Can critical race theory (CRT) co-exist with Christianity? Listen to this lesson to learn the four cornerstones and the current vocabulary needed to understand the evil worldview of CRT. Contrast it with the foundation for the biblical worldview which includes truth and absolutes. Continue a review of the second and third chapters of Ephesians that explains how the “walking dead” can be made alive. Follow Paul’s discussion of how events that discourage us are used by God to further His plan for mankind.
Here is a link to the article Dr. Dean mentioned during this lesson Why Christianity and Critical Race Theory Cannot Coexist.
The Church: The New Man, New Body, New Building, New Temple
Ephesians Lesson #106
May 23, 2021
Dr. Robert L. Dean, Jr.
“Father, we’re thankful that we have Your Word to refresh us, to encourage us, to teach us about reality, and to help us to understand why things are the way they are. The basic problem for the human race is not economic, it’s not some issue related to government or administration or education, or any of the other numerous things that people choose to be the source of the problem. The problem is within each of us because we are born spiritually dead, and we are without hope.
“But You have given to us Your Son to die on the Cross for us, that we might be transformed, made alive together in Him, raised together, seated together with Christ in the heavenlies and that You have given to us blessings beyond anything that we can ask or think.
“Father, we thank You for what we have learned in these first three chapters of Ephesians, and as we review today, we pray that You will help us to just submit these things into our thinking, realizing that in light of all that You have given us that You have saved us for a purpose. We have been bought with a price; therefore, we are not our own, and challenge us with that great desire to grow to spiritual maturity and serve You.
“We pray this in Christ’s name, amen.”
In Ephesians 2–3 we will focus on what is termed by Paul in this section, mystery: previously unrevealed reality that God kept in His secret counsel through all of eternity. That after the Cross, the burial, the resurrection, and ascension of Christ, 10 days later something new would be born. It was on the feast day that the Jews called Shavuot.
It’s today. Today is Pentecost, the anniversary of the birth of the Church. There was no Church before this; the Church began on that day in AD 33, something that caught Satan and the demons by complete surprise!
Because God did something for us in making us members of that body, that all who would believe in Christ as Savior would be in that body, and all who are in that body of Christ would be given untold blessings that we would be enriched. The text says that we have the wealth of Christ at our disposal, that this is now ours.
So often we live as if we are in the gutter in the worst part of town, yet the inheritance, the possession that God has given to us is beyond anything that we can ask or think. That basically sums up these two chapters, which we will look at in more detail.
Ephesians 4 begins, “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called.”
He is addressing this to the Ephesian church as Gentiles. One of the important things that I pointed out throughout these chapters, is that when Paul uses the word “you,” he’s not just addressing “you Ephesians,” but “you Gentiles,” because the church at Ephesus was primarily a Gentile church.
When he uses “us” or “we,” he uses it in two senses. The first way in which he uses it is in Ephesians 1:12, “that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.” Who were those who first trusted in Christ? The Jews who were there on the Day of Pentecost in AD 33.
Up until Acts 10, it was all Jews that were being saved. Then God sent Peter to the household of Cornelius, a Roman Centurion, who opened the door. Peter had the keys at Pentecost, he had the keys for the Samaritans, he’s there to open the door of the church to Gentiles who we learned in this section become joint heirs with the Jews in Christ.
We are God’s possession as we saw in Ephesians 1. “Therefore” is to say, “In light of all that we have in Christ.”
I’m not going to go through it this morning, but I did a little exercise yesterday, and I need to review it two or three more times and see if I can get the list right, and then maybe I’ll type it up. Years before I was born, in the 1940s, Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer, who was the founder of Dallas Theological Seminary, and for whom Chafer Seminary is named, completed his eight volumes of Systematic Theology.
In there he listed—I think originally it was 32 things that Christ did for us at the instant of salvation. There have been those who have written tracks on that and taught on that, and it’s been expanded to 33 things and 34 things and 40 things and 42 things and 105 things and 115 things.
