by Ken Cayce

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Ephesians Explained

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Book of Ephesians Explained

Title: The letter is addressed to the church in the city of Ephesus, capital of the Roman province of Asia (Asia Minor, modern Turkey). Because the name Ephesus is not mentioned in every early manuscript, some scholars believe the letter was an encyclical, intended to be circulated and read among all the churches in Asia Minor and was simply sent first to believers in Ephesus.

Background and Setting: Paul, whose original name was Saul, was of the tribe of Benjamin and probably was named after Israel's first king and her most prominent Benjamite. Saul was well educated in what today are called the humanities, but his most extensive training was in rabbinic studies under the famous Gamaliel (Acts 22:3). He became an outstanding rabbi in his own right and was a member of the Sanhedrin, the ruling Jewish council at Jerusalem. He also became probably the most ardent anti-Christian leader in Judaism (Acts 22:4-5).

He passionately hated the followers of Jesus Christ and was on his way to arrest some of them in Damascus when the Lord miraculously and dramatically stopped him in his tracks and drew him to Himself (Acts 9:1-8).

On one of his visits many received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. He fought against great odds here. The silversmith fought him over the false goddess Diana. The Jews fought him, and he even speaks of fighting wild beasts.

On one of Paul's visits to Ephesus, he stayed 2 years and 3 months. Aquila and Priscilla helped Paul here at Ephesus. (In Revelation 1:11), we see that Ephesus was one of the 7 churches mentioned. Ephesus was visited several times by Paul. He was very interested in Ephesus.

It is likely that the gospel was first brought to Ephesus by Priscilla and Aquila, an exceptionally gifted couple (see Acts 18:26), who were left there by Paul on his second missionary journey (Acts 18:18-19). Located at the mouth of the Cayster River, on the east side of the Aegean Sea, the city of Ephesus was perhaps best known for its magnificent temple of Artemis, or Diana, one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world. It was also an important political, educational, and commercial center, ranking with Alexandria in Egypt, and Antioch of Pisidia, in southern Asia Minor.

The fledgling church begun by Priscilla and Aquila was later firmly established by Paul on his third missionary journey (Acts 19), and was pastored by him for some 3 years. After Paul left, Timothy pastored the congregation for perhaps a year and a half, primarily to counter the false teaching of a few influential men (such as Hymenaeus and Alexander), who were probably elders in the congregation there (1 Tim. 1:3, 20). Because of those men, the church at Ephesus was plagued by "myths and endless genealogies" (1 Tim. 1:4), and by such ascetic and unscriptural ideas as the forbidding of marriage and abstaining from certain foods (1 Tim. 4:3). Although those false teachers did not rightly understand Scripture, they propounded their ungodly interpretations with confidence (1 Tim. 1:7), which produced in the church harmful "speculation rather than ... the administration of God which is by faith" (1 Tim. 1:4). Thirty years or so later, Christ gave to the Apostle John a letter for this church indicating its people had left their first love for Him. (Rev. 2:1-7).

After spending three years in the desert of Nabataean Arabia, Paul jointly pastured a church in Antioch of Syria with Barnabas, Simeon, Lucius and Manaen (Acts 13:1). During this earlier ministry, Saul came to be known as Paul (Acts 13:9). The new man took on a new name. From Antioch the Holy Spirit sent him out with Barnabas to begin the greatest missionary enterprise in the history of the church. At that point Paul began his work as God's unique apostle to the Gentiles (Acts 9:15; Romans 11:13).

Author and Date: There is no indication that the authorship of Paul should be in question. He is indicated as author in the opening salutation (1:1; 3:1). The letter was written from prison in Rome (Acts 28:16-31), sometime between A.D. 60-62 and is therefore, often referred to as a prison epistle (along with Philippians, Colossians and Philemon). It may have been composed almost contemporaneously with Colossians and initially sent with the epistle and Philemon by Tychicus (Eph. 6:21-22; Col. 4:7-8).

Historical: The first 3 chapters are theological, emphasizing New Testament doctrine, whereas the last 3 chapters are practical and focus on Christian behavior. Perhaps, above all, this is a letter of encouragement and admonition, written to remind believers of their immeasurable blessings in Jesus Christ; and not only to be thankful for those blessings, but also to live in a manner worthy of them. Despite, and partly even because of, a Christians' great blessings in Jesus Christ, he is sure to be tempted by Satan to self-satisfaction and complacency. It was for that reason that, in the last chapter, Paul reminds believers of the full and sufficient spiritual armor supplied to them through God's Word and by His Spirit (6:10-17), and of their need for vigilant and persistent prayer (6:18).

A key theme of the letter is the mystery (meaning a heretofore unrevealed truth), of the church, which is "that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body. And fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel" (3:6). A truth completely hidden from the Old Testament saints (compare 3:5, 9). All believers in Jesus Christ, the Messiah, are equal before the Lord as His children and as citizens of His eternal kingdom, a marvelous truth that only believers of this present age possess. Paul also speaks of the mystery of the church as the bride of Christ (5:32; compare Rev. 21:9).

A major truth emphasized is that of the church as Christ's present spiritual earthly body. Also a distinct and formerly unrevealed truth about God's people. This metaphor depicts the church, not as an organization, but as a living organism composed of mutually related and interdependent parts. Christ is Head of the body and the Holy Spirit is its lifeblood, as it were. The body functions through the faithful use of its members' various spiritual gifts, sovereignly and uniquely bestowed by the Holy Spirit on each believer.

Other major themes include the riches and fullness of blessing to believers. Paul writes of "the riches of His [God's] grace" (1:7), "the unfathomable riches of Christ" (3:8), and "the riches of His glory" (3:16). Paul admonishes believers to "be filled up to all the fullness of God" (3:19). To "attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ" (4:13). And to "be filled with the Spirit" (5:18). Their riches in Christ are based on His grace (1:2, 6, 7; 2:7), His peace (1:2), His will (1:5), His pleasure and purpose (1:9), His glory (1:12, 14), His calling and inheritance (1:18), His power and strength (1:19; 6:10), His love (2:4), His workmanship (2:10), His Holy Spirit (3:16), His offering and sacrifice (5:2), and His armor (6:11, 13). The word "riches" is used 5 times in this letter; "grace" is used 12 times; "glory" 9 times; "fullness" or "filled" 6 times; and the key phrase "in Christ" (or "in Him"), some 11 times.

Ephesus was a thriving city. It was on the coast of Asia Minor. The people were a mixture of Greek and Asiatic. Diana, a false goddess, was worshipped here. The temple built for Diana had been 220 years in the building, and was thought of as one of the wonders of the world. All sorts of sorcery were practiced here. There were many Jews here, as well.

Theme: A twin theme runs through the letter. First, believers compose the body of Christ. Second, they both, Jewish and Gentile Christians, share the same intimacy in God's family. Both stand before Him on the same common ground of grace. Jesus has made the Jewish and Gentile believers into "one new man" (2:15).

This letter is a call for the Jewish converts to Christianity and the Christians to be united. The key to the whole letter is unity in Christ. Each church had its own little peculiarities. Paul's special thrust here, is the unity of the believers in Christ, both Jew and Gentile.


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Ephesians 1 Ephesians 4
Ephesians 2 Ephesians 5
Ephesians 3 Ephesians 6

Ephesians 1

Ephesians Chapter 1

In the Greek (verses 3-14), comprise one sentence and encompass the past, present, and future of God's eternal purpose for the church. It is Paul's outline of God's master plan for salvation. In (3-6a), we are shown the past aspect, election; (in 6b-11), we are shown the present aspect, redemption; and (in 12-14), we are shown the future aspect, inheritance. Within God's master plan of salvation is every believer who has or will ever trust in God and be saved. As it is sometimes expressed, history is simply the outworking of "His story," which has already been planned and prewritten in eternity.

This passage can also be divided into three sections, each of which focuses on a different Person of the Trinity. (Verses 3-6a), center on the Father; (verses 6b-12), center on the Son; and (verses 13-14), centers on the Holy Spirit.

1:1 "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:"

We immediately see a declaration that this letter is from Paul. He explains that his authority to be an apostle is from Jesus Christ. This is written to the church at Ephesus. Paul explains that he is an apostle of Christ. Paul did not choose to be an apostle, God called Paul to this office.

"Apostle", the word means "messenger" and served as an official title for Paul and the 12 disciples which includes Matthias (Acts 1:26), who were eyewitnesses of the resurrected Jesus and were chosen by God to lay the foundation for the church by preaching, teaching and writing Scripture, accompanied by miracles (2 Cor. 12:12).

"Saints ... faithful" designates those who God has set apart from sin to Himself, made holy through their faith in Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 1:2 "Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and [from] the Lord Jesus Christ."

Just as grace was the key word in Galatians, it is prominent in all of Paul's letters. He does want the blessings and favor of God to fall upon these people.

True peace, just like true grace, comes from the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. From them came the authority with which Paul spoke (verse 1), as well as the blessings of grace and peace to all believers. The conjunction "and" indicates equivalence; that is, the Lord Jesus Christ is equally divine with the Father.

Ephesians 1:3 "Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly [places] in Christ:"

Blessed here means "worthy of praise." When God blesses man, He confers benefits upon him. When man blesses God, as Paul does here, he attributes praise to Him "Who hath blessed us" (or, "because He has blessed us"): The apostle then, praises God because He has bestowed all "spiritual blessings" on His people.

Where are these blessings located? "In heavenly places, that is, in heaven. As the Christian's citizenship (Phil. 3:20), high priest (Heb. 4:14), hope (Col. 1:5), and inheritance (1 Pet. 1:4), are all "in heaven." As his treasure (Matt. 6:20-21), and affection (Col. 3:1-2), are to be "in heaven," so also the Christian's blessings are "in heaven." These spiritual benefits were granted to the believer and are retained in heaven for him, being progressively dispersed to him on earth in accord with his need and Christian growth.

When we bless God, we speak good of Him. When God blesses us, He communicates good to us. We bless Him with words; He blesses us with deeds. All we can do is to speak well of Him because in ourselves we have nothing good to give, and in Himself He lacks no goodness.

But when He blesses us, the situation is reversed. He cannot bless us for our goodness, because we have none. Rather, He blesses us with goodness. Our heavenly Father lavishes us with every goodness, every good gift, every blessing. That is His nature, and that is our need.

"In Christ", or "by Christ," that is, the Father has conferred these blessings on the church, but He did not act alone; He hath blessed us in Christ. This verse therefore, makes six points:

1. Who is the Blessed One? God.

2. What has God done? He has blessed us.

3. With what? With every spiritual blessing.

4. When? In eternity past.

5. Where are these blessings? In heaven.

6. How did God do this? By Christ.

In this verse, we see the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Our way to the Father is through Jesus Christ, our High Priest. The spiritual blessings for the believer are applied through the Holy Spirit.

Our heavenly Father blesses us with every spiritual blessing. Many Christians continually ask God for what He has already given. They pray for Him to give them more love, although they should know that "the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us" (Romans 5:5). They pray for peace, although Jesus said, "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you" (John 14:27).

They pray for happiness and joy, although Jesus said, "these things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full" (John 15:11). They ask God for strength, although His Word tells them that they "can do all things through Him who strengthens them" (Philippians 4:13).

God's divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence (2 Peter 1:3). It is not that God will give us but that He has already given us "everything pertaining to life and godliness." He has blessed us already with every spiritual blessing. We are complete in Him.

Perhaps in this third verse here, Paul wants us to see the unity of the Father, Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. Christians are in Jesus, and Jesus is in the Christian. He is seated in heavenly places, and we are sitting with Him in heavenly places.

Notice the involvement of them all in the blessings for the believer. Take a look also, the word "all" in the spiritual blessings.

Ephesians 2:6 "And hath raised [us] up together, and made [us] sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:"

John 14:20 "At that day ye shall know that I [am] in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you."

Every human effort at self-improvement or self-satisfaction, no matter what its religious covering may be, is subject to the law of diminishing returns, such as works righteousness that seeks praise and commendation. Genuine and lasting satisfaction is never achieved and increased achievement only brings increased desire.

The only way a person can achieve a true sense of self-worth, meaning and significance is to have a right relationship to his Creator. A person without Christ has no spiritual value, no standing before God, no purpose or meaning in the world. He is like "chaff which the wind drives away" (Psalm 1:4).

As James 1:17 puts it: "Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of Lights".

Those who are Christians are members of God's dominion, unlike the "sons of this age" (Luke 16:8), are able to understand the supernatural things of God. Things which the "natural man does not accept" and "cannot understand, because they are spiritually appraised" (1 Cor. 2:14).

The key to living as a heavenly citizen while living in an unheavenly situation is walking by the Spirit. "Walk by the Spirit," Paul says, "and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh (Gal. 5:16). When we walk in His power He produces His fruit in us: "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control" (Gal. 5:22-23). We receive our heavenly blessing by living in the power of God's Holy Spirit, because we are in Christ.

Ephesians 1:4 "According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:"

Verses (4 to 6b), reveals the past part of God's eternal plan in forming the church, the body of Jesus Christ. His plan is shown is seven elements:

1. The method, election;

2. The object, the elect;

3. The time, eternity past;

4. The purpose, holiness;

5. The motive, love;

6. The result, Sonship;

7. And the God, glory.

The bible speaks of three different kinds of election. One is God's theocratic election of Israel. That election has no bearing on personal salvation. The second is vocational. Such as the Lord called out the tribe of Levi to be His priests, but they were not guaranteed salvation. Or Jesus when He called the twelve men to be apostles but only eleven of them to salvation.

The third kind of election is Salvation; the kind of which Paul is speaking in our present text. Jesus said, No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him" (John 6:44). The Greek word in this, "Helkuo" (draws), carries the idea of an irresistible force and was used in ancient Greek literature of a desperately hungry man being drawn to food or of demonic forces being drawn to animals when they were not able to possess men.

From all eternity, before the foundation of the world and therefore completely apart from any merit or deserving that any person could have, God chose us in Him, "in Christ" (verse 3). By God's sovereign election, those who are saved were placed in eternal union with Christ before creation even took place.

Although man's will is not free in the sense that many people suppose, he does have a will, a will that Scripture clearly recognizes. Apart from God, mans will is captive to sin. But he is nevertheless able to choose God because God has made that choice possible. Jesus said that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16), and that "everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die" (John 11:26).

God's sovereign election and man's exercise of responsibility in choosing Jesus Christ seem opposite and irreconcilable truths, and from our limited human perspective they are opposite and irreconcilable. That is why so many earnest, well-meaning Christians throughout the history of the church has floundered trying to reconcile them.

Since the problem cannot be resolved by our finite minds, the result is always to compromise one truth in favor of the other or to weaken both by trying to take a position somewhere between them. We should let the antimony remain, believing both truths completely and leaving the harmonizing of them to God.

I believe that (verse 4), is explaining that God (who knows everything for all time), prepared a plan for the fall of man before He made man. Many call this predestination but I prefer to call it foreknowledge. It is really the omniscient of God. "Omniscient" means knowing all things. It is one of the descriptions of God alone, no human has this attribute.

We do know that the desire of God was to fellowship with us. It is His desire for all to be saved. He even provided a Way for that to be possible in His Son Jesus. Mankind is not holy within itself. We are righteous in Jesus Christ.

He has clothed us in His righteousness. The righteousness that Jesus has clothed us in makes us acceptable in the sight of the Father. We are chosen of God.

1 Peter 2:9 "But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:"

You do not read anywhere that God has chosen anyone to be lost. His desire is that all would be saved. We of our own free will, accept the salvation He offered us, or reject it.

Paul said "For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory" (2 Tim. 1:9).

Acts 13:48 "And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed".

It is not that God's sovereign election, or predestination, eliminates man's choice in faith. Divine sovereignty and human response are integral and inseparable parts of salvation, though exactly how they operate together only the infinite mind of God knows.

Nor is it, as many believe and teach, that God simply looks into the future to see which people are going to believe and then elects them to salvation. Taken out of context (Romans 8:29), is often used to support that view. But (verse 28), makes it clear that those who God foresees and predestines to salvation are those whom He has already "called according to His purpose." Any teaching that diminishes the sovereign, electing love of God by giving more credit to men also diminishes God's glory, thus striking a blow at the very purpose of salvation.

Romans 8:28-29 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers."

Because we are chosen in Him we are holy and blameless before Him. It is Christ's eternal and foreordained plan to "present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing. But that she should be holy and blameless" (Eph. 5:27).

Obviously, Paul is talking about our position and not our practice. We know that in our living we are far from the holy standard and far from being blameless. Yet "in Him," Paul said (in Col. 2:10) "we have been made complete". All that God is, we become in Jesus Christ. That is why salvation is secure. We have Christ's perfect righteousness.

Our practice can and does fall short, but our position can never fall short, because it is exactly the same holy and blameless position before God that Christ has. We are as secure as our Savior, because we are in Him, waiting for the full redemption and glorious holiness that awaits us in His presence.

And because God declares us and leads us to be holy and blameless, we should strive to live lives now that reflect the holiness and blamelessness that are our destiny.

