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Archive for May, 2008

 

 

Shift Students Ministry
Presents
The Unashamed Tour 

Featuring: Lecrae, Trip Lee, Tedashii, Sho Baraka

Location: GP Campus

Date & Time : Tuesday, June 3, 2008 @ 7p

Cost: Tickets are $7/ Person and are sold at both locations and at the door.

Contact: Kandis Davis – kdavis@sjbcfamily.com or 972.264.1483

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Okay lets start with the track listing:

1. 20/20 Intro
2. Superstar (Eyes Off Me)
3. Real Vision
4. Inexhaustible
5. Who Is Like Him?
6. We Told Em
7. Cling To You
8. Relief
9. Behold the Spirit
10. Satisfaction (Hedonist)
11. Come Close
12. Who He Is
13. Intimacy
14. True Security
15. Eyes Open
16. Hip Hop

Overall Review: 5 Stars

Theology: 4.5 Stars

Lyrics: 5.0 Stars

Doctrinally Faithful: 5.0 Stars

Production: 5.0 Stars

Reveiw by Track

Superstar:This is a well produced track. It has the familiarityof the classic 116 sound (the 808 and Southern tune). This song is antithetical to the traditional hip hop we hear today. You know the girls, cars, rims, clubs, and jewelry! Check the hook below. The most encouraging line is “get your eyes off me”. We need more of this. So the beat is hot the lyrics goes with Trip’s trend of pointing you to Christ and not him! Thanks for that Trip.

Hey if you looking for a Superstar/I ain’t the one you searching for, I came to bring some worship, bro/He’s perfect I’m just dirt below/Hey if you looking for a Superstar/Don’t look at me, you got me wrong, I been a sinner all along/Let’s look at Him and not the songs”

 Real Vison: Okay if you have not heard much of Tedashii and you don’t own the album please pick it up at www.reachrecords.com . I actually had to get a massage after listening to this beat (you know the head bobbing syndrome that comes along with Reach). So may disagree but the signature screwed hook is a great compliment to this type of track. I don’t think you can go wrong.  This song exalts the holy scriptures in verse 1, Jesus Christ his person and work and future judgement in verse 2, and Trip finishes it off by refuting false gospels mostly that of prosperity teachers. It truly gives you real vision.

Inexhaustible: The title defines the song. It talks of God’s complexity. That we can study for a million years and still won’t begin to scratch the surface! How true this is. How can we become bored with such a God, but back to the review. The beat is okay, they lyrics are worshipful and God exalting. Not my favorite but will grow on me as I burn out my favorites.

Who is like him: This is a workout song here. It has the type of beat that energizes you. But the lyrics stirs your heart to exalt God. The question is “who is like Him”? Trip answers by saying nobody! I love this song. It isn’t a barbecue song. It takes some time to digest. Check a few of the lyrics here:

Tell me who’s the God who’s marked off the heavens by the span?
Now tell me who calculated all the dust of the Earth?
He is Yahweh, God we make much of His worth
Tell me who you know, that’s more powerful or even beautiful
That’s truth and bro would die to save and raise after His funeral?
We tell men, that this God would let them drive them nails in
But still spreads out the heavens like a tent to dwell in
So the point is, He’s greater than we are and man this joint is
To point kids, in His direction and where this joy is
Come on, no more fronting homie its bout time for fessing up
You want to step your game up but you cant step it up enough

We Told Em: Ah, the privilegeto evangelize by bothlife and mouth! Trip tells us to “lets show em we Christians”. If the church in the west is failing in any area this could be one and Trip does a great job explaining the urgency of showing the world who our Savior is. The track is pleasantsomething I wouldn’t expect. It has an acoustic sound it withthe eerie keyboard. He uses the fast/slow lyrical delivery approach and it flows wonderfully with the beat. I really like this.