I think pastors have gotten into an ego contest to see how many things they can come up with, which is why I don’t ever talk about it, because you can’t reduce it to a finite number. God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies, and it’s not just 32 things.
Just in going through Ephesians 1–3, I listed 32 things, and half the things that Dr. Chafer listed aren’t on the list. So there’s just a tremendous number more that is ours in Christ. Because we have that, Paul is challenging them to walk worthy, to live in a worthy manner. Not to get the blessings, but because it is an act of gratitude to God.
We live in one of the most ungrateful ages with some of the most ungracious people on the planet now, but we are to respond in gratitude and serve the Lord. That’s what he means “worthy of the calling with which you are called.” The first three chapters are talking about what that calling is.
As Paul finished that, he was so overwhelmed by everything that he had written and in his contemplation of what God has done for us, that in his benediction he said, “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we can ask or think …”
That’s his reflection going back to Ephesians 1:3, that He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing. Those two doxologies anchored the first three chapters—above anything that we can ask or think, according to the power that works in us …” Ephesians 3:20
In Ephesians 1 we saw that the power that works in us is the power that raised Christ from the dead. We have access to that same power in our spiritual life.
Ephesians 3:21, “… to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations.” Again, that corporate idea of the church which runs throughout the first three chapters.
Salutation Ephesians 1:1–2
I. Paul’s first doxology, Ephesians 1:3–14, with difficult concepts that are often mistranslated, related to “God chose us.” But we stopped there. It’s “us in Him.” It’s a corporate concept, that we were foreordained, PROORIZO, a word only used five times and rarely in secular Greek.
A lot of people pontificate that they know what it means, and if you go back to secular Greek, it has the idea of appointing or setting off a boundary, appointing something to a purpose, and that’s exactly what it says.
It doesn’t say that we were appointed to salvation, but that we were appointed, Ephesians 1:5, “to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.” The appointment is to adoption as sons. That never happened in the Old Testament.
Israel as a nation was adopted, but the focus is that all of those who are in Christ are adopted as sons. That’s our appointment; it’s distinctive to the Church and those who are in Christ. Contrary to how this is normally handled by many, this is talking about this corporate entity that is in Christ.
II. Paul’s first prayer, Ephesians 1:15–23, where we ended last time.
In Ephesians 2–3 there are basically four main sections before the doxology:
III. Ephesians 2:1–10, God’s inclusion of the Gentiles in a “by grace through faith” salvation. The key is understanding that it functions as a phrase, and the gift of God is not the faith. It is the whole thing, this “by grace through faith” salvation, the whole package
IV. Ephesians 2:11–22, having explained how we enter into the body of Christ, he now talks about what God has done in bringing the Gentiles as equal heirs into the body of Christ to create one new man, one new body, one new household, one new temple, so that there’s no longer a division as there was under the Law between Jew and Gentile.
The enmity between Jew and Gentile has been removed by the cross, and then both Jew and Gentile are reconciled to God. So, Christ is our peace. That is a fundamental issue in today’s world that we have to grapple with.
V. Parenthetical aside in Ephesians 3:1–13, where Paul talks about this mission that God has given to him.
What had been given to him was the stewardship, the responsibility, the administration of this mystery—that is, previously unrevealed information that wasn’t even hinted at in Old Testament revelation. And we now have new revelation about what God is doing with those who are believers relating to this new entity, the body of Christ.
Then he comes back to a prayer, picking up his thought at the end of Ephesians 2.
VI. Paul’s second prayer, Ephesians 3:14–19, concluding in that great doxology of the last two verses.
We looked at Ephesians 1, and now we’re down to III, God’s inclusion of the Gentiles in a “by grace through faith” salvation.
Look at Ephesians 2:1–7, a long sentence; another sentence in Ephesians 2:8–9, then the summary statement in Ephesians 2:10.