The last two words of (verse 4) "in love" may well belong to (verse 5); the link between verb forms in these two verses is expressed in this rendering: "He chose us ... in that He lovingly predestined us." So the divine choice of verse 4 is further defined by the divine predestination of (verse 5).

Ephesians 1:5 "Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,"

God elects those who are saved because of His love. In "love" He predestined us to adoption as sons. Just as He chose Israel to be His special people only because of His love (Deut. 7:8), so He also chose the church, the family of the redeemed.

Predestinated means "marked out in advance," (determined or appointed beforehand). Prior to creation God appointed those who would believe unto (or for), the adoption of children. That is, He appointed them to be His sons.

This divine appointment was "according to" (because of), the good pleasure of His will; it was due not to anything good in ourselves, but due solely to His kindness. These verses stress the divine sovereignty in salvation. (Verses 12 and 13), which mention our trust and belief in Christ emphasize the human responsibility in the process.

His plan from the beginning was to make us His adopted children. We see from the beginning, the plan to save the very elect. God did not choose who the very elect would be, He just knew ahead of time those who would choose to follow Him. The plan all along, was for Jesus Christ to be our Savior.

John 1:12 "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name:"

Romans 8:14-17 "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." "For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father." "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:" "And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with [him], that we may be also glorified together."

God chose and preordained the Body before the foundation of the world in order that no human being could boast or take glory for himself, but that all the glory might be His. Salvation is not partly of God and partly of man, but entirely of God. To guarantee that, every provision and every detail of salvation was accomplished before any human being was ever born or before a planet was formed on which he could be born.

The ultimate reason for everything that exists is the glory of His grace. That is why, as God's children, Christians should do everything they do, even such mundane things as eating and drinking, to the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31).

Ephesians 1:6 "To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved."

Jesus Christ is our Redeemer from sin, the Beloved (the word indicates the One who is in the state of being loved by God), who Himself paid the price for our release from sin and death. Because we now belong to Christ, by faith made one with Him and placed in His Body, we are now acceptable to God. Because we are now in the Beloved, we too are "beloved of God" (Romans 1:7).

The reason God predestined us to be His sons, (verse 5), is expressed in the words "to the praise of the glory of his grace", that is in order to magnify the splendor of His goodness to us.

"Wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved" may also read, "which (grace), He has bestowed on us by the Beloved." Through Christ we are the recipients of God's unmerited favor.

We must admit that it is to His praise, and not ours. Salvation through grace is none of our doing, it is His. "Grace", as we have said before, is unmerited favor. Even the fact that we are acceptable to the Father is because we have taken on the righteousness of Christ. Our righteousness is as filthy rags.

It is His righteousness that puts us in right standing with the Father. The Beloved here, is Jesus Christ. It is only in Him, that we are acceptable.

Jeremiah 23:6 "In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this [is] his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS."

Ephesians 1:7 "In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;"

Until a person realizes his need for redemption, he sees no need for a Redeemer. Until he recognizes that he is hopelessly enslaved to sin, he will not seek release from it. But when he does, he will be freed from the curse of sin, placed in Christ's Body, and blessed with His every spiritual blessing.

Redemption referred to the release of a slave or captive upon receipt of ransom. But the following words, the forgiveness of sins, show "redemption" is used here in a moral sense. The primary result of redemption for the believer is forgiveness. Christians are therefore released from their enslavement to sin and the resulting divine wrath.

Redemption is effected for us through his blood, that is, by Christ's atonement secured by His death on the cross.

On the Day of Atonement in the Old Testament when the blood was carried into the Holy of Holies for the sins of the people, the sins were covered over with the blood. This did not do away with the sin, it only covered it up. It did not clear the conscience of the sinner.

In the case of the Lord Jesus Christ, His blood does away with the sin. It blots the sin out. It leaves us free of sin. Jesus' precious blood clears our conscience. He not only takes away our sin, but He gives us His righteousness in return.

We do absolutely nothing, except repent of our sins and have faith in Jesus as our Redeemer. He redeemed us from the curse of the law.

Colossians 1:14 "In whom we have redemption through his blood, [even] the forgiveness of sins:"

While we were yet in sin, Jesus shed His blood to save us from sin, self, and the devil.

Shedding of blood is a metonym for death, which is the penalty and the price of sin. Christ's own death, by the shedding of His blood, was the substitute for our death. That which we deserved and could not save ourselves from, the beloved Savior, though He did not deserve it, took upon Himself. He made payment for what otherwise would have condemned us to death and hell.

When Jesus comes into our lives as Savior and Lord, He says to us what He said to the woman caught in the act of adultery, "She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more." (John 8:11). "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death" (Romans 8:1-2).

Because we continue to sin, we need the continued forgiveness of cleansing; but we do not need the continued forgiveness of redemption. This does not mean we will no longer sin, or that when we do, our sins have no harmful effect. They have a profound effect on our growth, joy, peace, usefulness, and ability to have intimate and rich communion with the Father. Thus, the believer is called on to ask for forgiveness daily so that he may enjoy not just the general forgiveness of redemption, but the specific forgiveness of daily cleansing, which brings fellowship and usefulness to their maximum.

Because God accepts every believer as He accepts His own Son, every believer ought to accept himself in the same way. We do not accept ourselves for what we are in ourselves any more than God accepts us for that reason. We accept ourselves as forgiven and as righteous because that is what God Himself declares us to be. To think otherwise is not a sign of humility but of arrogance, because to think otherwise is to put our own judgment above God's Word and to belittle the redemption price paid for us by His own beloved Son. A Christian who denigrates himself and doubts full forgiveness denies the work of God and denigrates a child of God. If we matter to God, we certainly ought to matter to ourselves.

"According to the riches of His grace": We need never worry that our sin will outstrip God's gracious forgiveness. "Where sin increased," Paul assures us, "grace abounded all the more" (Romans 5:20). Our heavenly Father does not simply give us subsistence forgiveness that will barely cover our sins if we are careful not to overdo. We cannot sin beyond God's grace, because as wicked and extensive as our sins might be or become, they will never approach the greatness of His grace. His forgiveness is infinite, and He lavishes it without measure upon those who trust in His Son. We therefore not only can enjoy future glory with God but present fellowship with Him as well.

Ephesians 1:8 "Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;"

This verse could be rendered, "He lavished upon us this grace which consists in all sorts of wisdom and prudence (or, insight). The word wisdom refers to a knowledge of the true nature of things; prudence has to do with the practical application of this wisdom leading to the right course of action. But the specific "wisdom and prudence" Paul has in view here, concerns a future aspect of God's will as delineated (in verses 9 and 10).

God not only forgives us, but also gives us all the necessary equipment to understand Him and to walk through the world day by day in a way that reflects His will and is pleasing to Him. He generously gives us the wherewithal both to understand His Word and to know how to obey it.

When God takes away sin, He does not leave us in a spiritual, moral, and mental vacuum where we must then work things out for ourselves. He lavishes wisdom and insight on us according to the riches of His grace just as He lavishes forgiveness on us according to those riches.

Ephesians 1:9 "Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:"

This verse more precisely identifies that "wisdom and prudence" (verse 8), God lavished on us. This "wisdom and prudence" has to do with God's making known unto us the mystery of his will.

"Mystery" here refers to a divine truth that is incapable of being discovered by human ingenuity and that, until recently, has been kept secret. Why did God disclose this mystery to us? It was according to (because of), his good pleasure which he hath purposed (planned), in himself.

The mystery is how a just God of law could ever justify a sinner, such as you and me. He revealed to us the plan. It is up to us to act upon it. The word "according" here, tells us a lot. With man's reasoning, there would have been no reason for God to give His Son on the cross that we might live.

He did it not because it was the logical thing by our reasoning to do it, but because it brought Him pleasure for us to be saved. Notice also, that this was not someone else's plan, it was His plan. It was not on advice from others, but was His plan from the foundation of the world. All of this is true, because God willed it.

Why has God done so much for us? Why has He blessed us with every spiritual blessing? Chosen us in Christ before the foundation of the world? Made us holy and blameless? Predestined us to adoption as His children? Redeemed us through His blood, and lavishly given us forgiveness, wisdom and insight according to the infinite riches of His grace?

Ephesians 1:10 "That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; [even] in him:"

God redeems men in order that He might gather everything to Himself. The time of that gathering will be the millennial kingdom, which will be an administration suitable to the fullness of the times. When the completion of history comes, the kingdom arrives, eternity begins again, and the new heaven and new earth are established, there will be a summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things upon the earth. Jesus Christ is the goal of history, which finds its resolution in Him. The paradise lost in Adam is restored in Christ.

This verse refers back to God's "good pleasure", (verse 9).

Then (verse 10), is made plainer by the paraphrase, "for the purpose of executing it (i.e. God's good pleasure), in the fullness of times and His good pleasure is to head up all things in Christ, things in heaven, and things on earth."

In the near future, when the time is ripe, God will put His good purpose into effect and carry it out. And His "good pleasure" or intention is the restoration of original universal unity, when all things are brought back into harmony with Himself and under the headship of Christ.

We are all one in Christ, whether we be Jew or Greek, whether we be male or female.

Galatians 3:28 "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus."

In man's scheme of things, this would be an impossibility. In God's plan, it is not only possible, but will happen.

Acts 17:28 "For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring."

1 John 4:9 "In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him."

We Christians are His church; we are His bride and we are His building.

He is the head of the church; we are the body. He is the chief Cornerstone, and we are the lively stones which are held together by Him. We are also, His inheritance. He is Creator God; we belong to Him. We are His creation.

Read the first chapter of John to know that not anything was made without Him. The heavens are His and the earth, as well. At the name of Jesus all will bow.

Philippians 2:10-11 "That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of [things] in heaven, and [things] in earth, and [things] under the earth;" "And [that] every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ [is] Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

The summing up of "All things in Christ": He designed His great plan in the ages past; He now sovereignly works it out according to His divine will; and in the fullness of the times He will complete and perfect it in His Son, in whom it will forever operate in righteous harmony and glorious newness along with all things in the heavens and things upon the earth.

Ephesians Chapter 1 Questions

1. What is the book of Ephesians?

2. About when was it written?

3. Who does the author believe the penman to be?

4. What is this letter a call to do?

5. What was Paul's special thrust in this letter?

6. Describe Ephesus.

7. The _____ _______ ______ was thought of as one of the wonders of the world at that time.

8. What false worship was going on here?

9. Where, in Revelation, is the church at Ephesus mentioned?

10. What were some problems Paul had here?

11. What description does Paul give of himself in verse 1?

12. Who chose for Paul to be an apostle?

13. What does the word "saints" mean in verse 1?

14. Where does true peace come from?

15. What is our way to the Father?

16. What unity does Paul want us to see in verse 3?

17. When had He chosen us?

18. When did God make a plan for fallen man?

19. Do you believe this to be predestination or foreknowledge?

20. What does omniscient mean?

21. How are we righteous?

22. Verse 5 says, He predestinated us to what?

23. The 8th Chapter of Romans tells us who are the sons of God?

24. What special name can the children of God call the Father?

25. Who are the Christians, joint heirs with?

26. Who is the Beloved in verse 6?

27. What is "grace"?

28. We have redemption through His ______.

29. How did the blood of the animal shed in the Old Testament vary from the blood of Jesus in the New Testament?

30. What is "wisdom", in verse 8, speaking of?

31. What does "prudence" mean in verse 8?

32. What is the mystery in verse 9?

33. When will Christ gather together all things in Him?

Ephesians Chapter 1 Continued

Ephesians 1:11 "In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:"

In the last lesson, we were looking into the mystery of why God would even want to save us. We found that He did not talk it over with anyone. This was His decision and was not up for discussion.

Galatians 3:29: "And if ye [be] Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."

In whom (this is speaking about Christ), also we have obtained an inheritance may be read, "by whom we were also made an inheritance." That is, believers are God's treasure. Why would Paul regard this as a blessing? As God's treasure, Christians are the apple of His eye, the special objects of His love. He is then determined to care and provide for His people who are His heritage.

"We have obtained an inheritance": This translates a single compound word in the Greek (eklerothemen). When something in the future was so certain that it could not possibly fail to happen. The Greeks would often speak of it as if it had already occurred (as here, where Paul uses a similar Greek tense (aorist active indicative). To speak of God's having "seated us with Him in the heavenly places" (verse 6), although the apostle and those to whom he wrote had not yet entered into that glorious experience. Their dwelling eternally with the Lord was just as certain as if they were already in heaven.

In Malachi, we see from eternity past the Father planned and determined that every person who would trust in His Son for salvation would be given to His Son as a possession, a glorious inheritance.

Malachi 3:16-17 "Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name." "And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him"

"According to the purpose": Because we are identified with Christ, our lives should be identified with His life (1 John 2:6). We are to love as He loved, help as He helped, care as He cared, share as He shared, and sacrifice our own interest and welfare for the sake of others just as He did. Like our Lord, we are in the world to lose our lives for others.

As Paul makes clear in (verse 3), our inheritance includes "every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ." In Jesus Christ, believers inherit every promise God has ever made. God bestows sunshine, rain, and many other good things on all men, the righteous and unrighteous alike (Matthew 5:45). But His spiritual blessings are bestowed only on those who are in Him. Apart from Jesus Christ, the only ultimate and eternal thing a person can receive from God is condemnation.

Our inheritance is in Jesus. We are heirs of the Father, because we are sons of the Father. We are sons of the Father, because we have received Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord.

We have obtained an inheritance. Christ is the source of the believer's divine inheritance, which is so certain that it is spoken of as if it has already been received (1 Cor. 3:22-23; 2 Peter 1:3-4).

"Being predestinated". Before the earth was formed, God sovereignly determined that every elect sinner, however vile, useless and deserving of death, by trusting in Christ would be made righteous.

Who worketh all things. The word translated "works" is the same one from which "energy," "energetic," and "energize" are derived. When God created the world, He gave it sufficient energy to begin immediately to operate as He had planned. It was not simply ready to function, but was created functioning. As God works out His plan according to "the counsel of His will," He energizes every believer with the power necessary for his spiritual completion (Phil. 1:6; 2:13).

God works out what He plans. He energizes every believer with all the power necessary for his spiritual completion. It is not sufficient to think that God only makes the plan. He also makes it work out.

Ephesians 1:12 "That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ."

This phrase begins (verse 12), in the Greek text, and that order fits logically with what Paul has been saying about God's perspective on our inheritance. The Lord's perspective and working are seen in His predestination, in His power, and as we see here, in His preeminence.

The key is that we first trusted Christ. We who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. The crucifixion of Jesus glorified the Father.

The purpose of being made God's "inheritance" and having been "predestinated" (verse 11), is that we should be to the praise of His glory, that is, that we should glorify God. Who first trusted in Christ refers to Jewish believers.

Our predestined salvation, including our attendant eternal and boundless blessings, are therefore designed that they should be to the praise of His glory.

The crucifixion of Jesus glorified the Father. Even the healings and raising of the dead glorified the Father. Over and over the Scriptures say, "and they glorified God."

The very greatest glory of all was the fact that Jesus fulfilled the will of the Father to save all who believed. The suffering on the cross glorified the Father and the Son.

John 13:31-32 "Therefore, when he was gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him." "If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him."

The greatest victory mankind has ever known was the victory of Jesus on the cross. Jesus defeated Satan and sin on the cross, and defeated death when He rose.

God's glory is the supreme purpose of redemption.

In the NASE edition the rendering of this verse (in verse 12a) is "To the end that we who were first to hope in Christ". This is the first statement given here about the human side of our divine inheritance in Christ. A more literal translation is "hope in the Christ".

A rich factor in man's believing the gospel is the hope He is given in His Savior and Lord. Though Paul mentions hope before belief in the passage, the chronological as well as theological order is faith and then hope. In this context, however, hope is used primarily as a synonym for faith. The first to hope in Christ were the first to believe in Him.

Verses 13-14. Sealed ... Holy Spirit of Promise: God's own Spirit comes to indwell the believer and secures and preserves his eternal salvation. The sealing of which Paul speaks refers to an official mark of identification placed on a letter, contract, or other document.

That document was thereby officially under the authority of the person whose stamp was on the seal. Four primary truths are signified by the seal:

1. Security - Dan. 6-17; Matthew 27:62-66;

2. Authenticity - 1 Kings 21:6-16;

3. Ownership - Jer. 32:10;

4. Authority - Esther 8:8-12.

The Holy Spirit is given as His pledge of the believer's future inheritance in glory, (2 Corinthians 1:21).

Ephesians 1:13 "In whom ye also [trusted], after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,"

Here we see the believer's divine inheritance in Jesus Christ from our own human perspective. Throughout Scripture there is tension between God's sovereignty and man's will, a tension that, in his limited and imperfect knowledge, man is incapable of fully reconciling.

As with all the other antinomies and paradoxes in God's Word, our responsibility is to believe both sides of them without reservation, just as they are revealed. We know the truths are in perfect accord in God's mind, and that knowledge should satisfy us.

Someone has pictured the divine and human sides of salvation in their way: When you look toward heaven you see a sign that read, "Whosoever will may come," and after you enter heaven you look back to that same sign and read on the other side, "Chosen in Him before the foundation of the world."

