Ephesians overview – 3:14-19, The wicked are used for God’s purposes. Truth has never changed.
Sunday June 21,2020
Sidney Warren Ratzlaff was born in Highmore, South Dakota, June 5, 1922 to Isaac and Eva (Boese) Ratzlaff. He grew up on a farm, the third youngest of eighteen children.
Sidney honorably served this country during WWII from November 1942 to Jan 1946 as a medical technician in the 80th Armored Medical Battalion, of the 10th Armored Division of Patton’s 3rd Army. His unit served in Europe in WWII; notably he was a medic during the Battle of the Bulge and was awarded a Bronze Star for deeds during that time, for which he never disclosed. Throughout his time overseas he wrote to a Billee Townsend of Ocean City, New Jersey, whom he had never personally met, and when he was honorably discharge from the military, they got married in 1946. To this union six children were born during the family’s residing in New Jersey, South Dakota, and Oregon. He and Billee were married until her passing in 2013.
Sidney got his first teaching position in South Dakota in 1951. He enjoyed telling many stories to his children and grandchildren, one of his favorites being the story of the girl with the glass eye who'd take it out and roll it down the aisle to create a disturbance in one of his South Dakota schools.
The family moved to Klamath Falls Oregon in 1954, where Sidney first started teaching history and then to Elgin Oregon in 1969 where they built a home and Sidney rose to the position of superintendent of schools. They resided in their lovely Elgin home until Billie was called to our real home in 2013.
The most important thing in Sidney’s life was his relationship with Jesus Christ. He was saved on January 4, 1939 through a visiting evangelist. He carried that faith through WWII and throughout his life. His faith was one of the aspects that appealed particularly to Billee when they were just pen pals, and together he and Billee brought their children up in Christ. He was a Sunday School teacher, church deacon, and dedicated follower of Jesus Christ until his Lord called him home on June 16 of this year. He and his beloved Billee were able to celebrate their 75th anniversary in the New Jerusalem.
For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, "Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 "O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?" 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; 57 but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Wall St. Journal:
People have always feared death and dreamed of escaping it. But until now, that hope has been formulated in religious terms. Transhumanism promises that death can be conquered physically, not just spiritually; and the movement has the support of people with the financial resources to make it happen, if anyone can. Jeff Bezos, Peter Thiel and Elon Musk are among the Silicon Valley moguls who have invested in life-extension research. In 2013, Google entered the field by launching the biotech firm Calico, short for California Life Company. Transhumanists envision several possible avenues to immortality. Nanorobots could live inside our cells and constantly repair damage, halting aging in its tracks. Genetic engineering could eliminate the mechanisms that cause us to age in the first place. Such technologies are still out of reach, but transhumanists believe we will be able to master them sooner than most people think, with the help of superpowered artificial intelligence.
Good luck with that. Death is certain for every man no matter what they say or do. No believer should fear it. Our current time is strange and becoming stranger since it continues unchallenged by the leaders we elected to serve and protect our unalienable rights.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, [Declaration of Independence]
Having become used to the protection of these unalienable rights, it is strange when the instituted government seems to ignore them. My point in this opening is not political. It is that the truth applies to all situations and in all times. The progressive mind, if I may return to the political for a minute, which has flexed its intellectual muscle since the European Enlightenment, has concluded that intellect can change and improve in an upward fashion, away from the past, never to return to it, but only going farther upward with knowledge built upon knowledge. Like the people toppling statues in our time, the progressive fails his history exam. The idea of man moving upward by the impetus of his own intellect, even all the way to heaven, has always been around. The idea was made most famous by Plato who envisioned the soul of man scaling up the ladder of knowledge to the divine. The idea was folded in with religion and became Gnosticism. It was folded in with science and became the Enlightenment. It was folded in with social science and became Marxism and a grab for political power, but its foundation has never changed. It hasn’t changed because Satan has witnessed how well it works on the fallen human soul.
God has made everything, even the wicked, for His purpose, but He didn’t make them wicked. There will always be mystery to this.
We wonder how it can be allowed by God, which is the branch of systematic theology called theodicy (literally God’s justice and specifically, the attempt to reconcile the unlimited goodness of an all-powerful God with the reality of evil in the world).
Notice this beautiful passage.
The plans of the heart belong to man,
But the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.
2 All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight,
But the Lord weighs the motives.
3 Commit your works to the Lord,
And your plans will be established.
4 The Lord has made everything for its own purpose,
Even the wicked for the day of evil.
5 Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord;
Assuredly, he will not be unpunished.
I lay down and slept;
I awoke, for the Lord sustains me.
6 I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people
Who have set themselves against me round about.
Don’t fret! If God is using them for His purpose, they are completely under His control. We have nothing to fear from them.
“Fret” – charah = burning anger (Jonah angry at God’s forgiveness) or burning zeal (rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem).
Do not fret because of evildoers,
Be not envious toward wrongdoers.