I highlighted a couple, “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins.” “He made alive” isn’t in the original here, but is in Ephesians 2:5, in purple. It is put here in many English translations because of this convoluted sentence at the beginning, and you don’t know what it’s talking about until you get down to Ephesians 2:5.
In order to make it read better and be more easily understood, they put it up in the front. “You” is how it actually reads in the original, “And you who were dead in trespasses and sins …”
We will see this problem in the first three verses. Then we have the first of two, “But God” phrases: Ephesians 2:4, then another one when we get into Ephesians 2.
Ephesians 2:4–6, “But God … made us alive together with Christ … and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”
Everything else in those first seven verses is just telling us additional information about his main point, which is that these three things happen to us the instant we believe in Christ. You didn’t feel anything. You didn’t know anything about it. You didn’t have a rosy glow. You didn’t feel warm all over. You didn’t feel any liver quiver or anything like that.
But you only learn about this when you study the Bible. That’s why we’re supposed to study the Bible, because we don’t know what we have since it’s not experiential.
We can’t see it, taste it, touch it, feel it, or measure it. We have to go to the Scriptures to learn that we were made alive together because we were spiritually dead,
The problem that he mentions in Ephesians 2:1–2 is the Gentile problem, “You Gentiles,” using the plural “you” throughout, which I’ve highlighted.
“And y’all … who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which—that is, in those trespasses and sins you walked. You lived there. You didn’t have any other option. You were born spiritually dead with a sin nature that was your command and control center, and you didn’t have any alternative.
Neither did I; neither does anybody else until we’re saved—in which y’all walked according to the course of this world—we’ve studied this a lot.
“The course of this world” is following some form of satanic thought. The world system is a manifestation of the creature trying to make sense of life, trying to find meaning and hope and purpose and joy in this life apart from God.
There are untold numbers of religions, and philosophies, and opinions where tell people how you can have a purposeful life, a meaningful life, and how you will somehow live forever.
All on the basis of human viewpoint, which is really Satan’s viewpoint. That’s what the Bible means by the world system: all of the ideas and opinions that man has about how to make everything work.
The Gentiles “walked according to the course of this world—which is—according to—see he just adds to it—the prince of the power of air—that’s Satan. The course of this world is according to the prince of the power the air. It is Satan’s world system, and that is—the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience.”
Paul isn’t just pointing his finger at the Gentiles. In Ephesians 2:3 he says, “among whom also we…” Who’s “we?” “Y’all” are the Gentiles. “We” are the Jews who first came to trust Christ as Messiah. “… among whom also we all—‘among whom’ is what? The sons of disobedience.”
Paul says there’s no difference. We’re doing the same thing—“among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh—our sin nature, fulfilling the desires of the sin nature and of the mind—and we were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.” Who are the others? The Gentiles.
Ephesians 1–3 condemns everybody: we are all born spiritually dead. Which is defined later in Ephesians 4:18, “having their understanding darkened—talking about the unsaved—being alienated from the life of God.”
That’s what spiritual death is. We are alive physically, but we are separated from the life source which is God. We are alienated from the life of God, so we are the walking dead. Every human being since Adam sinned is the walking dead. The only thing that brings them to life is faith in Christ.
The solution is described in Ephesians 2:4–6, “But God—and then he stops. We have to understand why God did what He did—who is rich in mercy—it’s God’s grace. It has nothing to do with us. It is all on the basis of God’s character.
John 3:16 and Romans 5:8 are among Christians favorite verses because they talk about the fact that it is from God’s love that He sent His Son. “God loved us in such a way—John is saying this is the example of the extent of God’s love for us—He sent His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrated His love for us—it echoes the same thought—God demonstrated His love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Not because He saw anything good in us, because there was nothing good in us—we are spiritually dead, corrupted by sin.
Ephesians 2:4, “But God who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which he loved us.” I want you to put a mental place marker right there, and I’m going to take you quickly to the section in Ephesians 3:17–20, where Paul is praying for the first result.