Cling to You ft. Shai Linne:Trip changes us his delivery to compliment the Tony Stone track and we know this is right up Shai’salley. I love the hook. The beat is definitely a summer fresh sound that has a jazzy with a subtle piano.  Very enjoyable, refreshing and encouraging. What is amazing is that the song says “maybe things will get better, but it may not; however, I will trust in you”. Wow, how that goes against our flesh centered theology. Here is the hook:

Lord, it may get better but it may not
So when I pray God, I pray I
Would trust You whether or not the pain stops
So when the the pain falls, coming down like rain drops
I just gotta cling to You

Relief: Same as above. This is a unique song for Trip. Bunch of instruments involved in this song. Refreshing sound, clean beat and nice singing compliments. I love the “ooh, ooh, ooh”. This song elevates the doctrine of Justification. He says “when my life ain’t right I got to peak at his”. I love that. You see he says it is a relief to rest in Christ. Has a Philippians 3 implication to it.

Behold the Spirit: Maybe my favorite song (see “We Told Them”). This is the most theologically saturated song. It describes Theology Proper (the person of God) by talking about the Spirit of God the Holy Spirit (pneumatology). The beat is one of my favorites the lyrics refutes false views of Holy Spirit by describing His person (that He is a He not an it and that He is God, the third person). As Holy Hip Hop makes it way to the ears of young church goers this song will definitely spark their interest on who the Spirit is.

Satisfaction: I like the beat but not particularlyfond of the hook. The lyrics are outrageous. I love that Trip has his ear to the street. He speaks the language of the culture and responds to them by presenting Christ and man this is lacking today: Check the last verse:

Now my life is the pursuit, of delighting in His truth
In His person, His works yeah I’m fighting for this fruit
Of His light in my life its me striving to be like Him
Remember Him like the Titans, I’m dying to be renewed
Don’t get it twisted like I am the reason to
Run forward to the throne, no the lion is in my view
He’s shown to be glorious, when shown to be more to us
Than anything in sight pray our idols will be removed
It doesn’t show the Lord’s beauty, when I treat Him as duty
A God who doesn’t truly, inside please or move me
So I reach for the truth He’s my God a precious ruby
More entertaining than movies, greater than chasing hoochies
And when I forget I gotta take in the view we
Dive in His Word just to gaze at His beauty
And I really hope guys get the picture
True satisfactions in the God of the scriptures

Come Close: This is probably my least favorite song, the lyrics are on point the collaborations are really good but for now it will have to grow on me. I don’t particularly care for the hook, nor Flames verse. I do enjoy Sho’s verse though. He brings a very creative verse to the song that helps it a bit, especially the “how you doing” LOL.

Who He Is: I love this song. The track, Cam’s hook, and Lecrae’s verse works this song over. It has the 116 signature sound but for some reason these three together makes this song work really well. Man Trips first verse gave me chill bumps. I actually had to raise my hands in worship as I played the song for the 100th time (not exaggerating here). I can’t say enough about this song. It may be my favorite. Check Trips verse:

Okay, He reigns over all, its plain since the fall, our brains don’t recall who He is His name’s over all, His aim is for all, to remain in awe as they see His
Beauty man it’s truly crazy, dude He’s grand His truth is great we
Dudes should stand and truly praise the beautiful lamb they bruised Him greatly His life was the cost, He died on the cross, He died for the lost, we know that So we ride for the boss, He’s high we exalt, this Christ in our thoughts, can’t hold back Exalt Him in our actions too
, we crack them Johnny Macs and cruiseThefacts, we grab His active truth, we happy when our Dad’s in view

Intimacy ft. Diamone:Clean, safe, and the beautiful voice of Diamone makes this song one you will bob your head to and smile. Nothing exciting but very heart warming. I think this is the most worshipful song.  Check Diamone’s hook below. See some say Hip Hop’s beats are worldly. Many see the lyrics. Actually I am going to include the hook and one of Trip’s verse. Great song to sit on a porch and let the wind blow, or when life has you frustrated. it just brings peaceful spirit over me.