2 For they will wither quickly like the grass,
And fade like the green herb. [Psa 11: What can the righteous do? Be upright]
3 Trust in the Lord, and do good;
Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.
4 Delight yourself in the Lord;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him, and He will do it.
6 And He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
And your judgment as the noonday.
7 Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.
8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath;
Do not fret, it leads only to evildoing.
9 For evildoers will be cut off,
But those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land.
10 Yet a little while and the wicked man will be no more;
And you will look carefully for his place, and he will not be there.
11 But the humble will inherit the land,
And will delight themselves in abundant prosperity.
12 The wicked plots against the righteous,
And gnashes at him with his teeth.
13 The Lord laughs at him;
For He sees his day is coming.
14 The wicked have drawn the sword and bent their bow,
To cast down the afflicted and the needy,
To slay those who are upright in conduct.
15 Their sword will enter their own heart,
And their bows will be broken.
The progressive idea that man can climb to heaven with newer and newer knowledge is a lie that appeals to the pride of man.
The truth is the oldest thing on earth, even older than the rocks.
"The Lord possessed me at the beginning of His way,
Before His works of old.
23 "From everlasting I was established,
From the beginning, from the earliest times of the earth.
24 "When there were no depths I was brought forth,
When there were no springs abounding with water.
25 "Before the mountains were settled,
Before the hills I was brought forth;
26 While He had not yet made the earth and the fields,
Nor the first dust of the world.
27 "When He established the heavens, I was there,
When He inscribed a circle on the face of the deep,
28 When He made firm the skies above,
When the springs of the deep became fixed,
29 When He set for the sea its boundary,
So that the water should not transgress His command,
When He marked out the foundations of the earth;
30 Then I was beside Him, as a master workman;
And I was daily His delight,
Rejoicing always before Him,
31 Rejoicing in the world, His earth,
And having my delight in the sons of men.
32 "Now therefore, O sons, listen to me,
For blessed are they who keep my ways.
33 "Heed instruction and be wise,
And do not neglect it.
34 "Blessed is the man who listens to me,
Watching daily at my gates,
Waiting at my doorposts.
35 "For he who finds me finds life,
And obtains favor from the Lord.
36 "But he who sins against me injures himself;
All those who hate me love death."
The truth is very old, an understatement, and it never changes. No matter what happens around us, we must not fear even death, for death has lost its sting to us. Jesus walked out of the tomb.
The world died that Sunday morning and a new man and a new world was born.
Why are the nations in an uproar,
And the peoples devising a vain thing?
2 The kings of the earth take their stand,
And the rulers take counsel together
Against the Lord and against His
3 "Let us tear their fetters apart,
And cast away their cords from us!"
4 He who sits in the heavens laughs,
The Lord scoffs at them.
5 Then He will speak to them in His anger
And terrify them in His fury:
6 "But as for Me, I have installed My King
Upon Zion, My holy mountain."
7 "I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord:
He said to Me, 'Thou art My Son,
Today I have begotten Thee.
8 'Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Thine inheritance,
And the very ends of the earth as Thy possession.
9 'Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron,
Thou shalt shatter them like earthenware.'"
Hold here and go to:
Though the wicked is shown favor,
He does not learn righteousness;
He deals unjustly in the land of uprightness,
And does not perceive the majesty of the Lord.
11 O Lord, Thy hand is lifted up yet they do not see it.
They see Thy zeal for the people and are put to shame;
Indeed, fire will devour Thine enemies.
12 Lord, Thou wilt establish peace for us,
Since Thou hast also performed for us all our works.
13 O Lord our God, other masters besides Thee have ruled us;
But through Thee alone we confess Thy name.
14 The dead will not live, the departed spirits will not rise;
Therefore Thou hast punished and destroyed them,
And Thou hast wiped out all remembrance of them.
Death is necessary in order to leave this world and move on to our Lord’s world, the kingdom of God.
O Lord, Thou art my God;
I will exalt Thee, I will give thanks to Thy name;
For Thou hast worked wonders,
Plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness.
And the Lord of hosts will prepare a lavish banquet for all peoples on this mountain;
A banquet of aged wine, choice pieces with marrow,
And refined, aged wine.
7 And on this mountain He will swallow up the covering which is over all peoples,
Even the veil which is stretched over all nations.
8 He will swallow up death for all time,
And the Lord God will wipe tears away from all faces,
And He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth;
For the Lord has spoken.
"Open the gates, that the righteous nation may enter,
The one that remains faithful.
3 "The steadfast of mind Thou wilt keep in perfect peace,
Because he trusts in Thee.
4 "Trust in the Lord forever,
For in God the Lord, we have an everlasting Rock.
Now therefore, O kings, show discernment;
Take warning, O judges of the earth.
11 Worship the Lord with reverence,
And rejoice with trembling.
12 Do homage to the Son, lest He become angry, and you perish in the way,
For His wrath may soon be kindled.
How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!