Ephesians 3:17, “that Christ may dwell in your hearts—that is, that Christ will not just indwell you, but that He will fill you with His character. This is a spiritual life issue, related to abiding in Christ—that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, having already been rooted and grounded in—what?—love …” taking us back to John 3:16 and Romans 5:8.”
Ephesians 3:18–19a, “that you—may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and breadth and height and to know the love of Christ—to understand that which was foundational to our salvation: God’s mercy, God’s love.”
Ephesians 2:4, “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we—now he’s talking about we, Jew and Gentile—even when we were dead in trespasses, made us—Jew and Gentile—alive together.”
These words are so important. When you go back to the Old Testament, God makes one racial division. It started in Genesis 12, and God says there’s going to be a racial distinction between Jew and Gentile.
All other racial distinctions that have operated through history are man-made. Which is the most significant, the racial division God made or the racial division that man makes? The racial division that God makes.
This is being obliterated because of what Christ did on the cross, with the consequence that if God obliterated the only legitimate racial division, which was the one He established, then all other racial divisions are no longer existing anymore either. He eradicated all of them because He eradicated the only legitimate one. By virtue of what He did, He eradicated all of them.
Therefore, this passage is so important for being the starting point for any kind of discussion about race or ethnicity in this country. But this is being horribly challenged today in some extremely sophisticated ways, and we will get to that when we get into the second part of the chapter.
Ephesians 2:5, “made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved through faith.”)
It is so important that he put that there, because when he says, “by grace you have been saved,” what is that explaining? Salvation. “By grace you have been saved” explains being made alive together.
When we see the word later on in Ephesians 2:8, “by grace you have been saved,” what does that mean contextually? By grace you have been made alive; it’s regeneration. Here Paul clearly is using the word “saved” to refer to regeneration that happens the instant we trust in Christ as Savior.
Ephesians 2:5–6a, “even when we were dead in trespasses, He made us alive together with Christ and raised us up together—this is our legal position. You didn’t feel this, but at the instant you trusted Christ, legally you were elevated to the right hand of God the Father in Christ.
You’re raised together—and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus—that’s our position. That’s who we are. That’s our identity: those who are seated at the right hand of the Father in Christ.”
Why did He do all of this? He didn’t do this for anyone who’s saved before the Day of Pentecost. He did this because He wants this to be an exhibition of His grace that will go into the trophy case in heaven for all to see for all of eternity. We are an example, we are a testimony, and we are a witness to the magnificent, multifaceted grace of God.
Ephesians 2:7, “that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding wealth of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”
In these passages, you have “mercy” once, “love” once, “grace” twice, and “kindness” once. All emphasize that this is undeserved, unmerited. It’s only because of God’s great goodness and His love for us.
He has made us alive together; He has regenerated us…
… which means being saved.
That salvation, Ephesians 2:8 is through faith.
One of the things you often hear, especially from those who are identified as Calvinists, is that regeneration must be a precedent to faith because a spiritually dead person can’t do anything—can’t believe.
Well, that’s a false understanding of what it means to be spiritually dead. I showed you being spiritually dead is not making you like a corpse. Spiritual death is being alienated from the life of God—you don’t have life; you don’t have righteousness.
We are saying that you don’t have to be regenerated first, but it’s clear that regeneration comes after faith. It comes through faith. Faith is first.
If I ask you directions on how to go to the kitchen, and you point back there to those doors, and you say, “You go through the doors to get to the kitchen,” what comes first, going through the doors or getting to the kitchen?
Going through the doors always precedes what your destiny is. The destiny here is regeneration, and it’s through faith, which means faith must precede regeneration. We are saved, born again, made alive together through faith.
I created this diagram: faith is the channel, it’s the pipe through which life will flow. It has a valve, and that’s our volition, our will. We trust in Christ and something’s going to flow through that pipe.