Verse 2:
It’s way too many times, I’m staying off on the grind
In other areas and I bury you in my mind
Then my life starts getting terrible, scarier and I find
Myself trying to get near to you, but you was here all the time
But I was having my share of affairs with things you designed
Kind of like a bad marriage, it’s scary it’s like I’m blind
And I’m praying you’d help me, hold me, and make me focus
I know that when I’m lacking you I’m more than hopeless
Mold this wicked heart to delight in your precious person
Fighting, confessing, searching for Christ and lessons for learning
It ain’t even nothing good in me that I might show you
But I can see that eternal life’s that I might know you
I want to know you be close to the God who saved me
Raised me, so I pray we can be much closer
And I- I can embrace the beautiful life that you gave me
I count it all loss Lord that I might know ya

Lord bring me closely
Intimately
So to show me
Who you are
and the fill my cup
(repeat)

Just a lil bit more
I need a lil bit more
Na-na-na-na
More and more
More and more..

True Security: My third most favorite or tied for second. I love the beat but the lyrics should encourage you to pray for those outside of Christ. He show the brokenness of our young ladies, the hood cat, and the preachers kid. Man, this song actually teared me up. We as Christians sometimes forget that so many people are broken and feel naked. They run to drugs, eating disorders, sex, excessive partying, alcohol, and violence in attempt to silence the demons only to wake up next to them in the bed. But he doesn’t give a superficial Dr. Phil/Oprah answer. No he points them to “True Security” which is only found in Christ. Man I love this song. Check out verse two and the hook that follows.

here’s a young dude, up in his teenage years
Huggin tha block to fit in wit his teenage peers
He still doesn’t it’s one thing to be made clear
Not beindown with tha rest is his teenage fear
See where he come from, sellin work ain’t that crazy
And it’s few cats his age that ain’t had babies
All he wanna do is lay around and hang out crazy
Maybe smoke something, drank got his vision hazy
Plus he just got that new Jeezy cd
Wanna be like them D boys he see on TV
Heard of church but ain’t got a suit that’s three piece
So he think it that just ain’t for him
But some girls down tha block wanna date from him
Bout a decade down tha road his baby will be 10
But he’ll be locked up I’m prayin for my brother
That he would cling to the God that can save when we suffer

Hook:
I’m praying for my brother
That he would cling to the God that can save when we suffer
True security is found in Christ
He’ll never leave you, He’s down and around for life

Eyes Open: Man, okay I don’t know what my favorite song is anymore. This song is saturated with the Doctrines of Grace. Trip points us to our depravity and the Monergistic work of God to remove the blinders through His sovereign election. This is the second most theological/doctrinal song! I love the beat and it compliments the theme of the song. He aks “so who gets the glory”. The beautiful doctrine of election should push us to our knees in thanksgiving and this song will only encourage you to do such a thing. Oh how we need more of this teaching, not for the sake of some vain knowledge but so that we can exalt God as the tite of Packers book “The Sovereignty of God in Evangelism”. This song should motivate us to hit the streets with the Gospel. Why? Because He gives the the increase. Check the lyrics and hook here:

Verse 2:
Yeah I was blinded in the past, like my mind was in the trash
Incapable of doing good or even finding him the task
Was beyond what I could grasp, my righteousness is rags
So He had to do all the work, by His design you do the math
The math, who get’s the glory, hey who get’s the praise?
Predestined, I was elected, resurrected from the grave
Plus His loved was never based on my past or present state
On anything that I obtained I was a mess but blessed with grace
By grace, I’m in love with Him
He gave me something within
He doesn’t love me cause of me nope He loves me because of Him
No He didn’t have to save and raise me when I was dead
But He dragged me out the morgue, now the praise of His name is spread
He died for all He would save, it’s crazy the Savior bled
Erasing taking my dread, and gave me some grace instead
The kind I wouldn’t resist, I came praise be to Him
And I’m confident if I’m in Him Imamake it to the end with eyes open

Hook

Now that my eyes is open, gotta keep that Bible open
Not just so that I can quote Him, I’m hopin that I’ll behold Him
Until I lay in the grave, I’m praying I’ll stay in motion
Gazing with eyes of faith He gave me baby, I’m focused
I’m praying all through my 20’s I’ll see Him in 20/20
Looking at Him till I look like Him almost like His twin He’s
So merciful, His Word is so packed I’m telling many
About the glory of Christ, trynarep Him with all that’s in me

Hip Hop: This songs defends the use of Hip Hop as a venue to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ. Too many times these brothers have to defend that what they are doing is glorifying to God. Most will ignore and run to 1 John and pull the worldliness hocus pocus rabbit out of their hats. But for those of us who understand what Luther (the very peson who brought the Reformation) did with the music of his day to promote the Gospel we have no problem with this venue. Nice beat and straight to the point.