Whatever God's reasons for designing such humanly irreconcilable truths, we should thank and praise Him for them. For the very reason that they are completely true which seeming to be contradictory, we are humbled in His presence as we stand in awe of that which to us is incomprehensible. To the trusting believer such truths are but further evidence that Scripture is God's doing, and not man's.

Heard the word of truth ... ye believed. The God revealed gospel of Jesus Christ must be heard (Rom. 10:17), and believed (John 1:12), to bring salvation.

In whom ye also (or, "by whom also you"): The first person plural (we, us), in (verses 3-12), refers to Jewish Christians. The second person plural (you), refers to Gentile Christians. This seems evident from (2:11-12), where the second person is explicitly applied to non-Jews: "Ye being in time past Gentiles ... ye were ...aliens from the commonwealth of Israel."

Compare that all those spiritual blessings God has bestowed upon "us" Jewish Christians. He has also granted "you" Gentile brethren. There is no difference. In whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise may be read, "By whom also, when you believed, you were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit."

The Christian receives the Spirit, not "after," but when he believes in Christ as Savior. The sealer is Jesus; the seal is the Holy Spirit. In biblical times a seal denoted both identification of ownership and protection provided by the owner.

The victory for all mankind in this is that now, all who believe will be saved. Salvation was not available to whosoever will, until the cross. The gospel (good news), of salvation is that all who believe in the Lord Jesus will be saved. It seems that there are two statements "after ye believed" and "sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise".

The Holy Spirit, we Christians receive, is called the earnest of the Spirit. Look, with me, at a couple of Scriptures on this.

2 Corinthians 1:22 "Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts."

2 Corinthians 5:5 "Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing [is] God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit."

The sealing of the Holy Spirit guarantees the benefits of our salvation, as a person might seal an envelope to guarantee its enclosures. The Holy Spirit is the seal to the believer and is also a "down payment" of His commitment to someday give him all other things God has promised.

Faith is man's response to God's elective purpose. God's choice of men is election; men's choice of God is faith. In election God gives His promises, and by faith men receive them.

As one means of guaranteeing His promises to those who have received Jesus Christ, God has sealed them in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise. Every believer is given the very Holy Spirit of God the moment he trusts in Christ. "You are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you," Paul declares (Romans 8:9a). Conversely, he goes on to say, "If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him" (verse 9b). Incredibly, the body of every true Christian is actually "a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in him" (1 Cor. 6:19).

When a person becomes a Christian, the Holy Spirit takes up residence in his life. Life in Jesus Christ is different because the Spirit of God is now within. He is there to empower us, equip us for ministry, and function through the gifts He has given us. The Holy Spirit is our Helper and Advocate. He protects and encourages us. He also guarantees our inheritance in Jesus Christ. "The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ" (Romans 8:16-17). The Spirit of God is our securing force, our guarantee.

When the Holy Spirit seals believers, He marks them as God's divine possessions, who from that moment on entirely and eternally belong to Him. The Spirit's seal declares the transaction of salvation as divinely official and final.

Ephesians 1:14 "Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory."

Which is the earnest of our inheritance means "who is the guarantee of our salvation. The Holy Spirit is here called "the earnest of our inheritance." The word earnest means "down payment"; as such the gift of the Spirit is viewed as an installment or as part of our salvation.

The Holy Spirit not only guarantees our inheritance in Jesus Christ with His seal but also with His pledge. An arrabon (pledge), originally referred to a down payment or earnest money given to secure a purchase. Later it came to represent any sort of pledge or earnest. A form of the word even came to be used for engagement ring. Believers are assured and guaranteed with an absolute certainty that only God could provide. The Holy Spirit is the church's irrevocable pledge, her divine engagement ring, as it were, that as Christ's bride, she will never be neglected or forsaken.

God therefore assures the Christian that the realization of the rest of his salvation is forthcoming. How long is the believer assured of his salvation? Until the redemption of the purchased possession may be read, "until God glorifies and perfects the believer (the purchased possession), whom He has bought by Christ's blood."

The Spirit that we receive, gives us power to be able to live a victorious life here on the earth. This strength that we receive within ourselves is the fact that the Spirit of the Risen Christ has taken up residence in us. It is His strength that we draw from. The Spirit not only verifies that we belong to Christ, but also helps us in our day to day walk.

When we allow the Spirit to be our teacher and our guide, we are assured of the decisions we make. It is a knowing that all is well with our soul. It reassures us of our coming inheritance. Notice we are the purchased possession.

Although our divine inheritance in Christ is a marvelous, awesome and guaranteed promise to us from the Lord, it is not the primary purpose of our salvation. Our salvation and all of the promises, blessings and privileges we gain through salvation are first of all bestowed with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory.

As Paul has already twice declared in verses 6 and 12, God's ultimate goal in redeeming men is the praise of His glory. We are not saved and blessed for our own glory but for God's, Isaiah 43:20-21. When we glorify ourselves, we rob God of that which is wholly His. He saved us to serve Him and to praise Him. We are saved to be restored to the intended divine purpose of creation, to bear the image of God and bring Him greater glory.

This is fully accomplished at the believer's glorification, when we receive full glory and redemption and are made the perfect possession of God.

In (verses 3-14), Paul has set forth the amazing and unlimited blessings believers have in Jesus Christ. Blessings that amount to our personal inheritance of all that belongs to Him. In the remainder of the chapter (verses 15-23), Paul prays that the believers to whom he writes will come to fully understand and appreciate those blessings. In this prayer, he focuses on believers' comprehension of their resources in their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. In (verses 15-16), he praises them, and (in verses 17-23), he makes petitions to God for them.

Ephesians 1:15 "Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,"

In light of their marvelous inheritance in Jesus Christ, Paul now intercedes for the possessors of that treasure, (faith). These initially included not only the believers in Ephesus but probably those in all the churches of Asia Minor.

It had been about four years since Paul ministered there, and he was now in prison. From letters and reports from friends who visited him in prison, he had received considerable information from and about the churches.

From that he had heard two things that indicated the genuineness of their salvation, and for those two cardinal marks of a true Christian, faith in Christ and love for other Christians. Those two dimensions of spiritual life are inseparable (1 John 2:9-11).

Now, we see the glorious report. Love of the saints is automatic with faith in the Lord Jesus. We cannot directly do anything for Christ. The way we give to Him is through His saints.

Love for other believers' evidences saving faith (John 13:34-35; 1 John 4:16-18; 4:20; 5:1), and is a cause of thanksgiving (verse 16).

The emphasis (in verse 15b), is on true saving belief, with the lordship of Jesus as the object of that belief. Some Christians, perhaps intending to protect the gospel from any taint of works righteousness, underplay Christ's lordship almost to the point of denying it. Others would like to accept the term Lord only as a reference to deity, not sovereignty. But such a separation is artificial, because deity implies sovereignty. The One who alone is God rules alone.

The New Testament does not separate Jesus as Savior from Jesus as Lord. He is both, or He is neither. Jesus becomes Savior when He is accepted as Lord. "For to this end," (Paul explains later in Romans, "Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord, both of the dead and of the living" (14:9).

Only believers can say "Jesus is Lord" because they possess the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:3), who was given to them when they were saved (Rom 8:9).

In (verse 15c), we see a second mark of genuine salvation is love for all the saints, and because of such love Paul offers thanks for the Ephesian believers. "We know that we have passed out of death into life," John says, "because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death" (1 John 3:14).

True salvation produces true love and true love does "not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth" (1 John 3:18).

Always in the New Testament true spiritual love is defined as an attitude of selfless sacrifice that results in generous acts of kindness done to others. It is far more that a feeling, and attraction or emotion.

Sadly, the love the Ephesians had for all the saints did not last. In the letter to the churches of Asia Minor in Revelation, the Lord says of the church at Ephesus, "I have this against you, that you have left your first love" (Rev. 2:2-4). They had lost within a few decades, the great love for Christ and their fellow believers, for which Paul had so warmly praised them.

It is unfortunate that some Christians have a loveless kind of faith. Because it is loveless there is reason to doubt that such faith is even genuine. True faith cannot exist apart from true love. We cannot love the Lord Jesus without loving those whom He loves.

1 John 5:1 says: "Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God; and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him".

Ephesians 1:16 "Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;"

Paul immediately began to pray for them, when he realized they were believers. All leaders in the church should pray for all of those who come to Christ. The congregation should pray for their leader as well. Pray ye, one for the other. We Christians all need each other, and should give thanks for the believers.

The Christians to whom Paul wrote his Ephesians letter had the right balance, and it was for their great faith and their great love that the apostle assured them, "I do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers".

Verses 17-18, the spirit of wisdom ... hope. Paul was praying that believers will have the disposition of godly knowledge and insight of which the sanctified mind is capable (verse 8), so as to grasp the greatness of the hope (Romans 8:29; 1 John 3:2). And the inheritance that is theirs in Christ (verses 3-14).

Ephesians 1:17 "That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:"

The remainder of the chapter is a petition in which Paul prays for God to give believers true comprehension and appreciation of who they are in Jesus Christ. In order that they might begin to have some idea of how magnificent and unlimited are the blessings that already belonged to them in their Lord and Savior.

In essence, Paul prayed that the Ephesians would be spared from frantically searching for what was already theirs. But rather would see the great God who is their God and is the source of all they need and has it ready for them if they are open to receive it. Such a receptive attitude requires that God Himself give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.

It is tragic that many believers become entangled in a quest for something more in the Christian life, for something special, something extra that the "ordinary" Christian does not possess. They talk of getting more of Jesus Christ, more of the Holy Spirit, more power, more blessings, a higher life, a deeper life, as if the resources of God were divinely doled out one at a time like so many pharmaceutical prescriptions. Or were unlocked by some spiritual combination that only an initiated few can know.

To say, "I want to get all of Jesus there is, "implies that when we were saved Christ did not give us all of Himself, that He held some blessings in reserve to be parceled out to those who meet certain extra requirements. Such searching undermines the essence of God's revealed truth about salvation (see Ecclesiastes 3:4).

God of our Lord Jesus Christ, this is a designation of God that links Father and Son in essential nature, as deity.

The Christian's primary need is for wisdom and obedience to appropriate the abundance of blessings the Lord has already given. Our problem is not lack of blessings, but lack of insight and wisdom to understand and use them properly and faithfully. Only the Holy Spirit Himself can search the deep things of the mind of God, and only the Spirit can bring them to our understanding.

God's deeper truths cannot be seen with our eyes, heard with our ears, or comprehended by our reason or intuition. They are revealed only to those who love Him.

The spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him means "a disposition consisting of wisdom and revelation in knowing Him."

"Wisdom" is a gift from God. "Knowledge" is accumulated learning. The Spirit of wisdom would be a gift through the Holy Spirit of God. This would be above the natural ability of man.

Paul prays specifically that God may give the faculty of understanding so that we can know our resources, which he calls a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. The spirit of wisdom is given through the Holy Spirit, but this spirit does not refer to the Holy Spirit Himself, as some interpreters suggest.

Pneuma (spirit) is anarthrous here, meaning that it has no article before it. In such cases the indefinite article is usually supplied in English, as in our text: a spirit. Believers already possess the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9), for whom their bodies are temples (1 Cor. 6:19). Nor does it seem that Paul was speaking of the human spirit, which every person already possesses (1 Cor. 2:11).

Revelation, though used here as a synonym of wisdom, deals with God's imparting knowledge to us, whereas wisdom could emphasize our use of that knowledge. We must know and understand our position in the Lord before we are capable of serving Him. We must know what we have before we can satisfactorily use it.

This additional wisdom goes beyond intellectual knowledge. It is far richer; and Paul desired that the Christians, like those in Colossae, would "keep seeking the things above, where Christ is" (Col. 3:1).

Verses 18-19. When the figurative terms are removed from "the eyes of your understanding being enlightened", the clause means that "your mind's understanding may be fully enlightened." This clause further explains (verse 17). That ye may know signifies that the believer comes to know three things upon being enlightened:

1. What is the hope of his calling; That is, he realizes how sure and certain is his heavenly destiny;

2. What the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints; That is, the illuminated Christian recognizes more and more both the priceless value of his salvation, and what a priceless treasure he is to God; and

3. What is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe: Perceiving how God's power has changed him since conversion, he experiences to a greater extent, this divine strength in daily living.

Ephesians 1:18 "The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,"

In the NASE bible version, the scripture states: "I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened". In most modern cultures, the heart is thought of as the seat of emotions and feeling. But most ancients such as Hebrews, Greeks, and many others, considered the heart (Greek Kardia), to be the center of knowledge, understanding, thinking and wisdom. The New Testament also uses it that way.

Pray therefore prays for the minds of the Ephesians to be enlightened. Emotions have a significant place in the Christian life, but they are reliable only as they are guided and controlled by God's truth, which we come to know and understand through our minds. That is why we are to "Let the Lord of Christ richly dwell within us" (Col. 3:16).

When the Holy Spirit works in the believer's mind, He enriches it to understand divine truth that is deep and profound, and then relates that truth to life, including those aspects of life that involve our emotions.

The eyes of your understanding enlightened, would mean that God has allowed your innermost being to understand. The Light has shined on you from within and revealed the meaning to you.

This is approximately what had happened to Paul on the road to Damascus. It is a revealing from within. Also, the two disciples on the Emmaus road, their hearts (that is their minds), burned within them; but it was not until "their eyes were opened that they recognized Him" (Luke 24:31-32).

A spiritually enlightened mind is the only means of truly understanding and appreciating the hope and inheritance in Christ and of living obediently for Him.

"The hope of His calling": Paul prays for God to enlighten them about the magnificent truths that summarize God's master plan for the redemption of mankind which is His eternal plan that will bring men back to Himself through His own Son, thereby making them His children.

Jesus is the Light, so this means that His light has shone brightly within you revealing secrets. When the Light of Jesus shines within, there are no hidden corners left. His Light does away with darkness. Then you can see clearly what your calling is. You also can see clearly what your inheritance in Him is. This "knowing" is not with your mind, but with your heart.

"Inheritance of the saints": It is truth too magnificent for words to describe. Our being glorious children of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ of all that God possesses is the consummation and end of salvation promised from eternity past and held in hope until the future manifestation of Christ. There is nothing more to seek, nothing more to be given or received. We have it all now, and we will have it throughout eternity.

Verses 19-20: "Exceeding greatness of His power". God's great power, that very power which raised Jesus from the dead and lifted Him by ascension back to glory to take His seat at God's right hand. This is given to every believer at the time of salvation and is always available (Acts 1:8; Col. 1:29).

Paul therefore did not pray that God's power be given to believers but that they be aware of the power they already possessed in Christ and use it (3:20).

Ephesians 1:19 "And what [is] the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,"

This second request of Paul is for the Lord to give the Ephesian believers understanding of His great power that will bring them to their inheritance in glory. Paul uses four different Greek synonyms to emphasize the greatness of that power.

1. "Dunamis" (power), from which we get dynamite and dynamo. This power is only for Christians, for those who believe. It is all the power we are ever offered or could ever have.

2. "Energeia" (working), the energizing force of the Spirit that empowers believers to live for the Lord.

3. "Kratos (strength), which may also be translated "dominion" (1 Tim. 6:16), or "power" (Heb. 2:14).

4. "Ischus" (might), which carries the idea of endowed power or ability. In all those ways, the Holy Spirit empowers God's children.

Paul did not pray for power to be given to believers. How could they have more than what they had? He prayed first, that they be given a divine awareness of the power they possessed in Christ. Later in the letter (chapters 4-6), he admonished them to employ that power in faithful living for their Lord.

The main thing it reveals is the fact that it is not our own power that works within us, but His power.

Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."

Zechariah 4:6 "Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This [is] the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts."

His power works in us, and through us, if we believe. We do not need to pray for power to do God's will. "It is God who is at work in you," Paul assures us, "both to will and to work for His good pleasure" (Phil. 2:13).

John 14:12 "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater [works] than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father."

He has given us power of attorney to use His name.

John 14:13-14 "And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son." "If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do [it]."

The greatness is His power working in us and through us, as I said.

Just before His ascension Jesus assured the disciples, "You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you" (Acts 1:8). A gift every believer receives at the time he is saved. God can do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us (Eph. 3:20). To ask God for more power is an affront to His gracious love which already has provided us everything.

Ephesians 1:20 "Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set [him] at his own right hand in the heavenly [places],"

That very same power that was shown at the resurrection of Jesus is the same power that we have when we pray for the sick, or do mighty miracles in His name. The power is in Christ. It is in His name. He healed in His own name when He was on the earth. We can now use that powerful name.

Paul's prayer here is that we understand the power of His keeping, His securing us and His fulfilling the marvelous hope which is ours in Christ. The resurrection and ascension power, the divine energy that lifted Christ from the grave to the earth, and from the earth to heaven, is the power that will lift us to glory.

At times, all of us are tempted to doubt, to wonder if God can do a certain thing for us or through us or ultimately bring us into His presence. But when we look at what He brought about in Christ, at what He faithfully accomplished on behalf of His son, and at His assurance that He will just as faithfully accomplish His work on our behalf, what ground do we have for doubting?

Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father because the work is finished. He is also, the Right Hand of God. In a spiritual way, we believers are seated in heavenly places with Christ Jesus.

In light of such assurance, how can a Christian feel insecure, forsaken, or powerless? The same unlimited divine power that raised Him from the dead will raise us from the dead, and the same power that seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places will seat us there with Him.

In the meanwhile, that resurrection power is at our disposal for living to His glory (Eph. 1:19-20; 3:20). It is so certain that this power will bring us to glory that Paul spoke as if it has already occurred, because it has already occurred in God's eternal plan. (Eph. 2:6).

Ephesians 1:21 "Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:"

Moving from Christ's might to His majesty, Paul's third request is for the Lord to give believers understanding of the greatness of His Person who secures and empowers them.

Principality, and power, and might, and dominion refer to various classes of angelic beings. God's power has exalted Jesus far above all these spiritual creatures.

Paul wanted believers to comprehend the greatness of God compared to other heavenly beings. "Rule and authority and power and dominion" were traditional Jewish terms to designate angelic beings having a high rank among God's hosts. God is above them all (Rev. 20:10-15).

Once when Timothy was intimidated by criticism from fellow Christians, he understandably became discouraged. Paul wrote to him:

2 Tim. 2:8-10 "Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel" "Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound." "Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory".

Paul says, "He was raised from the dead and seated at God's right hand. He was born of the seed of David, as a man just like us. He identifies with us, understands us, and sympathizes with us."

Every Christian should continually have that focus. When we look at Him, our physical problems, psychological problems, and even spiritual problems will not loom so all important before us.

What great blessing we can have when we take time to set our own concerns and needs aside and simply focus on the Lord of glory. Allowing the Holy Spirit to do in us what Paul asked Him to do in the Ephesians. Give us deep understanding of the truth that our Lord is far above all rule and authority and power and dominion. And every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the one to come.

The following Scripture says it all.

Philippians 2:10 "That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of [things] in heaven, and [things] in earth, and [things] under the earth;"

His name is exalted above all others.

Ephesians 1:22 "And hath put all [things] under his feet, and gave him [to be] the head over all [things] to the church,"

It should be noted that the matter of the cosmic war between God and His angelic hosts and Satan and his demons is a matter of great importance in Scripture. Redemption is a demonstration of God's power before the angels (3:10). Satan and his hosts have endeavored to thwart the plan of God from the beginning and are the constant enemy of the work of the kingdom. But they are destined to be overthrown and eternally banished (Rev. 20:10-15).

And gave Him to be the head over all things to the church means God appointed Him head (ruler), over all things for the benefit of the church. Jesus is the divinely appointed ruler over the entire universe for the church's benefit.

Feet ... head. This is (a quote from Psalm 8:6), indicating that God has exalted Christ over everything (Heb. 2:8), including His church (Col. 1:18). Christ is clearly the authoritative Head (not "source), because all things have been placed under His feet.

He is our exalted Leader. He is our Lord, He is our Savior, He is our King, He is our High Priest, He is our Life.

Acts 17:28 "For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring."

He is the head of the church, who we are. He is the Creator of everything and everyone, and we are His creation.

There is no limit on time, as Paul said Christ will be supreme not only in this age, but also in the one to come, that is in the eternal kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ (2:7).

Ephesians 1:23 "Which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all."

Most importantly, as far as believers are concerned, God gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. Christ not only is the head of the church but its fullness.

Since He has such a unique and intimate relationship with the redeemed whom He loves, all His power will be used in their behalf to fulfill His loving purpose for them. He is completely over us and completely in us, our supreme Lord and supreme power.

His body is a metaphor for God's redeemed people, used exclusively in the New Testament of the church (4:12-16; 1 Cor. 12:12-27).

Paraphrased, this verse reads, "For the church is His body. It is the fullness belonging to Him who fills the universe with all things." That is, Jesus, who so wisely and skillfully fills the universe with all material elements necessary for its existence, also wisely and skillfully infuse His people (the church), with His own life and character.

This verse then, explains why (in 1:22), God made Him head over all things for the benefit of the church: the church is in such an intimate relationship with Him, and is of such character, that she is considered His own body. So, it is for her good that Christ is the divinely appointed ruler of the universe. Since He "filleth" the church with His own life and character, she is a receptacle containing the graces and virtues of God Himself.

We Christians, are the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are His bride; we are His habitation. He is the vine, and we are His branches. He is the Tree of Life and the Water of Life. He is the spiritual and the physical Light of the world.

The point of this great petition is that we might comprehend how secure we are in Christ and how unwavering and immutable is our hope of eternal inheritance. The power of glorification is invincible and is presently operative to bring us to glory.

Ephesians Chapter 1 Continued Questions

1. Our inheritance is in _________.

2. He bought us and paid for us with His _____ _________.

3. What is the key to verse 12?

4. What were some of the things Jesus did that glorified the Father?

5. What was the greatest victory mankind has ever known?

6. Christians are sealed with that ______ _________ of promise.

7. When did salvation become available to whosoever will?

8. What is the Holy Spirit that Christians receive called?

9. What within us bears witness of our salvation?

10. What strength can the Christian draw from?

11. What is the glorious report?

12. When did Paul begin to pray for them?

13. Wisdom is a ______ from God.

14. Knowledge is ______________ _____________.

15. In verse 17, how does the revealing take place?

16. What does "the eyes of your understanding enlightened" mean?

17. The "knowing", in verse 18, is how?

18. Where do we find the statement, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord?

19. When we pray for the sick, what causes it to happen?

20. Where is Christ seated?

21. At the name of Jesus, who will bow?

22. Name several things that Jesus is to us?

23. What are the Christians?

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Ephesians 2

Ephesians Chapter 2

In the first ten verses Paul presents the past, present and future of the Christian: what he was (verses 1-3); what he is (verses 4-6, 8-9); and what he will be (verses 7, 10). Within this framework he gives six aspects of salvation: it is from sin (verses 1-3); by love (verse 4); into life (verse 5); with a purpose (verses 6-7); through faith (verses 8-9); and unto good works (verse 10). The first aspect is in the past, the next four aspects (except for the second part of "purpose," (verse 7), pertain to the present, and the last aspect, (including verse 7), is in the future.

Ephesians 2:1 " And you [hath he quickened], who were dead in trespasses and sins;"

First, salvation is from sin, which characterizes life before Christ. In the first three verses, there is perhaps no clearer statement in Scripture on the sinfulness of man apart from Christ.

Quickened means "made alive." (In 1:19), Paul prays for his readers to recognize what God's power has done in them. As part of the answer to this prayer (verses 1-10), inform them of some of the effects divine might has accomplished in them.

"The wages of sin is death" (Romans 3:23). Because man is born into sin he is born to death. Man does not become spiritually dead because he sins, he is spiritually dead because by nature he is sinful. When we are walking in our sin unforgiven, we are marking time to death. Each day becomes a little more hopeless, because it is one day closer to death. Trespasses and sin bring physical and spiritual death.

Man's principal problem is that he has no right relationship to God, from whom he is alienated by sin. It has nothing to do with the way he lives; it has to do with the fact that he is dead even while he is alive.

He is spiritually dead while being physically alive. Because he is dead to God, he is dead to spiritual life, truth, righteousness, inner peace and happiness, and ultimately to every other good thing.

Jesus took the punishment of death on His body on the cross and marked their bill paid in full, for all who would turn from their sin and accept Him as their Savior.

Romans 8:2 "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death."

John 5:21 "For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth [them]; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will."

Men apart from God are spiritual zombies, the walking dead who do not know they are dead. They go through the motions of life, but they do not possess it.

"Dead in trespasses and sins": A sobering reminder of the total sinfulness and lostness from which believers have been redeemed. "In" indicates the realm or sphere in which unregenerate sinners exist. They are not dead because of sinful acts that have been committed but because of their sinful nature.

Committing sinful acts does not make us sinners; we commit sinful acts because we are sinners. Jesus confirmed this when He said, "The evil man out of his evil treasure brings forth what is evil" (Matt. 12:35).

A sinner's doing good is good, but it cannot change his nature or his basic sphere of existence, and it cannot reconcile him to God.

Jesus is the Spirit of Life. Though I was dead, yet shall I live in Him.

Before we were saved we were like every other person who is apart from God, dead in ... trespasses and sins. We were not dead because we had committed sin but because we were in sin. In this context, trespasses and sins do not refer simply to acts but first of all, to the sphere of existence of the person apart from God.

Ephesians 2:2 "Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:"

In the state of spiritual death, the only walking, or living, a person can do is according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.

"Ye walked" means you lived. The "course of this world". The word course signifies all the tendencies, thoughts, pursuits, deeds and so on, that characterize the present period of history. "This world" (kosmos) means "world system." That is, those philosophies, values, and life styles that are opposed to God and hostile to Him.

As Paul makes clear, the course of this world follows the leadership and design of Satan, the prince of the power of the air. Sinful men have many different ideas and standards, but they are in total agreement that the network of things in this world is more important than the divine perspective of God.

They are of one mind because they have a common leader and lord, the prince of the power of the air. Satan is now "the ruler of this world," and until the Lord casts him out (John 12:31), he will continue to rule. The power (or authority), of the air probably refers to Satan's host of demons who exist in the heavenly sphere.

This world system is characterized by three elements, humanism, materialism and illicit sex. Humanism places man above all else, materialism places high value in physical things. Especially money and sexual perversion dominates modern western society as it has no other societies since the lowest periods of ancient Greece and Rome.

Before conversion the Ephesians used to conduct themselves in accordance with such ungodly values. The prince of the power of the air may be read "the ruler of the kingdom in the air." They also used to live by the dictates and wishes of Satan.

Paul refers to these ideologies that are like fortresses in which people are imprisoned, need to be set free and brought captive to Christ and obedience to the truth.

Before we come to Christ, we are living in sin. The life without Jesus is a life to please the flesh of man. Satan appeals to the flesh of man. All have sinned. We are first of the flesh. We live for pleasing our own self, before we come to Jesus. These Ephesians were no different.

Not all unsaved people are necessarily indwelt at all time by Satan or are demon possessed. But knowingly or unknowingly they are subject to Satan's influence. Because they share his nature of sinfulness and exist in the same sphere of rebellion against God, they respond naturally to his leading and to the influence of his demons. They are on the same spiritual wavelength.

World and air would be almost synonymous, both of them representing a realm or sphere of influence.

1 John 2:15-17 "Love not the world, neither the things [that are] in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." "For all that [is] in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world." "And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever."

Ephesians 2:3 "Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others."

Paul's primary purpose here is not to show how unsaved people now live, though the teaching is valuable for that purpose, but to remind believers how they themselves formerly walked and formerly lived. All of us once lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.

We all had our conversation means "we all conducted ourselves." In contrast to "ye," (in 2:2), which refers to Gentiles. Note the "we" of this verse, which refers to Jews. In essence, Paul admits, "We Jews were no better than you Gentiles, both ethnic groups were sinful." Children of wrath refers to people subject to divine punishment.

Our body of flesh came from the earth and causes us to want to be of the earth. We must crucify our flesh and put the Spirit of God in control of our life. The carnal mind is an enemy of God. The battle that has been raging since Adam and Eve, is the battle for the soul of man.

The flesh wants to control the soul of man. If the flesh wins, then you are not a Christian. The Spirit of God will come and dwell in you, if you become a spirit person. The breath of life is the spirit of mankind. The breath of life within us is of God. He breathed the breath of life into us, and we became a living soul. The soul is like the will of man.

God will not force you to follow Him. We have a choice to choose whom we will follow. The soul of man is the decision maker. The flesh of man, connected with the earth, desires to sin.

The battle comes between the flesh and the spirit over the soul. Which will rule in your life, the spirit or the flesh? Flesh man brings death and hell. Spirit man brings life and that more abundantly. Is there really any choice?

Every believer was once totally lost in the system of the world, the flesh, and the devil, who is the prince over the demons, who are the power of the air. Those are fallen man's three great arenas where he is in a losing battle with spiritual enemies, yet they are enemies with whom, by nature, he is not allied (1 John 2:16).

Rather than all men being children of God, as most of the world likes to think, those who have not received salvation through Jesus Christ are by nature children of wrath (John 3:18). Apart from reconciliation through Christ, every person by nature (through human birth), is the object of God's wrath, his eternal judgment and condemnation.

They are characterized most accurately not only as sons of disobedience but consequently as children of wrath, objects of God's condemning judgment.

In (verses 4-6), "But" begins to disclose God's response to man's sin of (verses 1-3). This divine response is expressed in three main verbs:

(1) God ... hath quickened us. Because they were morally dead in sins, the Lord gave them spiritual life;

(2) And hath raised us up together, that is, God has not allowed these Christians to remain in the grave of their old life with its sinful ways and habits, but He brought them into a new life and demonstration of it; and

(3) God made us sit together in heavenly places, that is, He has brought us into His presence and into an intimate relationship with Himself.

Ephesians 2:4 "But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,"

Salvation is from sin and by love. The two words "but God," show where the initiative was in providing the power of salvation. His great desire is to be rejoined with the creatures He made in His own image and for His own glory. The rebellion and rejection is on man's side.

Salvation for God's glory is by the motivation and power of God's great love. God is intrinsically kind, merciful and loving. And in His love, He reaches out to vile, sinful, rebellious, depraved, destitute, and condemned human beings and offers them salvation and all the eternal blessings it brings. Man's rebellion is therefore not only against God's lordship and law but against His love.

Though greatly offended and sinned against (as depicted in the parable of Matthew 18:23-35), because of God's rich ... mercy and His great love He offered forgiveness and reconciliation to us as He does to every repentant sinner.

Though in their sin and rebellion all men participated in the wickedness of Jesus' crucifixion. God's mercy and love provide a way for them to participate in the righteousness of His crucifixion.

"I know what you are and what you have done," He says; but because of My great love for you, your penalty has been paid. My law's judgment against you has been satisfied, through the work of My Son on your behalf. For His sake, I offer you forgiveness. To come to Me you need only to come to Him."

Not only did He love enough to forgive but also enough to die for the very ones who had offended Him. "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friend" (John 15:13). Compassionate love for those who do not deserve it makes salvation possible.

"Mercy ... love": Salvation is for God's glory by putting on display His boundless mercy and love for those who are spiritually dead because of their sinfulness.

I want to cry, when I see this. Why did He love us? We did not deserve to be loved. His mercy endures forever. This love (agape), is that unconditional love. It is above human love. He loved us in spite of all the wrong in our life. The following familiar verse is the greatest proclamation of love that I know of.

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

While we were yet in sin, God loved us enough to save us. We were headed for total destruction, and God blocked the way, and turned us to life everlasting in His precious Son. God is love. What this was that Jesus did for all of Christendom, is love in action.

Ephesians 2:5 "Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved)"

Above all else, a dead person needs to be made alive. That is what salvation gives, spiritual life. To encourage believers who doubt the power of Christ in their lives, Paul reminds them that if God was powerful and loving enough to give them spiritual life together with Christ, He is certainly able to sustain that life.

The power that raised us out of sin and death and "made us alive" (aorist tense), together with Christ (Romans 6:1-7), is the same power that continues to energize every part of our Christian living (Romans 6:11-13). The "we" may emphasize the linking to the Jew with the Gentile "you" (in verse 1). Both are in sin and may receive mercy to be made alive in Christ.

"We were dead in sins ... Made us alive": Quickened means to make alive. Far more than anything else, a spiritually dead person needs to be made alive by God. Salvation brings spiritual life to the dead. The power that raises believers out of death and makes them alive (Romans 6:1-7), is the same power that energizes every aspect of Christian living (Romans 6:11-13).

In Adam all die, In Jesus Christ all live. Jesus is the Quickening Spirit which brings life everlasting. He is the Resurrection and the Life. Because He lives, we live also. Jesus took our sin upon His body on the cross. Our sin died on the cross.

In the place of our sin, Jesus clothed us in His righteousness washed in His precious blood. We are saved in Jesus, not because we deserve to be saved, but because He loved us. Grace is unmerited favor. Jesus offers this to everyone. It is up to us to accept this free gift from Jesus.

1 Corinthians 15:45 "And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam [was made] a quickening spirit."

When we became Christians, we were no longer alienated from the life of God. We became spiritually alive through union with the death and resurrection of Christ and thereby for the first time became sensitive to God. Paul calls it walking in "newness of life" (Romans 6:8).

For the first time, we could understand spiritual truth and desire spiritual things. Because we now have God's nature, we now can seek godly things, "the things above" rather than "the things that are on earth" (Col. 3:2).

That is what results from being alive together with Christ. "We shall also live with Him (Romans 6:8), says the apostle, and our new life is indistinguishable from His life lived in us (Gal. 2:20). In Christ, we cannot help but be pleasing to God.