The spiritually dead sinner has to turn on the valve, and when he does, then he’s going to get the water of life. It comes through faith. Regeneration does not precede faith; faith precedes regeneration.
Being saved means that we are being regenerated, and that means alive together. When the Scripture says, Ephesians 2:8, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God,” you will find people who will say the “that” is faith.
But “that” in the Greek is in the neuter gender. Faith is feminine; grace is feminine, so these can’t be referred to by a neuter pronoun. In the Greek when you are referring to multiple objects or you are quoting from two or three different books, you always refer to a plurality with a neuter pronoun.
This neuter pronoun is not referring to grace, nor salvation, nor faith. It is referring to a by-grace-through-faith salvation—the whole package. It is by grace through faith you have been regenerated.
The purpose, the last sentence in the paragraph, Ephesians 2:10, “For we—that is, we Jew and Gentile—are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works—not because of good works, but for good works.
We are not there because we’ve done anything to merit it. Christ did all of the merit. But we are placed in Christ for a purpose, good works—which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
That should be what characterizes our life. The word “walking” is a metaphor for living one’s life, how they conduct their life.
The second part, God’s creation of the new Church, which is one new man, one new body, one new building, and one new temple by the work of Christ on the Cross, which removed the barriers between Jew and Gentile, and between all humanity and God; that summarizes it.
First he reminds them of what they once were, and this is the only command that I can find in the first three chapters. I’ve heard people say there are no commands—they just missed this one: there’s one command, “Remember.”
All the commands in Ephesians are related to the Christian life which are in the second part of the epistle. Ephesians 2:11, “Therefore, remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh …”
Then he reminds them, “Remember, according to the law, you’re the un-circumcision, the Jews are the circumcision,” but this is just the physical ritual of circumcision.
What really matters, he’ll go on to say elsewhere, is spiritual circumcision which is taught in Deuteronomy 30. It is very clear in Deuteronomy that there’s both. The physical represents the spiritual, which is being separated to God for service.
Then he lists five things in Ephesians 2:12:
1. Without Christ: you had no Messiah. You catch it better if you translate it “without Messiah.” They had no Messianic hope.
2. Aliens from the commonwealth of Israel. The Law separates them. They are “other.” They can only go so far in the temple and no further, unless they become full converts to Judaism.
3. Strangers from the covenants of promise. There are no real promises there, other than they will be blessed by the Jews, that through the descendants of Abraham, all nations will be blessed.
4. Have no hope, no confident expectation of eternal life or anything.
5. Without God in the world. They have their multiplicity of gods and goddesses, but they are without Jehovah, Yahweh, Elohim.
Ephesians 2:13, “But now in Christ Jesus, you who were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” “Blood of Christ” is echoed in Ephesians 2:16 with the phrase “putting to death.” “Blood of Christ” is really just a metaphor for Christ’s death on the Cross.
Ephesians 2:18, “For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.” Through His death we have access—Jew and Gentile together—to the Father.
Ephesians 2:14, “For He is in Himself—that is, Jesus Christ—our peace—He makes the peace—who has made both one” Both who? Jew and Gentile are now one: the barrier is removed.
He broke down the middle wall of separation, which is described in the next verse as the Law. The Law put a wall between Jew and Gentile, physically represented by a low wall in the courtyard around the temple called the Soreg, where they had a sign that Gentiles could go no further.
He Himself is our peace because He, Ephesians 2:15, “abolished in His flesh the enmity—His death on the cross removes the barrier between Jew and Gentile. To make sure we get it, he calls it—the law of commandments contained in ordinances—for what purpose?—to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace.”
There’s no basis for any distinction between Jew and Gentile anymore or any other racial distinction. Anybody who does is a racist by definition. Because the other side now is redefining everything, that’s where the battle is.
Ephesians 2:16, “and that He might reconcile them both to God—this is the second barrier that’s taken out of the out of the way—in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.”
Slide 26 Skipped
- \What did He do?