In closing I love this album. Please run out and buy and support these young men. Trip is in Bible College in Philly and belongs to Epiphany Church in the same city. I want you to listen to every word on this album and see if it lines up with scripture. Not only that. If I gave you this on a blank album all you would know is this young man was from the south. No one on the entire album mentions their name, but Christ is mentioned so many times I lost count. This album is saturated with the Gospel of glorious God and Saviour Jesus the Christ! You will leave encouraged and Christ will be exalted. Thanks for a wonderful project and I pray that God will continue to use Trip Lee and Reach Records to make Christ know through the venue of Holy Hip Hop!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Pastor Jim Elliff author and pastor of Christ Fellowship of Kansas City has written an amazing article which is titled above. The artcicle is very challenging and even if you don’t agree with everything at least read it and gleam from it what you can. Here is an excerpt. Thanks Pastor Jim for keeping us focused on Jesus Christ the lover of our souls!

In our own local church we are making some steady progress in demonstrating harmony of divergent cultures, thanks to God’s grace. It is only a start, but it is driven by a real, workable and biblical concept that we believe can be carried out over time. What we have already seen is glorious. Perhaps it is easier for us in our church to mix ethnicity and socio-economic levels since we meet in several homes as our meeting pattern. The flexibility of the house church network model allows us to locate in any part of town, and to avoid that stigma that a single location may bring. A church building often has limitations because it is perceived as identical to its neighborhood. Whether intended or not, it represents to many that a certain class or kind of people are welcome. Therefore, extra efforts for those who use buildings will need to be made to overcome this dilemma. Building or no building, however, we are to pursue this beautiful diversity to the greatest possible extent.
 
So, I will say as strongly as I can, you should not start (or have) “a black church” or “a white church” or a “homeschooling church” or a church for professional people and another church for poor people. Nor should you start a church aimed at younger people or older people. In this the modern church has erred. I do not mean that we should not be evangelistic toward all categories and types of people (actually, that is my point), but in building the local church our aim is too low, and frankly, sometimes selfish. We are forfeiting something of the glory of the church by not seeking to blend all kinds of people together, even if we cannot fully accomplish it. A cowboy church or a country music church may reach cowboys or country music lovers, but is this anything like what God intends to promote as the primary social implication of the cross? Does it depict real earth-side yearning for a future glorious church? We have diminished the meaning of the church by doing this. Paul simply refused to have a Jewish church on this end of town and a Gentile church on the other.

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One thing I realized quite early in my Christian life was that things were supposed to change. I was a rather bad fellow as a nonbeliever and I usually took God hating to the extreme. I was engaged in activity that I knew was wrong (most were illegal) and there was always a sense of guilt attached to those wrongs. When I became a Christian I knew automatically that I could not continue to do the things that I was doing and say that I love Jesus. I remember hearing “If you love me keep my commandments”. I think the first book of the bible I read was the Gospel of John and there were verses that I couldn’t get past. I then started to read the other gospels and phrases like “pickup your cross and follow me”, “no man who touches the plow”, “let the dead bury their dead”, “deny yourself”, “any tree that does not bear fruit”, this distinction between “sheep and goats” and the parable of the seed jumped right off the page.

It was only later that I started to dive into the epistles and again I saw the same theme “no one can practice sin”, “faith without works”, “how can we who died to sin continue to live in it”, the different type of people who Paul says “will not inherit the kingdom of God” and the fact that I was to “put on the new man”. I again realized that the New Testament puts a high emphasis on how I should behave and things I should abstain from. You see it was only later that I was taught Justification, Perseverance and the Doctrines of Grace and I am so glad it happened that way for me. Why? Well….

As I now read a few books and listen to a few sermons I have come to realize that many today teach that Discipleship is something you do versus something you become. What does that mean. Well you see today I can profess to be a Christian while simultaneously holding on to everything that Christ delivered me from. Or as many put it. Discipleship is a separate work solely dependent upon me and really I choice that I can make to gain more rewards in heaven. So you become a Christian one day and, well, later you can become a Disciple when you decide to become serious about Christianity.

