What is All Saints Day?: a brief summary

Today, November 1, we celebrate All Saints Day. All Saints Day is a feast day in the church year that follows All Hallow’s Eve (October 31). All Saints Day offers an opportunity to remember all those saints who have gone before us in the faith and to celebrate the reality that we stand amidst a great cloud of witnesses.

The epistle to the Hebrews offers one of the most comprehensive examples of this in chapter 11, which traces the history of great people of faith who have gone before us. As the writer holds before us example after example of faith, he helps us see how their lives with God are examples to us in our daily living but also encouragement to keep going in the way of faith. Closing that great passage out, the author writes:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. (Hebrews 12:1-2)

Not only does All Saints Day hold before us the people of faith from past times, it also offers an annual reminder of our connectedness as Christians today. In times of fracture or disunity, as well as in times of peace, All Saints Day reminds us that all who call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation are brought together as one new community by faith in Him. It is in light of this that the Apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians:

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (Ephesians 4:3-6)

Not only does All Saints Day lead us to look back to believers who have gone before us and around us to the believers we share communion with in Christ, but it also points us forward to the reality that we will one day gather around the throne of God. While we live here on earth, believers are spread throughout many times and places, but there will come a day when we will all be brought together into the eternal presence of the Lord. All Saints Day reminds us of that reality described in Revelation 7:

After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:

“Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:9-10)

Here is a traditional prayer often used for All Saints Day:

Almighty God, you have knit together your elect in one communion and fellowship in the mystical Body of your Son: Give us grace so to follow your blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those ineffable joys that you have prepared for those who truly love you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

Bibliography for One: The Being of God in the Life of the Church

When I conclude a sermon series, I usually share resources I utilized in my study and preparation for sermons. Here is the bibliography for our recent series, “One: The Being of God in the Life of the Church.”

Bibliography for “One: The Being of God in the Life of the Church”

Gregory K. Beale. The Book of Revelation. NIGTC. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1998.

Raymond E. Brown. The Gospel of John, I-XII. Anchor Bible. Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, 1966.

Tim Chester. Delighting in the Trinity. Oxford: Monarch Books, 2005.

Marva J. Dawn. Truly the Community: Romans 12 and How to Be the Church. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1997.

Michael O. Emerson and George Yancey. Transcending Racial Barriers: Toward a Mutual Obligations Approach. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.

Irwyn L. Ince, Jr. The Beautiful Community: Unity, Diversity, and the Church at Its Best. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2020.

Andrew T. Lincoln. Ephesians. WBC. Dallas, TX: Word Books, 1990.

________. “God’s Name, Jesus’ Name, and Prayer in the Fourth Gospel.” In Into God’s Presence: Prayer in the New Testament, edited by Richard N. Longenecker, 155-180. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2002.

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. The Assurance of Our Salvation (Studies in John 17): Exploring the Depth of Jesus’ Prayer for His Own. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2013.

Scot McKnight. A Fellowship of Differents: Showing the World God’s Design for Life Together. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2015.

Christine D. Pohl. Living Into Community: Cultivating Practices that Sustain Us. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2012.

Ephraim Radner. Hope Among the Fragments: The Broken Church and Its Engagement of Scripture. Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos, 2004.

Michael Reeves. Delighting in the Trinity: An Introduction to the Christian Faith. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2012.

Ken Sande. The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict, 3rd ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2004.

C. Christopher Smith. How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversations in the Church. Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos, 2019.

Gerhard Von Rad. Genesis. Translated by John H. Marks. OTL. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1961.

Bruce K. Waltke with Cathi J. Fredricks. Genesis: A Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2001.

Arriving One: the final destination of the church

This past weekend we concluded our series, “One: The Being of God in the Life of the Church,” at Eastbrook Church. To bring this great exploration of unity to a close, I traced the movement from the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11:1-9 to the heavenly vision in Revelation 7:9-10. In one sense this is a contrast between humanity divided and humanity united.

You can view the message video and outline below. You can follow along with the entire series here and the devotional that accompanies the series here. You could always join us for weekend worship in-person or remotely via Eastbrook at Home.


“After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:9-10)

Humanity Divided (Genesis 11:1-9)

  • Human assertion against God
  • God’s confusion upon humanity

Humanity United (Revelation 7:9-10)

  • The gathering of the saints in the new heaven and the new earth
    • The contrast with Babel’s division centered on humanity
    • Here true unity is centered on God
  • The Great Multitude Before God
    • Unified before God: standing together, adorned similarly, crying out as one
    • Identifiable difference: every nation, tribe, people, and language

Moving Toward a Unified Arrival (Colossians 3:1-17)

  • Our focus on Christ and things above (3:1-4)
  • Take off the old self (3:5-11)
  • Put on the new self (3:12-17)

Dig Deeper

This week dig deeper into Revelation 7:9-10 in one or more of the following ways:

  • Memorize Revelation 7:9-10 or Colossians 3:12-14
  • Read Genesis 11:1-9 – the story of the Tower of Babel – and consider what was going on here. What do you think was at work within the hearts of humanity in this story? How does this story echo the story of Adam and Eve in Genesis 3?
  • If you want to dive deeper into Revelation 7:9-10, consider listening to or watching another preaching series from Eastbrook called “Becoming 7.”
  • Continue with our season of prayer and fasting. Find more info here.

Eastbrook at Home – November 22, 2020

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Join us for worship with Eastbrook Church through Eastbrook at Home at 8, 9:30, and 11 AM as we conclude our series on unity entitled “One: The Being of God in the Life of the Church.” This weekend we will talk about our ultimate arrival in unity in the new heaven and new earth as described in Revelation 7:9-10

Join in with the final portion of our daily devotional for this series here.

We also continue in-person services at 8:00, 9:30, and 11:00 AM this weekend at the Eastbrook Campus, but you do need to RSVP ahead of time. Find out more info here.

Each Sunday at 8, 9:30, and 11 AM, you can participate with our weekly worship service at home with your small group, family, or friends. This service will then be available during the week until the next Sunday’s service starts. You can also access the service directly via Vimeo, the Eastbrook app, or Facebook.

If you are not signed up for our church emailing list, please sign up here. Also, please remember that during this time financial support for the church is critical as we continue minister within our congregation and reach out to our neighborhood, city, and the world at this challenging time. Please give online or send in your tithes and offerings to support the ministry of Eastbrook Church.

We Cannot Be Silent

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Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2)

The church cannot be silent about the current situation. These days have especially brought into focus the reality of racial injustice and taking of African American lives made in the image of God and valuable to him, most recently with Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd.

In our culture an insidious hatred toward others, often in terms of racism and white supremacy, has gripped us.  It has roots that go down deep into the very fabric of our society. We must say aloud that this has no place within the church of Jesus Christ, and that we must stand against it in our society because of God’s Word and our calling as people of the King.

We must repent of these things and not be silent.

We must change, stand together, and work for justice and righteousness, which are the foundations of the rule and reign of God (Psalm 89:14).

We must hold before us the beautiful picture of the church of Jesus Christ we see in Revelation 7:9 is one of “every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb,” equally heirs of God’s kingdom and equally loved by God.

So, church, this is the time to take our stand for the sake of Christ and the glory of the Gospel. Reach out to others you know, learn about the issues, join in with efforts like those of the Milwaukee Declaration.

Church, this is the time, to live out what we learned from the minor prophets, as it says in Amos 5:24, to “Let justice roll on live a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream.”