Ephesians 2:14, “For He Himself is our peace … and He broke down the wall of separation.”
- How did he do it?
Ephesians 2:15, He did it “by abolishing in His flesh the enmity—at the Cross.”
- Why did he do it?
Ephesians 2:16, In order to create in Himself one new man and to make peace between Jew and Gentile “that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross.”
Ephesians 2:17–18, “And He came and preached—the First Advent—peace to you who were far off and to those who are near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.”
Jews and Gentile are separated by the Law.
The Cross wipes out that barrier.
There is also a sin barrier between Jew and Gentile and God.
There are two areas of enmity:
- Between God and all mankind
- Between Jew and Gentile.
The Cross makes peace and reconciles us to God.
Today we are faced with a new danger. It’s been out there; we didn’t know what to call it. We keep hearing things, and we just think they’re nuts. But we have to understand this.
If you as a missionary are going to someplace where there is a primitive tribe, and you want to take them the gospel, one of the first things that you have to do is learn their language, so you have to go live with them. When you learn their language, you’re going to learn about their culture.
There is an internal, intricate connection between language and a culture’s worldview, because the language is going to have a lot of words that describe the things that are important to that group, wherever they are.
If they’re in the desert, they may have different words for water and life. If they are up in an area where there’s snow, they will have different words for snow. Any culture is going to have a certain bank of words, and those words are all loaded with theological baggage, because the root issue in life is our view of God.
When a missionary is going to a culture that’s never heard the gospel, they have to learn all kinds of things about that culture and their language. Otherwise, they will say things that make perfect sense to them, thinking within a biblical framework, but they may be taken in a completely wrong way.
Don Richardson moved his family in with a group of primitive Stone Age tribes of the Sawi people in Irian Jaya back in the 1960s. He discovered that, when he finally learned enough of the language and told the gospel story, when they heard about Judas’ betrayal of Jesus, they cheered for Judas.
He had not yet learned that in their worldview, being able to deceive somebody was of great value; it was high on their standards of ethics. The greatest thing that you could do is to deceive somebody, to con them so much that it cost them their life. That was the ethical prize.
He had to go back to the drawing board and rethink how he communicated to a people whose language completely reversed right and wrong. That’s where we are.
This is a very quick, we will hit this more and more, it’s too much for any of us to take in right now, but I want to show you that this whole thing. You’ve heard the term many times now: Critical Social Justice or Critical Race theory—this is another religion.
According to Voddie Baucham—I have his book here—has spent a lot of time in Houston in the past. He is a black pastor and theologian, and author. He has a lot of videos out there on social justice. I recommend Fault Lines: The Social Justice Movement and Evangelicalism's Looming Catastrophe. Because he just released this book, there are a lot of interviews on YouTube. It is outstanding.
I’ve tried to condense some of what he has said in this book into this diagram, which is a starting point for helping us understand. There’s a Townhall book review, “Why Christianity and Critical Race Theory Cannot Coexist,” which will be noted in the blurb on the website for this topic.
Here is the foundation of what they’re building; there are four cornerstones in their view.
1. Karl Marx’s Conflict Theory. Marx contributes the fact that there are different groups in society at war with one another, and those who are in power are oppressing the other.
Basically, two groups, the oppressors and the oppressed. Critical Social Justice divides the world into those who are the oppressors and those are the oppressed, right out of Marxism.
2. An Italian Marxist, Antonio Gramsci, changed things a bit. He introduced the concept of cultural hegemony. Hegemony means a consolidation of power. He takes that and applies it to the dominant social class that sets the agenda and imposes all the rules upon society in order to perpetuate their dominance, which means they’re perpetuating social inequality.
The other thing he contributes—because all this grows out of postmodernism— is that there’s no such thing as an objective knowledge or objective truth. But that completely contradicts the Bible because Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father but by Me.”
He prayed to the Father, “Sanctify them in truth. Thy word is truth.” This completely contradicts the Bible. You cannot be a Christian and buy into anything built on this foundation.