So many churches offer what they call a “call to discipleship” as if Christ work on the cross only purchased your salvation but the sanctification/discipleship process well thats on you. I don’t believe anything if further from the truth than this. The bible makes no such distinctions and I think it reduces Christ work on the cross.  I believe that Hebrews 8 paints a totally different picture:

But as it is, Christ [2] has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second.

For he finds fault with them when he says: 

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord,
when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel
and with the house of Judah,
not like the covenant that I made with their fathers
on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt.
For they did not continue in my covenant,
and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord.
10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel
after those days, declares the Lord:
I will put my laws into their minds,
and write them on their hearts,
and I will be their God,
and they shall be my people.
11 And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor
and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’
for they shall all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest.
12 For I will be merciful toward their iniquities,
and I will remember their sins no more.”

13 In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

Above is the New Covenant applied to the Church. Back in Jeremiah 31 we see this prophecy first mentioned. Why must there be a New Covenant? Well lets see what our brother Paul says in 2 Corinthians 3:

Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

The letter killed! Which letter you may ask. The letter written on tablets of stone:

Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory?

These are the commandments the covenant given at Sinai. This covenant was one of “death” as Paul calls it in verse 7. Why? Well we see it in the terms of the New Covenant. It specifically says “I will write my laws on their heart”. Now I don’t want you to get me wrong here. The First Covenant was a “glorious covenant” and Paul also says in Romans 7:12 that it is “holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good”. The problem isn’t the law the problem is our hearts under that Law. Under the First Covenant God issues the commandments and says “obey it”. The problem is we can’t. Our depravity doesn’t allow us and the covenant gives us no power to obey those commands. So it kills us everytime we look at it. Everytime we approach it we die! Why? Paul also says in Romans 7:

15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.

I don’t believe this is the wrestling Christian but the Israelite looking for justification by the law coming to the conclusion that “I CAN’T DO IT”. We see the law and all we see is death. We can’t obey it. This is why I have a huge problem with Christians who expect nonbelievers to behave like believers. Paul says earlier in Romans 6 “when you were slaves to sin” sinners do as sinners are. It is in their nature to rebel and to run to sin and enjoy sin and try to get everyone else to join in their sin bath. I don’t expect better. That is why we have laws. God in His manifold wisdom set up governments to execute some type of moral order in the world if not we would have become extinct about 2 weeks after Adam and Eve were thrown out. But back to the point at hand.

Under the New Covenant we are not only given God’s law we are given a new heart to follow it. These commands don’t become burdensome they become light! Why? Because in the inauguration of the New Covenant Christ sends the Spirit to reside in us and through this we now have the ability to obey. So no longer do we die when we see God’s commands we embrace and love those commands. How does this apply to discipleship? Well immediately upon regeneration we get a New Heart. This New Heart causes us to approach the throne of Grace with “boldness”. No longer do we duck and hide or run from God. No longer is their a “veiled face mediator” but there is Jesus with an unveiled face saying “come, come”! He causes us to obey by writing His law on our hearts! Thus discipleship is simultaneously we run to God not from God through Christ.

A call to discipleship denies the new heart and salvation becomes a mere act of “fire insurance” and not the full purchase of sanctification. 1 John says “if you are growing in these things, then you know”. If someone denies discipleship they deny conversion. If someone says “I like Jesus and my profession proves it” but there lives say “I hate Jesus because I don’t want to obey” then it isn’t a lack of information it is a lack of regeneration. I am not promoting a perfectionist theology here but the simple and straightforward teaching of Scripture. We don’t want to give people false hope. We are too quick in saying “oh yes you made a profession you are sealed”. Well the bible gives litmus test throughout the OT and NT of those who profess to love God but by actions deny Him.

