you heard that he was sick. For he was sick, almost near death, but God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, so that I would not have sorrow upon sorrow. Therefore I eagerly send him to you so that when you see him again you might rejoice and I might be free from anxiety regarding this matter. Therefore receive him in the Lord with all grace and look upon those like him with honor. Because on account of the work of Christ he came near the point of death, risking his own life to fill up what was lacking in your service towards me.

Our Great Need for the Atonement

“The great central doctrine of the atonement can never be fully appreciated until a man’s heart is rectified. You have probably often heard such remarks as these, ‘I don’t see why there should be any recompense made to God for sin. Why could he not, forgive transgression at once, and have done with it? What need is there of a substitutionary sacrifice?’ Ah, sir! if you had ever felt the weight of sin upon your conscience, if you had ever learnt to loathe the very thought, of evil, if you had been broken-hearted because you have been so terribly defiled by sin, you would feel that the atonement was not only required by God, but that it was also required by your own sense of justice; and instead of rebelling against the doctrine of a vicarious sacrifice, you would open your heart to it, and cry, ‘That is precisely what I need.'” – Spurgeon