3. The Frankfurt School of Critical Theory modified Marxist strategy based on what they called “Critical Theory,” which in itself is a philosophy. The basic idea in Critical Theory was to explain these rules of inequality in society and the agenda of the oppressed to continue the inequity. All of these are keywords.
4. Derrick Bell formulated Critical Legal Studies, which is really a radical leftist movement that challenges traditional legal scholarship.
That’s the foundation on which they build their whole worldview, and the capstone is “Critical Social Justice.”
Is that what the Bible teaches? Not in Ephesians 2, where we have the new temple of the body of Christ. It’s a biblical worldview, and all racial distinctions have been eradicated. The foundation is the apostles and the prophets, the foundation of the Church.
It’s translated the cornerstone in English, but is actually more the idea of the capstone. The Lord Jesus Christ is the capstone. Within this edifice—this new temple being constructed, this new building—is the body of Christ, a new entity where there are no racial, ethnic, economic, or gender distinctions.
Anybody who makes distinctions in the body of Christ based on those categories is a racist or something else. They are redefining these terms to fit Critical Theory. We have to understand that.
I can’t bury myself in this stuff for long. I just feel like I’m pulling myself out of a garbage dump when I spend a lot of time reading what they’re saying. But we have to understand this; it’s important. Peter spends a lot of time in 2 Peter 2–3 talking about the characteristics of the false teachers.
Now and then I get criticism from people who say, “You spend too much time talking about what’s going on in the world, “Well, if Don Richardson had had somebody teach him what was going on with the Sawi people, he sure would’ve avoided a lot of mistakes.
Peter explains a lot of the characteristics of these false teachers, so that his people can know what they’re looking at when it comes along, they can identify it, so that they can be prepared to give an answer for the hope that is within them, to those who are coming from this really complicated worldview.
It will be difficult for many of us to really get our thinking around this because we are so used to thinking within a modernist, logical, biblical worldview where we believe in truth and knowledge, and we believe in absolutes. They don’t believe any of that. They think by definition, if you believe those things, you’re a racist, you’re a sexist, and all these other bad words that they want to call us.
Whenever anybody resorts to just calling people names, you know they don’t have an argument. But they are very intimidating, and they have captured the seats of power in most of our universities, so this is being taught everywhere.
Thank God we live in a state where, as I understand, the Senate just passed a law making it illegal to teach Critical Theory and Critical Race Theory in the public schools of Texas. I want to read it to see how far it goes.
If they make it illegal to teach it at the state schools, like the University of Texas, Texas A&M, Stephen F Austin where I went, and Texas Tech, there will be an explosion, because all of those schools are deeply immersed in teaching Critical Theory.
Which is why it’s extremely dangerous to send your kids off to these schools without the adequate preparation, so that they can deal with it. It’s hard for many of us as adults to deal with this.
The third chapter is a parenthetical statement by the Apostle Paul where he has ended his explanation of the new man, new body, new building, new temple that is being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit at the end of Ephesians 2.
“For this reason—that is, because of what God is doing in building this new entity—I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles—this long line is an em dash [—], because the rest of it’s a parenthetical statement.
Which will be picked up again in Ephesians 3:14.
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Ephesians 3:2–3:13 is all related to what God is doing through him even though he is a prisoner. They shouldn’t be discouraged because he’s in prison, because God’s using that to advance His plan. So don’t get discouraged.
We talked about this, that it is really a rationale God has given us, that when things don’t go well, we have to remember God’s still in charge and God is going to use His plan for His glory better than our plan for our glory, basically.
He talks about the fact that if you had heard of the dispensing or the administration of the grace of God, which was given to me, and that is really just a tight phrase that refers to his apostolic mission and message.
That’s the grace that God gave to him, calling him as an apostle, Ephesians 3:3, “for the purpose that by revelation He made known to me the mystery …” Not just to him, but all of the apostles.