MacArthur wrote a wonderful book called “The Gospel According to Jesus” which gives a systematic and biblical approach to this subject. Also Jim Eliff wrote a book called “Wasted Faith” which is much shorter and gets straight to the point. He doesn’t horseplay. He hits the scripture then charges them to your heart. We must not be so quick to give out get out of hell free cards at profession. We must preach the entire counsel of God and as the writer of Hebrews, Paul and John all sing the same tune of “endurance” not mere “profession”. We must value the New Covenant much more than we do today. It is a gracious covenant that gives us the power to obey our God. I am thankful for it and we must preach it with great confidence

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This article scares me like never before and I can never understand the pressure on pastors to perform. It is a sad case that our competitive capitalistic culture is now the litmus test for successful Christian ministy. So we line up give huge alter calls, count how many people were saved (this was only found a couple of times in all of scripture and it is to see the immediate impact of the Gospel and the Acts of the HOLY SPIRIT through the Apostles) count how many people are on our rolls and count how fast we grew the church.  It sickens me to see bio’s of pastors that say “he took a 150 member church and grew it to 20,000). As if we mere mortals can regenerate the hearts of people. I would believe that Jesus says quite the opposite in John 3 as he tears Nicodemus a new one and John himself says “born not by the will of man” in chaper 1of the same Gospel. Jesus says “I will build my church” We are to be faithful to the proclamation of the glorius and wonderful Good News! Anyway I can go on for a few days about this foolishness but I will stop while I am ahead. Here is the article and below is an excerpt I wanted to highlight

“When Jan started e-mailing and calling, it was a refreshing change. She volunteered to help at church, praised my leadership, and was always available as a sounding board on various church matters. On one level, I knew exactly what was happening. But I forced myself not to think about that. Before long I just closed off my mind to the right thing to do and allowed my passion take over. Soon I was meeting Jan at a motel outside of town. It happened about six times over the course of six months, and every time I left the motel I was racked with guilt. I’d swear on the drive home that I’d never so much as speak to this woman again. I’d be fine for a few weeks but then she’d show up at my office or she’d send me a suggestive e-mail and once again the passion would overwhelm me, and I’d end up doing what I’d vowed never to do again. Finally, my self-loathing over the affair became so great that I told Jan I was ending it. That’s when the crazy behavior and stalking began.

“People have no idea how much pressure there is in this profession. You’re not successful unless you’re working 80-plus hours a week, meeting everyone’s needs. Any pastor who’s honest will tell you that church is full of petty politics. I often had to placate congregants who wanted things done their way. They pushed to be the biggest church in town and vowed to pull their money out if I didn’t support a new building campaign. They insisted on certain music during services and wanted veto power over who could join the congregation.”

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Let me first start off by saying, I don’t believe the Church replaces Israel. I don’t know how anyone comes to that conclusion. The first question that should come to mind is replaces Israel how? Or replaces Israel with whom? So I don’t believe that at all. However I do believe something radically different than my Dispensational brethren and thus the premise of this post. What is that belief? I believe that two people became one people at Pentecost! I will explain why I think that in a brief second. What I mean is that at Pentecost Christ took believing Jews and believing Gentiles (which I believe are the elect of God predestined and foreknew by the Father before the foundation of the world expressed clearly back in Ephesians 1) and them one people and named them the Church. This church is the mystery Paul talks about in Ephesians 2 which was hidden in the past but now revealed. Peter also uses the same language in 1 Peter 2.

What does that say of ethnic Israel today? Well for one, they are in the same category as other nonbelievers. The covenant that they possessed (the one that made them a nation in Exodus 20) has been eradicated and a new and gracious covenant has been put in its place and it is not based on ethnicity but on faith (Hebrews 7-10 clearly states this, not to mention Galatians 3). So what Israel received by ethnicity God now offers by faith. The Sinaic covenant has been replaced and the covenant ratified by Jesus Christ is now the only way to God. Let me explain why I think there are only one people of God.

Ephesians 2:11-22 (emphasis mine)

11 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by  the Spirit.

and……

Ephesians 3:1-6

3:1 For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles— assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

My Thoughts….

So here are my thoughts on this subject. Once again this is not a harmful jab at my brethren but it is a jab none the less. One thing that my Dispensational brethren are very fond of saying is that “we interpret the Bible literally”. So I want to apply that “literal” hermeneutic to this epistle. Once again, the Ephesians upon reading this letter has no clue what dispensationalism is, but neither did anyone else to a about hundred and something years ago. So lets take a time capsule back into the 1st century after attending  seminary and hold a conversation with some of the elders in Ephesus.

