JEREMIAH 52:We come to the addendum to Jeremiah— seemingly written by someone else, perhaps Baruch. I commented yesterday how chapter 51 foreshadows Revelation 18. Jeremiah was prophesying the downfall of the real city of Babylon.What he foretold happened around 70 years later. His prophecy includes details about the enemies being from Media, about the drunkenness of the Babylon’s leaders, and God proclaims more than once that Babylon will become a desert for all time to come. The famous hanging gardens of Babylon would never be restored, even though Sadam Hussein wanted to see that happen. Observe how all this fits with a theme that runs all the way through Scripture: We see the City of Man going all through the Bible, represented by Babel, Nineveh, Babylon, Rome (figuratively called Babylon), and finally the Babylon in Revelation. Guess which city we are all living in (figuratively) today?! PROVERBS 11b:I’m going to repeat this today: An important thing about the book of Proverbs is that it contains principles, not promises. This particularly needs to be remembered for verses that talk about prosperity. There will be times, such as what Jeremiah experienced, when no amount of Godly living will bring us wealth. EPHESIANS 1:In verse 1 of the ascription of this letter, the words ‘in Ephesus’ are missing from the best manuscripts. It is believed that this was a circular letter and every church who received it would fill in their location name. H.C. Mears says of Ephesians: In this epistle, we enter the holy of holies in Paul’s writings. Paul speaks in 2Corinthians 12:2 of being “caught up to the third heaven.” Here [in Ephesians], as it were, he gives his report, and he seems to be carried away as he tells about it. It is the greatest revelation of truth that God has given to us, the revelation of a mystery that [was//has been] hidden from before the foundation of the world. An important theme in Ephesians is one I have often highlighted this year. It is the idea of being (in literal translations) ‘in Christ’. This idea is also important in John’s writings, like the chapter we heard yesterday. Remember the vine and branches metaphor in John 15. ‘In Christ’ doesn’t mean inside. It means being joined to Christ or one/in union with Christ, like a branch is with the vine. This is the letter where we hear of the Christian’s armor. I believe that a key part of the belt of truth is to believe what God says about us believers— is true. GNT Translation notes:Pro. 11:16 NLT [A gracious woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth.//GNT A gracious woman is respected, but a woman without virtue is a disgrace.Lazy people will never have money, but aggressive people will get rich.][The reason I like the NLT better is that it follows the Hebrew only, without adding a number of words that come from the ancient Septuagint translation into classical Greek. But no matter which translation you use, Solomon is not promoting the idea that we be ruthless in order to get rich. Look at the parallelism: Women in Jewish culture were very much in an inferior position, but here a woman would gain the lasting blessing of respect, a quality that would last beyond her life in this world. Whereas a ruthless man would only get money, and he will be lucky if that will last to his dying day.]====Eph. 1:1 [To our brothers and sisters in Ephesus— who believe fully in Christ Jesus and are made holy by Him, from Paul— who by God's will is an apostle of Christ Jesus.//From Paul, who by God's will is an apostle of Christ Jesus— To God's people in Ephesus, who are faithful in their life in union with Christ Jesus:]14 [NLT The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him.//GNT The Spirit is the guarantee that we shall receive what God has promised his people, and this assures us that God will give complete freedom to those who are his. Let us praise his glory!]15 For this reason, ever since I heard of your [believing//faith] in the Lord Jesus and your love for all of God's people, NLT Translation notes:Eph. 1:3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are [joined/united] with Christ. 4 Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us [0>>>— joined with/in Christ] to be holy and without fault in his eyes [> through becoming joined to Christ]. 5 God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. 6 So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us [because we have become joined with//who belong to] his dear Son.7 [PET: Through oneness with Christ, we have been redeemed by the sacrifice of His blood as payment for the punishment for sin that we should have suffered. That means we receive forgiveness of sin because of God's amazing kindness to us.//He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.]11 Furthermore, because we are [joined/united] with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan.15 Ever since I first heard of your [fully believing//strong faith] in the Lord Jesus and your love for God’s people everywhere,
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