Ephesians 2:6 "And hath raised [us] up together, and made [us] sit together in heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus:"

"Raised us up ... seated us with Him": The tense of "raised" and "seated" indicates that these are immediate and direct results of salvation. Not only is the believer dead to sin and alive to righteousness through Christ's resurrection, but he also enjoys his Lord's exaltation and shares in His preeminent glory.

Salvation has a purpose, in regard to us and in regard to God. The most immediate and direct result of salvation is to be raised up with Him, and (to be), seated with Him in the heavenly places. Not only are we dead to sin and alive to righteousness through His resurrection in which we are raised, but we also enjoy His exaltation and share in His preeminent glory.

"In Heavenly Places": The supernatural realm where God reigns. In (3:10 and 6:12), however, it also refers to the supernatural sphere where Satan temporally rules.

This spiritual realm is where believers' blessings are (verse 1:3), their inheritance is (1 Peter 1:4), their affections should be (Col. 3:3), and where they enjoy fellowship with the Lord. It is the realm from which all divine revelation has come and where all praise and petitions go.

We are no longer of this present world or in its sphere of sinfulness and rebellion. We have been rescued from spiritual death and given spiritual life in order to be in Christ Jesus and to be with Him in the heavenly places. Here, as (in 1:3), heavenly places refers to the supernatural sphere where God rules, though (in 6:12), it refers to the supernatural sphere where Satan rules.

The Greek verb behind seated is in the aorist tense and emphasizes the absoluteness of this promise by speaking of it as if it had already fully taken place. Even though we are not yet inheritors of all that God has for us in Christ, to be in the heavenly places is to be in God's domain instead of Satan's. To be in the sphere of spiritual life instead of the sphere of spiritual death.

That is where our blessing are, and where we have fellowship with the Father, the Son, the Holy spirit, and with all the saints who have gone before us and will go after us.

It is finished. Jesus did it all for all who believe in Him. He is seated at the right hand of the Father. If I am in Him, I am seated there too. My spirit soars to heavenly places in Christ Jesus. I can easily relate to John, when he was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day. The door to heaven (Jesus), is open to all who will enter in.

Colossians 3:1-3 "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God." "Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth." "For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God."

Ephesians 2:7 "That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus."

It is not only for our benefit and glory, but God's greater purpose in salvation is for His own sake. In order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. That too, is obviously for our benefit, but it is first of all, for God's, because it displays for all eternity the surpassing riches of His grace (3:10).

Through His endless kindness toward us in Christ Jesus the Father glorifies Himself even as He blesses us. From the moment of salvation throughout the ages to come we never stop receiving the grace and kindness of God.

That he might show (or demonstrate): This denotes the ultimate purpose for all that God did for the Ephesians (in verses 4-6). It is that throughout eternity He might make us understand more and more His goodness to us.

Salvation of course, is very much for the believer's blessing, but it is even more for the purpose of eternally glorifying God for bestowing on believers His endless and limitless grace and kindness. The whole of heaven glorifies Him for what He has done in saving sinners (3:10; Rev. 7:10-12).

Jesus Christ is the mediator.

1 Timothy 2:5 "For [there is] one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;"

Notice in the next verse, that the covenant He mediates is not of the law, but of grace.

Hebrews 8:6-7 "But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises." "For if that first [covenant] had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second."

Our covenant with God (Christians), is one that Jesus sealed with His own blood. It is the free gift of grace.

Ephesians 2:8 "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God:"

Our response in salvation is faith, but even that is not of ourselves (but is), the gift of God. Faith is nothing that we do in our power or by our own resources. In the first place, we do not have adequate power or resources. More than that, God would not want us to rely on them even if we had them. Otherwise salvation would be in part by our own works, and we would have some ground to boast in ourselves. Paul intends to emphasize that even faith is not from us apart from God's giving it.

Some have objected to this interpretation, saying that faith is feminine, while the word "that" is neuter. That poses no problem, as long as it is understood that, "that" does not refer precisely to the noun faith but to the act of believing. Every person lives by faith.

When we open a can of food or drink a glass of water we trust that it is not contaminated. When we go across a bridge we trust it to support us. Life is a constant series of acts of faith. No human being, no matter how skeptical and self-reliant, could live a day without exercising faith.

When we accept the finished work of Christ on our behalf, we act by the faith supplied by God's grace. That is the supreme act of human faith, the act which, though it is ours, is primarily God's, His gift to us out of His grace.

"For" gives the reason for this future demonstration of divine grace. It is because man owes his salvation to this grace or undeserved divine favor. The force of the Greek perfect tense "are ye saved", indicates that the Ephesians were spiritually saved at some point in the past. And at the present time of writing they remain in this state of salvation.

The grammatical gender of the word "that," occurring in the expression "that not of yourselves", is neuter, hence, "that" cannot refer to the preceding "grace" or "faith," both of which are feminine nouns. Nor can it refer to "are ye saved" which is a masculine participle. Instead the neuter "that" refers back and embraces the entire foregoing "grace, are ye saved," and "faith."

This means that no part of salvation is "of yourselves" or due to what we do, the whole of salvation is the gift of God. Man, is saved "by grace", that is by the kindness of God in having Jesus die for our sins. But this grace is appropriated through faith. That is, man believes what God has done for him and relies upon Christ's atonement to blot out his sins and bring him into a proper relationship with God.

"That not of yourselves": "That" refers to the entire previous statement of salvation, not only the grace but the faith. Although men are required to believe for salvation, even that faith is part of the gift of God which saves and cannot be exercised by one's own power. God's grace is preeminent in every aspect of salvation (Romans 3:20; Gal. 2:16).

You cannot earn your way to heaven. Just as any gift, to have it, you must reach out and receive it unto yourself. Faith was counted unto Abraham as righteousness. Our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is what gives us our righteousness in God's sight.

Jesus put us in right standing with God, when He paid our debt in full with His blood at Calvary. We must say, thank you Jesus for dying for me. That is why we are saved. Jesus is our Savior. The gift of God, to all mankind who will accept it, is eternal life in Jesus Christ, our Lord.

The grace of God is the expression of His goodness toward the undeserving. Grace means "unmerited favor", and can be expressed by the acrostic. " G od's R ichesAt C hrist's E xpense." This grace is the basis of our salvation.

Ephesians 2:9: "Not of works, lest any man should boast."

Obviously, if it is true that salvation is all by God's grace, it is therefore not as a result of works. Human effort has nothing to do with it (Romans 3:20; Gal 2:16). And thus, no one should boast, as if he had any part. All boasting is eliminated in salvation. Nevertheless, good works have an important place, as Paul is quick to affirm.

The reason, in part that salvation is not achieved by works is to prevent men from bragging of having earned a place in heaven by themselves.

There is no room for boasting. The only thing we might consider boasting of is the greatness of God and His plan of salvation. Works will not get you to heaven. If we love God, and appreciate what He has done for us, we probably will work for Him, but our work does not save us. It just tells Him we love Him.

Ephesians 2:10 "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."

"For" verifies the assertion of man's good works having no part in obtaining salvation. Workmanship refers not to our original or physical birth, but to our spiritual birth: what we are spiritually in the good sense is due to God, not ourselves.

Before we can do any good work for the Lord, He has to do His good work in us. By God's grace, made effective through our faith, we become His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works. God has ordained that we then live lives of good works, works done in His power and for His glory.

Although they have no part in gaining salvation, good works have a great deal to do with living out salvation. No good works can produce salvation, but many good works are produced by salvation. "By this is My father glorified," Jesus said, "that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples" (John 15:8; read John 15:1-8).

These good works are expected because God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them, and that is why James says faith is illegitimate if works are not present (James 2:17-26).

Created in Christ Jesus unto good works means "having been (morally), recreated by Christ Jesus for good works". That is, Jesus remade our spiritual lives so that we could then do good works. The same power that created us in Christ Jesus empowers us to do the good works for which He has redeemed us. These are the verifiers of true salvation.

The apostle's thinking is this: since the Christian has been given spiritual life for the purpose of doing good works, there could have been no good works by him prior to conversion that would merit salvation. Good works follow, do not precede, salvation.

Good works do not bring discipleship, but they prove it is genuine. When God's people do good deeds they bear fruit for His kingdom and bring glory to His name. Good works cannot produce salvation but are subsequent and resultant God-empowered fruits and evidences of it.

This is the picture then. We are saved by grace and grace alone. The fruit of our salvation shows in our actions after we are saved. As I have said so many times, we must walk in the salvation Jesus provided for us. These works are in Christ Jesus. In the works that you do, the world should be able to see Jesus.

Even Jesus Himself said (in John 14):

John 14:11-12 "Believe me that I [am] in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake." "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater [works] than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father."

Are you fulfilling this Scripture in His own Words?

Matthew 5:16 " Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."

Titus 3:8 "[This is] a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men."

There are many more Scriptures on this. Look up good works in your Strong's Concordance.

"Which God hath before ordained": Like his salvation, a believer's sanctification and good works were ordained before time began (Romans 8:29-30).

Salvation does not come from knowing about the truth of Jesus Christ but from intimately knowing Christ Himself. This coming alive can be accomplished by the power of God because of His love and mercy.

Ephesians Chapter 2 Questions

1. The wages of sin is ________.

2. Why does each day become a little more hopeless, before we are saved?

3. In time past ye walked according to the course of this _______.

4. This spirit now works in the children of ______________.

5. Satan appeals to the ________ of man.

6. Who is "the prince of the power of the air"?

7. What must we do to be saved?

8. He that doeth the will of God abideth __________.

9. We were by nature the __________ of ______.

10. Why does our flesh want to sin?

11. The ________ mind is an enemy of God.

12. What must we become for the Spirit of God to dwell in us?

13. What is the spirit of mankind?

14. Which is the decision maker, the body, spirit, or soul?

15. Love in verse 4 is what kind of love?

16. The author thinks what Scripture is the greatest proclamation of love in the Bible?

17. How do we sit in heavenly places?

18. Who is the door to heaven?

19. What are we to set our affections on?

20. Who is the mediator?

21. The Christian's covenant of God is sealed with what?

22. What causes the Christian to be righteous before the Father?

Ephesians Chapter 2 Continued

Verses 11-12: Gentiles (the "uncircumcision") experienced two types of alienation. The first was social, resulting from the animosity that had existed between Jews and Gentiles for thousands of years. Jews considered Gentiles to be outcasts, objects of derision, and reproach. The second and more significant type of alienation was spiritual, because Gentiles as a people were cut off from God in 5 different ways:

  1. They were "separate from Christ" the Messiah, having no Savior and Deliverer and without divine purpose or destiny.

  2. They were "excluded from the commonwealth of Israel. God's chosen people, the Jews, were a nation whose supreme King and Lord was God Himself, and from whose unique blessing and protection was God Himself, and from whose unique blessing and protection they benefitted.

  3. Gentiles were "strangers to the covenants of promise," not able to partake of God's divine covenants in which He promised to give His people a land, a priesthood, a people, a nation, a kingdom and a king. And to those who believe in Him, eternal life and heaven.

  4. They had "no hope" because they had been given no divine promise.

  5. They were "without God in the world".

While Gentiles had many gods, they did not recognize the true God because they did not want Him.

Converted Jews had difficulty breaking from the ceremonial laws such as Sabbath observance and the eating of unclean animals. Converted Gentiles had difficulty with such things as eating meat that had been offered as a sacrifice to a pagan deity. In many such ways, Jewish and Gentile believers stumbled over their former traditions and beliefs, and in doing so they also stumbled over each other.

What was of extreme importance to one group was inconsequential to the other. In (Ephesians 2:11-22), Paul confronts that problem from two sides. First, he describes the former social and spiritual alienation of Jews and Gentiles, and then he describes their new spiritual unity in Jesus Christ.

The first kind of alienation was social:

Ephesians 2:11 "Wherefore remember, that ye [being] in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;"

Uncircumcision was a derogatory term used by the Jews regarding Gentiles because the latter were uncircumcised. Jews called themselves the Circumcision since they were circumcised. David had called Goliath an "uncircumcised Philistine" (1 Sam. 17:26).

The circumcision are the Jews who thought that they were God's only people. Many of the Jews thought that they would be saved, just because they were the descendants of Abraham. Pertaining to the law, they were circumcised in the flesh. They thought this would make them God's people.

It was not the circumcision of Abraham that put him in right standing with God, but his faith. Abraham, the father of the Jewish people, was saved before he was circumcised (4:9-12).

Circumcision had never been a mark of personal relationship to God, for Jews or anyone else. Paul makes much of that truth (in the book of Romans 2).

Romans 2:28-29 "For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:" "But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

This is speaking of cutting away the earthly desires from the heart. In a man's heart, he believes unto salvation. What our heart is, is what we are.

Paul also takes exception for such Jewish hatred, as evidenced in his choice of words to describe Jews, the so called "Circumcision".

A much more important Gentile alienation was spiritual:

Ephesians 2:12 "That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:"

At that time refers to the readers' pre-Christian life. Commonwealth (or nation), of Israel recalls the concept of ancient Greek city-states, whereby a city or country provided numerous valuable advantages, benefits, and privileges for it citizens, but withheld them from foreigners.

Since the Gentile addressees used to be aliens from the Jewish nation, who were God's people, the Gentiles were without the spiritual blessings given them by God. Without God means not having His help and assistance. This was their spiritual plight before salvation.

Before Christ came, the Jews were the people of promise from God, but the Gentiles as a people were cut off from God in five different ways as is shown at the top of this chapter.

Had the Gentiles accepted the true God, they too could have been a part of that blessed nation. But because they rejected God, they forfeited His national blessing. They had no God blessed community or kingdom and no divine benefactor. They received no special blessing or protection, because they were outside the dominion of God.

The Gentiles were spiritually alienated because they were hopeless, "having no hope". Those who have no Christ, no commonwealth, and no covenants of promise also have no hope. Living without hope of future joy and enrichment, reduces man to a piece of meaningless protoplasm.

Most Gentiles of Paul's day either thought that death ended all existence, or that it released the spirit to wander aimlessly in some nether world throughout the rest of eternity. Death brought only nothingness or everlasting despair.

This describes the whole world, before Jesus came and gave them hope. It especially describes all who were not Jews. The covenant did not cover the non-Jews, until Jesus came. "Now, if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed and heirs according to the promise" (Gal. 3:29).

We who have faith in Jesus are seed of Abraham, because he believed, also. It is our faith that makes us faithful Abraham's seed. There was no hope for the heathen world, until Jesus came and brought us hope.

The problem was not that the Gentiles had no god but that they did not have the true God. They were without God in the world because they did not want Him. The Gentiles rejected God by suppressing the truth about Himself that He had made abundantly evident.

The problem was that, "even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened" (verse 21).

There will never be an end to alienation until Christ returns and by His own power breaks down the barriers of separation. Apart from Christ there not only can be no harmony with God but no harmony among men.

Ephesians 2:13 "But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ."

"Far off": A common term in rabbinical writings used to describe Gentiles, those who were far apart from the true God. Jews considered themselves and their converts to be brought near to God because of their covenant relation to Him and the presence of His Temple in Jerusalem.

"Made nigh or brought near": Every person who trusts in Christ alone for salvation, Jew or Gentile, is brought into spiritual union and intimacy with God.

This is the reconciliation of (2 Cor. 5:18-21). The atoning work accomplished by Christ's death on the cross washes away the penalty of sin and ultimately even its presence.

Because Jews had access to God through His temple in Jerusalem, they were said to be nigh. But Gentile nations, geographically removed from the temple, were said to be far off. These terms of space came to denote moral distance, so that to be "nigh", was to have a proper relationship with God, and to be "far off", was to have an improper relationship with Him.

The blood of Christ Jesus does not just do away with our sin, but literally saves us. It is the blood of Jesus (our Savior), that makes us acceptable to the Father. It was His blood being shed that removed the veil to the holy of holies.

Colossians 1:14 "In whom we have redemption through his blood, [even] the forgiveness of sins:"

1 Peter 1:18-19 "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, [as] silver and gold, from your vain conversation [received] by tradition from your fathers;" "But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:"

The cleansing value of the blood of Christ immediately washes away the penalty of sin and ultimately washes away even its presence. Because in Christ the great foundational barrier of sin has been removed, every other barrier has been removed as well. Those who are one in Christ are one in each other, whether they realize it, or act like it, or not (1 Cor. 6:17).

The purpose of the Lord's Table is to remind us of the sacrifice our Lord made not only to bring us to Himself but also to each other. By removing our sin, Christ gives us peace with each other and access to God.

In verse 14-15, "Who hath made both one:" Jesus has formed the two antagonistic groups of Jew and Gentile into a single new party, the Christian church. He did this by removing the middle wall of partition, that is, the Mosaic Law. The law was meant to protect Jews from pagan corruptions; but by misconstruing the purpose of the law, the Jews felt superior to Gentiles, who were incensed at this arrogance.

Jesus abolished this enmity (hatred), caused by an abuse of the law, by making the law invalid for His church. "Of twain one new man": As above, Christian Jews and Christian Gentiles now compose this "one new man" or Christian church.

Ephesians 2:14 "For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition [between us];"

"He Himself": This emphatically indicates that Jesus alone is the believer's source of peace (Isaiah 9:6). Jesus alone is our peace.