Now there was this new entity, the Church, made up of Jew and Gentile, and there’s no longer a basis for racial, gender or economic discrimination within the body of Christ.
Ephesians 3:5, “this was not made known in other ages to the sons of men, but it’s now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets.” There is something distinctive about this dispensation.
Ephesians 3:6, what’s distinctive is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs with the Jews. They are fellow members of the same body with the Jews. They are fellow “partakers of the promises in Christ through the gospel.” It’s a new entity.
Paul says in Ephesians 3:7, it’s of this message that “I became a minister—according to his apostolic message and ministry—according to the gift of the grace of God which was given to me by the effective working of his power,”
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Ephesians 3:14–16, he comes back to his main thought, praying for the Ephesian believers in the following verses:
“For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named—here the content of his prayer is—that God would grant them according to the wealth of His glory to be strengthened with might through the Holy Spirit in the inner man.”
Why does he want us to be strengthened with might through the Holy Spirit in the inner man? That will produce the first result: “that Christ may dwell in your hearts.”
This is the idea not of the indwelling of Christ, which every believer has and never loses, but for it to be actuated to where you are enjoying the fellowship as you walk with the Lord in your life. It is the richness of His indwelling presence. That’s the first result.
The second is, “that you have already having been rooted and grounded in love …” a perfect tense. He’s reminding them, “See, when you were saved, you were rooted and grounded in love, and the reason you want to have this experiential walk—because it’s spiritual growth—with Christ in your life is so that you, the next result:
“… may be able to comprehend with all the saints” the extent of God’s love: the dimensions, “the width and length and depth and height.” God’s love is infinite; we will never fully understand it. That’s the second result.
We have to be strengthened with might in the inner man first, which produces the result that we have a rich indwelling of God the Son, and a rich fellowship with Him. That’s towards a further result of being able to comprehend His love. And the ultimate purpose is,
Ephesians 3:19, so that we can “know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Which is just saying that you may be filled with God’s character. We are to be conformed to the character of Christ. God the Holy Spirit is producing that.
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That brings us to his ending doxology that this goes beyond anything you and I can ever ask or think. We can’t imagine how great it is. We can’t imagine how much Christ has given us. It’s beyond our comprehension. We can understand a lot of things about it, but you only get it from studying the Word.
That’s why we need to be immersed in the Word as much as possible, day in day out. Because we have a very short amount of time here on this Earth, and God wants to use that to bring us to as great a maturity as possible, because that is what prepares us for eternity.
Because of all that, Paul says, Ephesians 4:1, “Therefore, I beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you have been called.” In light of this, this is who we are. This is our identity. Walk in conformity to it.
“Father, we thank You that we have learned so much as we look at this passage, about who we are in Christ, what You have provided for us in Christ, and this distinctive new entity, the Church, that You have created. Where in this church there’s no room for racism or sexism, there’s no room for any kind of arrogance or any kind of prejudice, discrimination towards others in the body of Christ, for we are all one in Christ.
“Yet this is being attacked. Satan is so alive and well, and he is attacking this in the most subtle and most sophisticated ways. So many in our culture are buying into this, and they have no idea what they’re doing. They have no idea that what they’re signing onto is what it is. They just know that they don’t want to be called a racist. They don’t want to be called a bad name. They want everybody to get along. They don’t realize the horrible evil that comes with this package.
“Father, we pray that You would open the eyes of those that we know who have gotten sucked into this, for I think everyone of us knows at least one or two people who are buying into this. Give us wisdom to know how to deal with them, how to communicate the gospel to them, how to encourage them.
“And without arguing in showing and demonstrating Your fullness, Your love to them. That means not letting them fall into the trap of this evil religion, for that’s what it is. Father, we pray that You would open our eyes to the truth, enable us to talk clearly and logically and cogently with those who need to hear the truth and are responsive.
“We pray all this in Christ’s name, amen.”