Dispensational:Hey I am from the 21st century and have found this time capsule that allows me to go back in time. I can only stay 1 hour due to limitations. How are you?

Ephesian Elder: I am doing great, wow Christianity has made all over the world? That is amazing, we never knew it would get so big! Praise God what Paul said we now know to be true. We are even more encouraged.

Dispensational: Yeah Israel has become a Nation again we can see God ushering in His Kingdom. God promises to His special people are unfolding before our eyes!!!!!

Ephesian Elder: ????? I am puzzled what do you mean special people?

Dispensational: You know, we are just a parenthesis in God’s plan but His promise to bring Israel, back in the land and give them all the past promises and “save them all” is unfolding.

Ephesian Elder: Where did you hear that from? Paul just wrote us a letter and he says we now partake int the commonwealth and the ALLLLL of the promises because of what Christ did on the cross. There is no more dividing wall, no more hostility, and we are no longer two people but one and Christ is the head. We are being built up into one holy temple of God.

Dispensational: No, no, no! God is going to rapture the Church and then do something special with His chosen people. You must be greatly mistaken or you are taking Paul’s letter out of context. Haven’t you read the Old Testament.

Ephesian Elder: Oh yes I have read it and all of the promises are found in Christ. He is the “true Israel” of God, He succeeds where they fail. He is the true seed of Abraham and faith in Him makes us all one people my dear friend.

Dispensational:Well…, I have to go, but I think you are greatly mistaken. My system says that we are in the Dispensation of the Church age and the Kingdom Age is soon to come.

Ephesian Elder: ???? What does that mean?

Above is a short hypothetical conversation that I think would occur if my brethren were to take a time capsule back into the first century. I don’t see how from the plain reading of Ephesians we get two distinct people when Paul constantly uses the word “one”. Let me show you.

v. 14 – For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one

v. 15 – that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two

v. 16 – and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility

v. 18 – For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father

Now unless one means two in this epistle I have a really hard time agreeing that there are still two distinct people in God’s plan. God in Christ has made one people and they are His elect and gave them one name and that is The Church! This organism now is how Christ will make Himself known to the world (John 17). There is no more us vs them and Gentiles are no longer aliens but sons and heirs of God through faith as He promised Abraham back in Genesis. This great mystery has been made evident to all of the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.  Peter puts it this way:

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

You see we are longer dogs as Jesus called the Samaritan woman. No, my friend we are children (John 1:13) of God and heirs to the promises of God. We are now as Peter says “a holy nation” (ethnic Israel was under the Old Covenant), “a royal priesthood” (the Levites were under the Old Covenant) “a chosen race” (ethic Israel was the race through the physical seed of Abraham under the Old Covenant). Why? “That we may proclaim His excellencies” (which if you read the Torah was the very reason God chose Israel). The church isn’t a mishap in God’s plan but as Paul writes in Chapter 1 of Ephesus this was “before the foundation of the world”!

In closing. This is my take as I use the plain literal meaning to interpret the scriptures. God’s plan was to redeem the world through Christ. Israel was given the privilege under the Old Covenant, but we are given the obligation under the New, to proclaim God’s excellencies. No longer are there two people but one people, and Christ is the head. No more hostility, no more gentile vs Jew but one people under one Covenant ratified in Acts 2. I am thankful that I am no longer a “dog” (LOL) but a child and heir to all of the promises of God found in Christ Jesus. Amen that God has allowed us to be witnesses of His long veiled mystery!

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To the left is a picture of Eric Redmond. Teaching Pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church in Maryland. I have added the sermons to the feed on the side for your ease and enjoyment. Here is his blog and here is a book that releases shortly. I pray that you will be edified and get the book “Where Are All of The Brothers“. I ordered one for a family member that I have been trying to minister to over the years and one for myself that I will keep for discipleship or to pass along as God leads. Check out the sermons and once again purchase the book and skip McDonalds for a couple of days.

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