Just as sin is the cause of all conflict and division, it is also the enemy of all peace and harmony. Built into wickedness is the impossibility of peace. Sin is basically selfishness, and selfishness is basically divisive and disruptive. We cannot always have what we want without infringing on what someone else wants or needs. We cannot always have our own way without interfering with someone else's way.

Jesus Christ is the King of Peace. He not only brings peace, but is Peace. When we receive Jesus Christ within us (whether Jew or Gentile), we have the peace of God which passes all understanding.

Peace comes only when self dies, and the only place self truly dies is at the foot of Calvary. "I have been crucified with Christ," Paul said; "and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me" (Gal. 2:20).

In Jesus Christ, a Jew is no longer distinct from a Gentile as far as religion is concerned. Since A.D. 70, when the Temple was destroyed, true religious Judaism ceased to exist. Not only was the place of sacrifice destroyed, but so were all the genealogical records on which priestly descent was based. Likewise, a Gentile in Christ is no longer distinct as far as his spiritual condition is concerned. His paganism is gone, his unbelief is gone, his hopelessness is gone, and his godlessness is gone.

"The barrier of the dividing wall": This alludes to a wall in the temple that portioned off the Court of the Gentiles from the areas accessible only to Jews. Paul referred to that wall as symbolic of the social, religious and spiritual separation that kept Jews and Gentiles apart. Jesus made both groups, Jew (those who were "near"), and Gentiles (those who were "far off"), into one, and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall.

God had originally separated Jews from Gentiles for the purpose of redeeming both groups. He placed the Court of the Gentiles in the Temple for the very purpose of winning Gentiles to Himself. It was meant to be a place for Jewish evangelism of Gentiles, a place for willing proselytes to Judaism and of thereby bringing them "near."

In this church of Ephesus, both Jew and Gentile had given their heart to Jesus. They were one in Him. Jesus is the focal point upon which all of us, whatever denomination, must center on. He is the hub of the wheel, and each of us are spokes. We all are connected to Him, if we are Christians.

We draw our strength and power from Him. Of course, we all know that Jesus tore the veil in the temple from the top to the bottom when He gave His body on the cross. The veil in the temple was symbolic of the flesh of Jesus. He opened the way for whosoever will into the very presence of the Father.

It matters not whether we are Jew or Gentile. We are one in Him. He is our Peace.

Ephesians 2:15 "Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, [even] the law of commandments [contained] in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, [so] making peace;"

Christ forever broke down (the Greek aorist tense signifies completed action), every dividing wall by; "abolished in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances". When Jesus died on the cross He abolished every barrier between man and God and between man and his fellow man.

The greatest barrier between Jew and Gentile was the ceremonial law, "The law of commandments contained in ordinances. The feasts, sacrifices, offerings, laws of cleanliness and purification, and all other such distinctive outward commandments for the unique separation of Israel from the nations were abolished.

"Abolishing in His flesh the enmity": Through His death, Christ abolished Old Testament ceremonial laws, feasts, and sacrifices which uniquely separated Jews from Gentiles. God's moral law, as summarized in the Ten Commandments and written on the hearts of all men (Romans 2:15), was not abolished but subsumed in the New Covenant. However, because it reflects His own holy nature (read Matthew 5:17-19).

"One New man": Christ does not exclude anyone who comes to Him, and those who are His are not spiritually distinct from one another. "New" translates a Greek word that refers to something completely unlike what it was before. It refers to being different in kind and quality. Spiritually, a new person in Christ is no longer Jew or Gentile, only Christian (Rom. 10:12-13; Gal. 3:28).

Jesus summarized God's moral law still further by declaring, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you" (John 13:34). The 10 commandments, like all of God's moral laws, are but the structured and particularized love that God still requires (James 2:8).

Jesus fulfilled the law of commandments in His body on the cross. He paid the debt of the ordinances in full for all of mankind in His body. He is our Sacrifice. He is our Way. He is our Truth. He is our Life. The way to heaven is in Jesus. It does not matter whether you are black or white, young or old, male or female. The only way is in Him.

The new person in Christ is not simply a Jew or Gentile who now happens to be a Christian. He is no longer a Jew or Gentile but only a Christian. Every other characteristic is "former" (see verse 11).

Paul summed it up when he said "For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call upon Him; for "Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved" (Romans 10:12-13)

When we receive Jesus, we are a new creature in Christ. Our old self has vanished away. Our prejudices vanished with self. Now we live by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 8:3 "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:"

Ephesians 2:16 "And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:"

"Reconcile them both ... to God": As Jews and Gentiles are brought to God through Christ Jesus, they are brought together with each other. This was accomplished by the cross where Jesus became a curse (Gal 3:10-13), taking God's wrath so that divine justice was satisfied and reconciliation with God became a reality.

There would be no longer special privileges to one race of people. God is the Father of them all. We all, Jew and Gentile, make up the family of God. When we become believers in Christ, we are brothers and sisters with all other believers no matter what the race. The separation is over, we are sons of God.

Romans 8:14 "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God."

The Spirit of the Risen Christ dwells within us if we are believers in Christ.

1 John 3:1 "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not."

The cross is God's answer to Judaizing, racial discrimination, segregation, apartheid, anti-Semitism, bigotry, war, and every other cause and result of human strife. This is the great mystery of (Ephesians).

Eph. 3:6, "that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

Ephesians 2:17 "And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh."

"Preached peace": The Greek word for "preached" literally means "to bring or announce good news." And in the New Testament is almost always used of proclaiming the good news that sinners can be reconciled to God by the salvation which is through Jesus Christ. In this context, Christ, the One who "Himself is our peace" (verse 14), also announced the good news of peace.

"Far off, and ... nigh": That is to Gentiles and Jews alike.

Jesus' main mission upon this earth was to reconcile man to God. He preached the good news of the Gospel to all who would hear. Only the love of God can bring peace to mankind then or now. Man had lived in terror of God. Jesus taught the love of God.

Romans 5:1 "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:"

Among His last words to His disciples were, "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace" (John 16:33). The ministry of the apostles and others preachers of the early church was characterized by "preaching peace through Jesus Christ" (Acts 10:36).

Ephesians 2:18 "For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father."

"Access in one Spirit to the Father": No sinner has any right or worthiness in himself for access to God, but believers have been granted that right through faith in Christ's sacrificial death (3:12; Romans 5:2). The resources of the Trinity belong to believers the moment they receive Christ, and the Holy Spirit presents them before the heavenly throne of God the Father, where they are welcome to come with boldness at any time.

"Him", in this verse is Jesus Christ. The Spirit is the Holy Spirit. The Father is, of course, Father God. We see the action of Father, Son (Word), and Holy Ghost here. The Gentile and the Jew had no way to reach the Father directly, before Jesus opened the way for us. Our Mediator is Jesus Christ and Him alone.

Matthew 28:19 "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:"

John 14:6 "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."

1 Corinthians 12:13 "For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether [we be] Jews or Gentiles, whether [we be] bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit."

When we have Jesus Christ (Him), we also have access by the Spirit to the Father. The resources of the entire Trinity are ours the moment we receive Christ. The only access into God's presence, the only door into the sheepfold of His kingdom, is through His Son. We can always "draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need" (Heb. 4:16).

Christians can now come to God as their own Father, knowing that He no longer judges or condemns but only forgives and blesses. Even His discipline is an act of love, given to cleanse and restore His precious children to purity and spiritual richness.

In verses 19-20, "Now therefore" draws a conclusion (for verses 14-18): Christian Gentiles are no longer alienated from God, but now enjoy the same intimate relationship with Him and the same spiritual blessings as do Christian Jews. Three figures express this unity and equality existing between believing Jews and Gentiles.

1. A city: This figure comes from the Greek city-state political concept whereby all inhabitants of a particular city-state were fellow-citizens enjoying the same privileges.

2. A family: Since Gentiles have been reconciled to God (verse 16), and to His people (verse 15), they are now members of the household of God, that is, children of the divine family.

3. A building: Believing Jews and Gentiles are part of the same divine structure, the church. The church's foundation is composed of the apostles and prophets, its chief corner stone is Christ, and its superstructure is composed of Christians. Oriental architecture placed greater importance on the cornerstone than on the foundation, for it connected the walls and concentrated the weight of the building on itself, thus bonding and holding together the whole structure.

Ephesians 2:19 "Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God;"

Paul closes his discussion of the marvelous unity of the Body of Christ by giving three metaphors to illustrate it.

"Fellow citizens with the saints": God's kingdom is made up of the people from all time who have trusted in Him. There are no strangers, foreigners or second class citizens there (Phil. 3:20). Both have become part of the same kingdom. Paul shows how all believers are one spiritual family in Christ.

"Of God's household": Redeemed sinners not only become heavenly citizens but also members of God's own family. The Father bestows on believers the same infinite love He gives His Son. All believers are together a habitation for God.

The Gentiles had no opportunity to know God, until the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The law was limited to just a very few people, but Christianity was offered to all who would believe. Look at the following Scripture and see who is in the family of God.

Mark 3:35 "For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother."

Look, with me once more, who can receive the water of life freely.

Revelation 22:17 "And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely."

The next Scripture will show that the Gentiles were far off, but belief in Jesus brought them in, too.

Ephesians 2:13 "But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ."

As if being members of His divine kingdom were not enough, God's gracious work in Christ draws us even closer and makes us members of God's household. Because we have identified ourselves with His Son by faith, God now sees us and treats us exactly as He sees and treats His Son, with infinite love.

Heavenly citizenship and family membership are not distinct roles or positions but simply different views of the same reality, because every kingdom citizen is a family member and every family member is a kingdom citizen.

If believers have no distinctions before God, they should have no distinctions among themselves. We are fellow citizens and fellow family members, equal in every spiritual way before God. If God accepts each one of us, how can we not accept each other?

Ephesians 2:20 "And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner [stone];"

"The foundation of the apostle and prophets": As important as they were, it was not them personally, but the divine revelation they taught, (which in its written form is the New Testament), as they authoritatively spoke the word of God to the church before the completion of the New Testament, that provided the foundation (Romans 15:20).

Because the Greek genitive case appears to be used in the subjective sense, signifying the originating agency, the meaning is not that the apostles and prophets were themselves the foundation, though in a certain sense they were, but that they laid the foundation. Paul spoke of himself as "a wise master builder" who "laid a foundation" and went on to say: "For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ".

The unique function of these New Testament prophets was to authoritatively speak the word of God to the church in the years before the New Testament canon was complete. The fact that they are identified with the foundation reveals that they were limited to that formative period. As (4:11) show, they completed their work and gave way to "evangelist, and ... pastors and teachers."

"Corner stone": This stone set the foundation and squared the building. The corner stone of the foundation is Christ Jesus Himself (see Isaiah 28:16; Psalms 118:22; Matthew 21:42 and Acts 4:11). A cornerstone was the major structural part of ancient buildings.

It had to be strong enough to support what was built on it, and it had to be precisely laid, because every other part of the structure was oriented to it. That is what Jesus Christ is to God's kingdom, God's family and God's building.

The stone that the builders rejected was Jesus Christ. He became the Cornerstone, and we are the lively stones that build upon that cornerstone.

1 Peter 2:5 "Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ."

The apostles and prophets have laid the foundation for this building. Jesus is the cornerstone. We Christians are building this spiritual temple (house).

By Isaiah God declared, "Behold I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, a costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed" (Isa. 28:16).

After quoting that passage, Peter says, "This precious value then, is for you who believe ... you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession" (1 Peter 2:7, 9).

Ephesians 2:21 "In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto a holy temple in the Lord:"

This verse refers to the careful joining of every component of a piece of furniture, wall, building, or other structure. Every part is precisely cut to fit snugly, strongly and beautifully with every other part. Nothing is out of place, defective, misshapen or inappropriate. Because it is Christ's building, the church is perfect, spotless, without defect or blemish. And that is how He will one day present the church, His own holy temple, to Himself (Eph. 5:27).

"A holy temple in the Lord": Every new believer is a new stone in Christ's temple, the church, Christ's body of believers. Christ's building of His church will not be complete until every person who will believe in Him has done so (2 Peter 3:9).

Paraphrased, this verse would read, "By whom the whole building, being carefully and harmoniously joined together, rises into a holy temple for the Lord."

Christ's body however, will not be complete until every person who will believe in Him has done so. Every new believer is a new stone in Christ's building, His holy temple. Thus, Paul says the temple is growing because believers are continually being added.

"Fitly framed together is translated above as "being carefully and harmoniously joined together." This implies the harmonious blending of the Jewish and Gentile believers in the church.

The "whom" here, of course, is Christ. The apostle Paul is trying to make these Ephesians understand that each Christian (whether Jew or Gentile), framed together make up the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is the cornerstone that brings the building together.

The church is made up of many members. Those members have one head (Jesus Christ). We are to grow into the temple holy, acceptable unto God. The church that Jesus is the head of is righteous, because we have taken on the righteousness of Christ. We are in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 2:22 "In whom ye also are builded together for a habitation of God through the Spirit."

"A dwelling of God in the Spirit": The term for "dwelling", connotes a permanent home. God the Holy Spirit takes up permanent residence in His earthly sanctuary, the church, the vast spiritual body of all the redeemed (1 Cor. 6:19-20; 2 Cor. 6:16).

"Ye also" in Greek is emphatic. It stresses that Christian Gentiles, as well as their Jewish counterparts, are part of the church. Christians are viewed as a habitation or dwelling place in which God lives through His Holy Spirit.

The church of the Lord Jesus Christ is the habitation of God. We Christians are the church of God. We are the habitation of God on this earth.

Revelation 21:3 "And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God [is] with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, [and be] their God."

John 14:17 "[Even] the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you."

Through the blood, the suffering flesh, the cross, and the death of the Lord Jesus Christ, aliens become citizens, strangers become family, idolaters become the temple of the true God, the hopeless inherit the promises of God. Those without Christ become one in Christ, those far off are brought near, and the godless are reconciled to God. Therein is the reconciliation of men to God and of men to men.

Ephesians Chapter 2 Continued Question

1. What was Paul telling them to remember in verse 11?

2. Who were the circumcision?

3. What were the Jews depending upon to save them?

4. What put Abraham in right standing with God?

5. What is a man really?

6. The Gentiles were aliens from the ________________ of Israel.

7. Now, if ye be Christ's you are Abraham's ______ and ______ according to the promise.

8. Now, in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the ______ of _______.

9. What makes us acceptable to the Father?

10. We were redeemed with what?

11. Who is King of Peace?

12. Who is the focal point of all believers?

13. What did the torn veil in the temple symbolize?

14. What does verse 15 say, Jesus abolished?

15. Name several things that Jesus is for each Christian.

16. Who makes up the family of God?

17. Who are the sons of God?

18. Why does the world not know the believer?

19. Who did Jesus preach the good news of the gospel to?

20. We have peace with God through our _____ _______ _______.

21. Who is our Mediator?

22. Who built the foundation?

23. Who is the Chief Cornerstone?

24. What kind of stones are the Christians called?

25. All the building fitly framed together groweth unto an _____ _______in the Lord.

26. What is the habitation of God?

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Ephesians 3

Ephesians Chapter 3

The primary reemphasis is on the great mystery now revealed by God that Gentiles and Jews are one in Christ and that there is no longer any distinction. The revelation of the mystery is discussed (in verses 1-3), the explanation of it (in verses 4-6), the proclamation of it (in verses 7-9), and finally the intention of it (in verses 10-13).

To be specific, he says (in verse 6), the sacred secret never before revealed is that "the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel." That verse is essentially a summary of (2:11-22).

In (3:1-13), the apostle leads us to focus on five aspects of this divine mystery: its prisoner, its plan, its preaching, its purpose and its privileges.

Ephesians 3:1 "For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,"

The writer begins his second prayer in behalf of the readers. "For this cause" indicates the reason for his prayer; this expression refers to their being part of the church, which is "a habitation of God" (2:22). Since God lives in the recipients, Paul prays for them. "I Paul": from this point the apostle's prayer is side-tracked until its resumption (in verse 14).

Before beginning his prayer, Paul decided to go over again some of those truths which prompted it, emphasizing their divine source. The apostle knew the value of repetition in teaching and the importance of establishing authority when teaching such new and non-traditional doctrine.

We none understand a truth fully when we first hear it. God's truths are so marvelous and vast that we will never comprehend them fully in this life, no matter how many times we hear and study them.

This digression reveals Paul's own divinely appointed part in disclosing the enormous truth explained (in 2:11-22), that Gentile believers now stand on equal footing with their Jewish brethren in God's family.

The prisoner of Jesus may be read "a prisoner because of Jesus." Paul's imprisonment is due to the Lord's work; it is not due to any wrongdoing on his part.

Although Paul had been a prisoner for about two years in Caesarea and two years in Rome, he did not consider himself to be a prisoner of any government or person. Rather, he knew he was under Christ's control, and every aspect of his life was in the Lord's hands. He suffered imprisonment for preaching to Gentiles (see 2 Cor. 4:8-15).

For the cause of the Gentiles being offered Christianity is possibly what Paul is speaking of here. Paul really would rather have brought his message to the Jews, but the Lord had sent him to the Gentiles.

The reason the Lord chose him to bring the message to the Gentiles could have been because he had been a Pharisee. The fact that he was ministering to the Gentiles, would show the great change that had come when he received the Lord Jesus into his life.

From (verses 2-13), in this parenthetical passage, Paul interrupted the thought begun in verse 1 to reemphasize and to expand upon the truths he had just written. He was compelled to affirm his authority for teaching the oneness of Jew and Gentile in Christ (verses 2-7), a new and far reaching truth that most of the Ephesians doubtless found difficult to comprehend or accept.

Ephesians 3:2 "If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:"

On man's part the continuing requirement is obedience to the revelation of God. This obedience is a (dispensation), or stewardship of faith.

"Stewardship ... given me": "Stewardship" here means an administration or management. Paul did not choose the stewardship of his apostleship or ministry. God had sovereignly commissioned him with the calling, spiritual gifts, opportunities, knowledge and authority to minister as the apostle to the Gentiles.

"The dispensation of the grace of God" means "the provision consisting of God's grace." This refers to the divine ability given Paul which enabled him to successfully execute his apostolic ministry to the Gentiles.

Every believer is a steward of the calling, spiritual gifts, opportunities, skills, knowledge, and every other blessing he has from the Lord. Everything we have belongs to the Lord, and we are therefore entrusted as stewards to manage our lives and everything we possess in behalf of the One to whom they belong.

We are faithful stewards when we use what we have, to minister to those within the family of God and witness to those who are without. "As each one has received a special gift," Peter admonishes us, "employ it in serving one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God" (1 Peter 4:10).

"Dispensation", in the verse above, means administration. The job of bringing the message of grace to the Gentiles had been given to Paul by the Lord Jesus.

Acts 9:15 "But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:"

In the beginning when Paul had founded the church at Ephesus, they heard that God had called him to bring the gospel message to the Gentiles primarily and to all men as convenience arose. This was, in a sense, Paul's converts and he felt responsible for them knowing the truth.

Ephesians 3:3 "How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,"

"As I wrote afore in few words" refers to (1:9-10 and 2:11-22), where the author only touched on "the mystery" which God had "made known" to him. In the most general of terms (1:9-10), identifies this "mystery" as the establishing of a new humanity under the headship of Christ. A bit more specifically. (2:11-22) defines it as the inclusion of Gentile Christians along with Jewish Christians in God's family. But (3:6), will spell out with even more precision exactly what this mystery entails.

As we said above, Paul did not learn the good news of the gospel in the school he attended under Gamaliel. His knowledge of the good news of Jesus had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit of God, while he spent 3 years in the Arabian Desert seeking truth of God.

Paul would never have sought for the truth about Jesus, had he not encountered the great Light on the road to Damascus. The writing in a few words was earlier in this letter to Ephesians.

Ephesians 3:4 "Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)"

It was Paul's intention not simply to declare the mystery but to explain and clarify it. When Ephesian believers, and every subsequent believer, would read his explanations (here stated as an assumed part of Christian living), Paul's hope was that they would come to understand his God-given insight into the mystery of Christ.

There were many truths hidden and later revealed in the New Testament that are called mysteries. Here is one: Jew and Gentile brought together in one body in the Messiah. Paul not only wrote of the mystery that, in Christ Jew and Gentile become one in God's sight and in His kingdom and family, but also explained and clarified that truth. He realized that spiritual knowledge must precede practical application. What is not properly understood cannot be properly applied.

Paul had just casually mentioned it before, and now he will go into greater detail about his encounter with Jesus Christ and with his subsequent study through the teaching by the Holy Spirit.

Some of the things, pertaining to Jews and the Gentiles, had to be unlearned of Paul, because in the law, the Jews thought of all Gentiles as unclean heathen people.

Ephesians 3:5 "Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;"

"In other ages was not made known": Though God had promised universal blessing through Abraham (Genesis 12:3), the full meaning of that promise became clear when Paul wrote (Gal. 3:28).

(Isaiah 49:6), predicted salvation to all races, but it was Paul who wrote of the fulfillment of that pledge (Acts. 13:46-47).

Paul disclosed a truth that not even the greatest prophets understood, that within the church, composed of all the saved since Pentecost in one united body, there would be no racial, social, or spiritual distinctions.

That the divine blessings of salvation would be extended to the Gentiles was made known from (Genesis 12:3) onward. That Gentiles could be saved, therefore, was no secret. But a mystery "not made known" in Old Testament times was the incorporation of Jewish and Gentile believers alike as fellow members of the body of Christ. This secret is "now revealed unto his holy apostles and" (Christian), "prophets."

The other ages that Paul is speaking of, is pertaining to the days of the Old Testament. The Law of Moses was full of ordinances and sacrifices, but offered very little personal fellowship with the Lord. Christianity is so different from the law. The law was fulfilled in Jesus and the Christians are no longer under the regulations the law put upon them.

The "sons of men" refer to mankind in general, not just to God's chosen people, Israel. Before the church age no person, not even the greatest of God's prophets, had anything but a glimpse of the truth that Paul now discloses. The Old Testament teachings that relate to this mystery can only be understood clearly in light of New Testament revelation.

Man could not truly understand the things of God. To speak of a person as a son of man, means that he is a flesh man. Jesus paid our debt for us and we Christians have been adopted into the family of God. We are not any longer sons of men; we are sons of God. Sons of God are following the Spirit of God, not the flesh of man.

No one knew the full meaning of God's promise to Abraham that "in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed" (Gen. 12:3), until Paul wrote, "And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, "All the nations shall be blessed in you" (Gal. 3:8).

No one knew the full meaning of Isaiah's prediction, "I will also make You a light of the nations so that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth" (Isa. 49:6). Until it was explained by Paul to mean the offering of the gospel of Jesus Christ (the Messiah), to the Gentiles as well as the Jews (Acts 13:46-47).

The clues they had in the Old Testament were a mystery to them because too much information was lacking. That is why Jews in the early church, even the apostle Peter (see Acts 10), had such a difficult time accepting Gentile believers as being completely on the same spiritual level as Jews.

And that is why Paul was concerned in this letter to the Ephesians to state and restate, to explain and explain again, that great truth.

Ephesians 3:6 "That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:"

As mentioned before, it is difficult for us to realize how incredibly revolutionary that truth was to Jews of Paul's day. In spite of the fact that the Old Testament teaches that Gentiles will be blessed by God (Gen. 12:3; 22:18; 26:4; 28:14). That Gentiles will bless God (Psalm 72). That the Messiah will come to the Gentiles (Isa. 11:10; 49:6; 54:1-3; 60:1-3). That they will be saved by the Messiah (Hos. 1:10; Amos 9:11). And that they will receive the Holy Spirit (Joel 2:28-29).

The idea of including Gentiles in one body with Jews was the spiritual equivalent of saying that lepers were no longer to be isolated, that they were now perfectly free to intermingle and associate with everyone else as normal members of society.

The "mystery" of (verse 3), that has just been divinely disclosed (verse 5), is now explicitly defined. It is "that the Gentiles" are to be "fellow heirs," that is they now enjoy equal share in a heavenly inheritance to which they, unlike the Jews, had no right by birth. And they are "of the same body" as fellow members. That is, Gentiles have been incorporated into the divine family on the same equal footing before God.

They are just as intimately related to the Lord and just as much loved by Him as are their Jewish brethren. And they are "partakers of his promise;" that is, they are fellow partakers of covenant promises from which they were formerly excluded (2:12).

In a word then, the "mystery" is that of Gentile Christians standing on the same even ground of grace before God and of their being equally included in the body of Christ (the church), along with Christian Jews.

All believers in Christ are heirs with Christ.

Romans 8:17 "And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with [him], that we may be also glorified together."

The promises were made to Abraham and his seed.

Galatians 3:29 "And if ye [be] Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."

All Christians, regardless of their status or position before being saved, are now fellow partakers of everything that pertains to Christ through the gospel, which is everything that pertains to Christ.

The catch to all of this is do you belong to Christ? It does not matter whether you are male or female, old or young, or whether you are black or white. The thing that matters is, have you given yourself to Christ? If you do, then you inherit the same promise of faithful Abraham.

Being in Christ through acceptance of the gospel is what creates among believers their perfect and absolutely new society. There can never be true oneness apart from that reality. And there can never be practical unity in the church until Christians realize and live by the positional unity they already have in Christ, their one Lord and Savior.

Ephesians 3:7 "Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power."

No man can make himself a minister (literal servant) of God, because the calling, message, work and empowering of genuine ministry to and for God are His prerogative alone to give (see Acts 26:16; 1 Cor. 15:10; Col. 1:23, 25, 29).

Minister is from diakonos, the basic meaning of which is servant. In particular, a servant who waits on tables. It later came to refer to servants in general. By definition, a servant is one who acts on the commands of others, who recognizes and submits to a higher power. His primary responsibility is to do what he is told to do.

Notice, that Paul did not make himself a minister. He was called of God for the purpose of ministering to the Gentiles. Paul is very aware that the grace of God given to him was not because of his deeds, because he had actually been persecuting the Christians when God called him.

1 Corinthians 15:10 "But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with Me".

It was not Paul's education, natural abilities, experience, power, personality, influence, or any other such thing that qualified him to be a minister of Jesus Christ. He was made an apostle, a preacher and a servant by the will and power of His Lord. He felt unworthy of any reward, as if he had sought sacrificially to serve in this way.

Not many of us see the same type of dramatic thing that Paul did. God stopped him in his tracks, and set him on a totally new path. The power of God that was so evident in Paul's call was the extremely bright Light that Paul saw. It blinded him for three days and then he received his physical and spiritual sight as a gift from God.

This encounter with the Light (Jesus Christ), transformed Paul from a prejudiced Pharisee to a believing Christian.

Any person in the ministry of the church whom God has not appointed is a usurper. No matter how seemingly good his intentions, he can do nothing but harm to the work of the Lord and to the Lord's people.

Then or now, the man who is genuinely called by God is in constant danger of losing his effectiveness by coming to think of himself as more that a servant. When he loses his sense of servant hood, at that same time he loses his spiritual power and usefulness.

When he exalts himself and begins to work in his own human power and according to his own plans, he competes with God and forfeits his spiritual power. To lose dependence is to lose everything, because everything that is of any value in our lives, including power for effective service, comes only from the Lord.

Ephesians 3:8 "Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;"

Though an apostle and a specially chosen minister of the mysteries of the gospel, Paul considered himself "the very least of all the saints." The term "least" is a comparative, indicating less than the least. That was not mock humility, but his honest assessment of himself. In light of God's perfect righteousness, Paul's assessment of himself was not false humility but simple honesty. He knew his unworthiness.

This shows just how humble this proud Pharisee had become. He believes that he is not less than just the apostles, but all the believers who accepted Jesus without question. He had not believed in the beginning. He is questioning why God would choose someone like him, who had not believed in the beginning for such a large task as this.

Paul is saying, that this is not through his own ability he brings this message of the unsearchable riches of Christ. It is Christ in him that is bringing this message to them. Paul is the mouth that God is speaking to them through. This is what makes Paul such a good teacher. It is Christ bringing the message through him.

To the end of his life he considered himself the foremost of sinners (1 Tim. 1:15).

"The unsearchable riches of Christ": All God's truths, all His blessings, all that He is and has. The purpose of every preacher is to declare those riches, to tell believers how rich they are in Christ. That is why it is so important for Christians to understand the greatness of their position in the Lord.

Simply knowing about the riches of Christ is not enough, however. When we fall into sin and disobedience we forfeit the present blessing of those riches, just as did the fleshly, disobedient Corinthian believers. Like the Laodiceans, they thought they were rich and in need of nothing, not realizing that they were really "wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked" (Rev. 3:17).

We learned in a previous lesson that Paul was like an ambassador. An ambassador brings the message of the one who sent him, not his own message.

Ephesians 3:9 "And to make all [men] see what [is] the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:"

Paul is saying, in effect, "I am not only called in the vertical area to preach the unfathomable riches of Christ, but in the horizontal area to teach about the administration, the stewardship or dispensation, of the mystery of the church age." The first area deals with our relationship to God and the second with our daily living and our ministry to each other as fellow believers.

The verse is better read, "And to reveal what is the plan (arrangement), of the mystery, for it has been hidden for ages by God who created all things." The two reasons for which God gave Paul this grace ("ability") are;

(1) to preach the gospel to Gentiles (verse 8) and;

(2) to disclose God's plan for implementing the Jew-Gentile mystery in human history.

This message had been concealed for many years, until the time of the cross. The mystery of the fellowship, to me, is the fact that God would even want to fellowship with sinful man. This was God's plan from the beginning. He made man that He might fellowship with him as a Father does with a son.

Jesus created all things. Jesus' name, at the time He created all things, was the Word of God.

John 1:1-3 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." "The same was in the beginning with God." "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made."

He took on the name Jesus, when He came to the world to save mankind. Paul, in speaking to these people, knew they all believed that the Word of God created everything. His concern was that they realize that Jesus was the Word of God.

Ephesians 3:10 "To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly [places] might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,"

"Principalities ... Powers": Angels, both holy and unholy. God through the church manifest His glory to all the angels. The holy angels rejoice (see Luke 15:10; 1 Peter 1:12), because they are involved with the church. In heavenly places refers to the entire realm of spiritual beings.

Angels are also spoken of in such terms (in Eph. 1:21 and Col. 1:16).

In (Ephesians 6:12), Paul uses similar words regarding fallen angels. God has brought the church into being for the purpose of manifesting His great wisdom before the angels, both holy and unholy.

The New Testament emphasis is on the holy angels' concern with the church, but it is obvious that the fallen angels can also to some extent see what is going on, though they have no desire or capacity for praise.

Paul's disclosure of this mystery teaches angels ("principalities and powers in heavenly places"), of God's wisdom.

This is speaking to the end that those who God has given limited authority to in the heavenlies were not really aware of this, until Jesus was victorious on the cross. Lucifer, the old devil, really thought that the cross was defeat for Jesus, when, in fact, it was His greatest victory. The church of course, is the believers in Christ.

Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to the believers to teach us all things. Jesus said Himself, that He had not hidden things from those who believe. The Holy Spirit of God opens our understanding to the things of God.

Matthew 11:25-27 "At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes." "Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight." "All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and [he] to whomsoever the Son will reveal [him]."

The worldly people have eyes to see, but they do not see, because their understanding has not been opened. The wisdom of God is so far above the normal understanding that even the angels in heaven did not understand, until it was revealed to them by God.

Ephesians 3:11 "According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:"

Paul continues to explain that everything God has ever done, has had the ultimate purpose of giving Himself glory. As Paul declares elsewhere, "there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things, and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him" (1 Cor. 8:6). And "All things have been created by Him and for Him" (1 Col. 1:16).

The church does not exist simply for the purpose of saving souls, though that is a marvelous and important work. The supreme purpose of the church, as Paul makes explicit here, is to glorify God by manifesting His wisdom before the angels, who can then offer greater praise to God. The purpose of the universe is to give glory to God, and that will be its ultimate reality after all evil is conquered and destroyed.

The holy angels not only are interested in the salvation of men (1 Peter 1:12), but constantly watch the face of God in heaven to see His reaction to the treatment of His saved earthly children (Matthew 18:10, 14), standing ready to carry out any mission in their behalf.

In the classroom of God's universe, He is the Teacher, the angels are the students, the church is the illustration, and the subject is the manifold wisdom of God.

God is not like man that He should be influenced by circumstances. Salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord was part of the eternal plan of God. This was all decided by God, even before He made man. His purpose was the salvation of man.

It was always the plan for Jesus to save His people who believed in Him, by giving Himself as sacrifice for them. We are just as if we had never sinned, because of the blood that Jesus shed to pay our debt to God in full. The law was fulfilled totally in this.

There was nothing left for us to sacrifice. He paid it all when He took our sin on His body, and He became our substitute. Salvation for all mankind is in the Lord Jesus Christ. There is salvation in no other.

Ephesians 3:12 "In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him."

When we put our faith in Jesus Christ we can freely come to God and share in all of heaven's unfathomable riches. In Judaism, only the high priest could enter the presence of God in the Holy of Holies, and that but briefly once a year on the Day of Atonement. For anyone else to come into God's presence meant instant death.

But now, Paul says, every person who comes to Christ in faith can come before God at any time and with boldness and confident access. That is the privilege within the mystery of the church.

Heb. 4:15-16: "For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need".

We are not to be flippant or irreverent but are to come to the Lord with an honest, open heart, in freedom of speech and freedom of spirit. Confident access is trust that knows no fear of rejection, because we belong to Him (1 Tim. 3:13).

"Access with confidence": Every person who comes to Christ in faith can come before God at any time, not in self-confidence but in Christ-confidence.

This verse affirms that Christians "have boldness" (freedom of speech before God), "and access" (the right of entering His presence"), "with confidence" (assurance of being heard by God), "by the faith of him" (through relying upon Christ to gain God's ear).

The veil of the temple was rent from the top to the bottom at the moment Jesus cried out, "it is finished" while on the cross. This signified that Jesus had opened the way to the Father for all who would believe. Jesus is the Way. No man cometh to the Father, but by Him. He is the door that we must walk through on our way to the Father.

The door in heaven is now open to all the Christians. We can boldly go to the throne of God, knowing that we are in right standing with God, because we are washed in the blood of the Lord Jesus. We now pray directly to the Father in the name of Jesus Christ.

We Christians are now the sons of God. We have been purchased with the precious blood of Jesus. We are even allowed to use the special endearing name for the Father "Abba". Only His children call Him by that name.

Romans 8:15 "For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father."

Ephesians Chapter 3 Questions

1. What did Paul call himself in verse 1?

2. What specifically was the cause Paul is speaking of in verse 1?

3. Was Paul a messenger to the Gentiles by his own choice?

4. What would the fact that Paul was called to minister to the Gentiles show?

5. What does "dispensation" in verse 2 mean?

6. Why did Paul feel responsible for the church at Ephesus?

7. How had God let Paul know about the mystery?

8. How long did Paul spend in the Arabian desert being taught of the Holy Spirit of God?

9. What caused the turn around in Paul's life?

10. The Jews had thought of the Gentiles as _________ ____________.

11. What are the other ages spoken of in verse 5?

12. The sons of men could not truly understand the things of ____.

13. The sons of God were taught of the ______ ___ _____.

14. Who are heirs with Christ?

15. Where do we find the Scripture that tells us that?

16. Who made Paul a minister?

17. What was the power in Paul's ministry?

18. When did Paul receive his sight again?

19. Describe the sight that was restored to Paul.

20. The Light of Jesus transformed Paul from a __________ _______ to a believing Christian.

21. Why had Paul said, that he was least of all the saints?

22. What does verse 8 tell us that Paul preached?

23. What does verse 8 show us about Paul?

24. When was this mystery revealed?

25. What kind of fellowship did God want with man?

26. Who created all things?

27. Was everyone in heaven aware of the plan of salvation, before it happened?

28. What was the eternal plan for man's salvation?

29. What gives us the authority to pray directly to the Father?

30. What special name can only the children of God call Him?

Ephesians Chapter 3 Continued

Ephesians 3:13 "Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory."

Paul says, "I ask you not to lose heart at my tribulations on your behalf, for they are your glory." Apparently, many believers grieved over Paul's extended years of imprisonment and over the almost continual suffering he endured because of his ministry. Paul's suffering turned out for the honor rather than the disgrace of those to whom he ministered (Phil. 1:12).

"Which is your glory": God will use Paul's "tribulations" and sufferings in the ministry to spiritually benefit his recipients. Such edification will then bring about glory on their part in that they praise and honor God.

We learned in the last lesson, that Paul was called of God to minister to the Gentiles particularly. Paul had suffered much tribulation to bring the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ to these people. Paul does not mention that to get their sympathy, however.

He does not want them to suffer pain, because of the troubles and trials that he had faced to bring them the gospel. Paul was explaining to them that they might not be asked to suffer in the same way, and not to let this trouble them.

Paul counted it a pleasure to suffer for Christ. He received glory for this and felt that his glory blessed them, as well.

Ephesians 3:14 "For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,"

"For this cause": This expression resumes the apostle's prayer begun (in verse 1), but delayed by the discussion (of verses 2-13). Paul prays for the Ephesians to use the power that their great status in Christ provides.

In saying, "I bow my knees", Paul is not prescribing a required posture for prayer. He did not always pray while kneeling, and Scripture tells of God's faithful people praying in many different positions, as shown in passages such as (Gen. 18:22, standing; 1 Chron. 17:16, on His face).

Paul chooses of his own free will to bow to the Father. This is a humble bowing in reverence to God who has figured out such a glorious plan of salvation, whereby all mankind can be saved. God will not force salvation on them, but has provided a way, if they choose to be saved. This really is a prayer to the Father in the name of Jesus.

Ephesians 3:15 "Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,"

"Is named" means "is derived." "The whole" Christian "family," including those saints now departed and "in heaven," and those saints still living on "earth," all of them "derive" their spiritual life from God. Christians are no more or less the children of God than were believing Israelites, as well as believing Gentiles, before the coming of Christ.

"Every family" of believers is a part of the one spiritual family of God, in which there are many members but only one "Father" and one brotherhood.

God has a name that no one knows but Him for each of us. We are His sons, so we bear His name to some extent. In this sense, we will be named by the Father. Adam named all the animals on the earth as to their character and the work they would do on the earth.

God gives all in heaven and in earth a new name. This is the name that will be written on the white stone. The names that we use for God on this earth are a revealing of whatever He is doing at the time the name is used. Christians are Christians, because we are followers of Christ. Whatever our name is, we will be given the name by God.

Verses 16-19: In these verses Paul makes three prayer requests for the addressees;

(1) that they would "be strengthened with might by his Spirit" (verse 16), that is, that they be divinely enabled to successfully live the Christian life.

(2) "That" the readers "be able to comprehend ... the love of Christ," that is, to better understand the enormous love Christ has for them. And

(3) that they "might be filled with all the fullness of God," that is, that the life, character, and virtues of God Himself may be fully developed in them.

Ephesians 3:16 "That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;"

Almost every prayer of Paul's that is recorded in Scripture was for the spiritual welfare of others. Even when he was persecuted, imprisoned, and in need of many things for his own welfare, he prayed primarily for fellow believers that they might be spiritually protected and strengthened.

Our weakness is in ourselves and our strength is in Him. The weak are made strong by the Spirit within us.

2 Corinthians 12:9 "And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."

Galatians 2:20 "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."

Our strength lies in the fact that the Spirit of the Risen Christ dwells within us. My flesh is weak, but my spirit (turned over to the Spirit of God), is mighty. God will give this strengthening power in the inner man to whoever desires it. He will grant our wish to be filled with the Spirit of God, if we ask for it.

All of God's people are to be like Paul in having an overriding sensitivity to the spiritual needs of others, for the salvation of the unsaved and the spiritual protection and growth of the saved. We are to be sensitive to the spiritual needs of our wives, husbands, children, pastors, fellow church members, neighbors, fellow students, friends and co-workers.

To the spiritual believer, "the riches of His glory" are rich indeed. From the beginning of the letter Paul has been exulting over those divine riches:

God blessing us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places (1:3). His choosing us for Himself before the foundation of the world (1:4). His redemption and forgiveness (1:7). His making known to us the mystery of His will (1:9). His giving us an inheritance with His Son, Jesus Christ (1:11). And so on throughout the first two and a half chapters.

The phrase "of His glory" testifies that these riches belong to God because of who He is. They belong innately to His Person, which is to say, His glory, (1:17), where Paul calls God, "the Father of glory". And (Exodus 33:18), where God reveals His personal attributes as glory.

The first step in living like God's children is to be "strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man." Yet most Christians never seem to get to this first step, not knowing what it is to see God's power fully at work in them.

They suffer, the church suffers, and the world suffers because "the inner man" of most believers is never "strengthened with power through His Spirit." The flaw is in the inner man," where man himself cannot perform a cure. Only God can reach and cure the inner man.

Although the outer, physical man becomes weaker and weaker with age, the "inner," spiritual man should continually grow stronger and stronger with power through His Spirit. Only God's Spirit can strengthen our spirits. He is the one who energizes, revitalizes and empowers us (Acts 1:8). Where the strength of God increases, sin necessarily decreases. The nearer we come to God, the further we go from sin.

When the Spirit empowers our lives and Christ is obeyed as the Lord of our hearts, our sins and weaknesses are dealt with and we find ourselves wanting to serve others, wanting to sacrifice for them and serve them. Because Christ's loving nature has truly become our own.

Ephesians 3:17 "That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,"

This verse expresses the result of (3:16): "Christ" will "dwell" in the lives of those who are recipients of the Holy Spirit. Jesus already lives in them and in all Christians. The Greek word translated "dwell" means to settle down and be at home, to be at ease.

Jesus enters into our hearts the moment he saves us, but He cannot live there in comfort and satisfaction until it is cleansed of sin and filled with His will. He cannot be fully at home until He is allowed to dwell in our hearts through the continuing faith that trusts Him to exercise His lordship over every aspect of our lives.

When they are divinely strengthened (verse 16), they will then live the kind of lives God desires. When they thus please God, Christ will then "be at home" or "at ease" in their lives. As a permanent guest, He will enjoy living with them.

John 6:56 "He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him."

In this verse, we see that to partake of Jesus is to partake of life everlasting. We, through simple faith, receive Jesus as our Savior. To be fully turned over in our inner heart to Jesus, we must not only accept Him as our Savior, but we must realize that He is the Resurrection and the Life.

We must allow the Spirit of the Risen Christ to come and dwell in our heart. We see that in the following verse.

John 14:17 "[Even] the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you."

The greatest love that is in known to man, is the fact that while we were yet sinners, God sent His Son to save us. The only way we can show Him that we truly love Him, is to keep His commandments.

John 14:23 "Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him."

We no longer are under the control of the flesh and the lust thereof, if Christ has really come to live within us.

Romans 8:10 "And if Christ [be] in you, the body [is] dead because of sin; but the Spirit [is] life because of righteousness."

The result of our yielding to the Spirit's power and submitting to Christ's lordship in our hearts is love. When Christ settles down in our lives He begins to display His own love in us and through us. When He freely indwells our hearts, we become rooted and grounded in love, that is, settled on a strong foundation of love.

Make Jesus Lord of your life as well as Savior, and you will be rooted, and grounded in the kind of love that only God can give. Allow Christ to love others through you.

Ephesians 3:18 "May be able to comprehend with all saints what [is] the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;"

When we are rooted and grounded in love, we then become able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth of love. We cannot comprehend the fullness of love unless we are totally immersed in love, unless it is the very root and ground of our being. To be rooted and grounded in love requires being rooted and grounded in God.

Love is available to every Christian because Christ is available to every Christian. Paul prays that we will become able to comprehend with all the saints. Love is not simply for the even tempered Christian or the naturally pleasant and agreeable Christian. Nor is it for some supposed special class of Christians who have an inside spiritual track. It is for, and commanded of, every Christian, all the saints.

To comprehend what is the breath and length and height and depth of love is to understand it in its fullness. Love goes in every direction and to the greatest distance. It goes wherever it is needed for as long as it is needed.

We all know that before we became a Christian or saint, we had no understanding of the greatness of God. The Spirit of Christ within us helps us to know the breadth, length, and height.

Ephesians 3:19 "And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God."

Paul says that to know the love of Christ surpasses knowledge. Knowing Christ's love takes us beyond human knowledge, because it is from an infinitely higher source. Paul is not speaking here of our knowing the love we are to have for Christ but the love of Christ, His very own love that He must place in our hearts before we can love Him or anyone else.

The love, mentioned in the verse above, is "agape". This is the God love. This love is an unconditional love. It is not a love because, but in spite of. This kind of love, loves the unlovable. This kind of love is what kept Jesus on the cross. He loved us so much, that He gave His body on the cross that we might live. He shed His blood in payment for our sin.

This kind of love cannot be explained to the carnal man. Man only loves because of something he hopes to gain from the love, but as I said, this is unconditional love. The fullness of God that He wanted us to be filled with is the grace of God. God offers all the gifts of the Spirit to the believer.

He wants us to be filled up completely with His fullness, so that there will be no room left for worldliness. The great commandment that Jesus gave to all believers is:

Mark 12:30 "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this [is] the first commandment."

If we keep that commandment, then we are full of the Lord. Jesus was all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.

Colossians 2:9 "For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily."

The inner strengthening of the Holy Spirit leads to the indwelling of Christ, which leads to abundant love, which leads to God's fullness in us. To be filled up to all the fullness of God is indeed incomprehensible, even to God's own children. It is incredible and indescribable. There is no way, this side of heaven, we can fathom that truth. We can only believe it and praise God for it.

If we are filled with Jesus, then we are filled with God. By definition, to be filled with God is to be emptied of self. It is not to have much of God and little of self, but all of God and none of self. This is a recurring theme in Ephesians.

Ephesians 3:20 "Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,"

When the Holy Spirit has empowered us, Christ has indwelt us, love has mastered us, and God has filled us with His own fullness, then He is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think. Until those conditions are met, God's working in us is limited. When they are met, His working in us is unlimited.

John 14:12-14 - "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to the Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it".

In making the three above petitions, verses 16-19, Paul has not asked for too much. For he prays "unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that" he can "ask or think."

Now we see the richness of the grace of God. All that we can ask, or think, is not enough. The Lord will do far above the greatest things we can think. Notice, what it is according to. The power that worketh in us is the Holy Spirit within us. This power is a gift of God to help us minister (witness), to others.

Romans 4:21 "And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform."

Hebrews 13:20 "Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,"

Hebrews 13:21 "Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom [be] glory for ever and ever. Amen."

We cannot say enough about the love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He is the Resurrection and the Life. In Him we live, and move, and have our being.

1 John 4:9 "In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him."

Ephesians 3:21 "Unto him [be] glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen."

The glory in the church is speaking of the believers in Christ. He is the everlasting One. The praise for the great plan of eternal life goes to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. The world that they have provided for the believers in Christ has no end, it is one eternal day.

When by our yieldedness God can do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us. Only then are we truly effective and only then is He truly glorified. And He deserves glory in the church and in Christ Jesus, not only now, but to all generations forever and ever. The Amen confirms that worthy goal.

Ephesians Chapter 3 Continued Questions

1. In verse 13, who was Paul suffering tribulations for?

2. Who was Paul called to minister to particularly?

3. Paul counted it a __________ to suffer for Christ.

4. Who did Paul bow his knee to?

5. Describe the kind of bowing Paul did?

6. This is really a prayer to the _________ in the name of _______.

7. Why do we bear the name God chooses for us?

8. Who named all the animals on earth?

9. What did their names reveal?

10. What is the name written on the white stone?

11. What are the names we use for God on this earth?

12. Our weakness is in _____________.

13. God strengthens in our _________ ___.

14. My flesh is _______.

15. My spirit (turned over to the Spirit of God) is ________.

16. What must we do to receive the Spirit of God?

17. Christ dwells in your heart by ________.

18. To partake of Jesus is to partake of ______ _____________.

19. Besides accepting Jesus as our Savior, we must realize He is the _______________ and the _____.

20. Why can the world not receive the Spirit of Truth?

21. How can we show Jesus that we truly love Him?

22. May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the ________.___, and ___________, ___________, and __________.

23. Verse 19 says, what passes knowledge?

24. What is the love mentioned in verse 19?

25. Describe this type of love.

26. How does man's love differ from this love?

27. What does verse 20 tell us of the richness of the grace of God?

28. Who is the church?

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Ephesians 4

Ephesians Chapter 4

In the first three chapters of Ephesians, Paul has set forth the believer's position with all the blessings, honors, and privileges of being a child of God. In the next three chapters, he gives the consequent obligations and requirements of being His child, in order to live out salvation in accordance with the Father's will and to His glory. The first three chapters set forth truth about the believer's identity in Christ, and the last three call for the practical response.

Ephesians 4:1 "I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,"

"I therefore ... beseech you": In view of all that God's grace has done for the readers (as seen in Ephesians chapters 1-3), Paul urges them to "walk worthy of" their "vocation", they are to live in a manner befitting the divine call or invitation (vocation), which summoned them to salvation.

Paul by mentioning his imprisonment gently reminds his readers that he knows the worthy Christian walk can be costly and that he has paid considerable cost himself because of his obedience to the Lord.

"Therefore" marks the transition from doctrine to duty, principle to practice, and position to behavior. This is typical of Paul.

The "I", in the verse above, of course, is Paul. Paul never once forgot that he was the captive of the Lord Jesus Christ. The high calling of these Ephesians was to become Christians and thereby become sons of God.

"The prisoner of the Lord": By mentioning his imprisonment again (see 3:1), Paul gently reminded Ephesian believers that the faithful Christian walk can be costly and that he had paid a considerable personal price because of his obedience to the Lord.

Paul had the ability to see everything in the light of how it affected Christ. He saw everything vertically before he saw it horizontally. His motives were Christ's, his standards were Christ's, his objectives were Christ's, his vision was Christ's, his entire orientation was Christ's.

We know that salvation is a free gift of grace from God to all who will accept it. Note with me, that is not the end of the subject. When we accept the Lord Jesus as our Savior, that is just the first step. There is a job to do. The called of God are to walk in the salvation they have received.

"Walk ... worthy": "Walk" is frequently used in the New Testament to refer to daily conduct. It sets the theme for the final 3 chapters. "Worthy" has the idea of living to match one's position in Christ. The apostle urged his readers to be everything the Lord desires and empowers them to be.

They should produce other believers by their walk. "To walk worthy" means living the salvation that you received, not turning back to the sinful life. True salvation brings a brand new life to the believer. It is a life filled with good works, not because the works are required, but because good works follow the new life.

Walk is frequently used in the New Testament to refer to daily conduct, day by day living and it is the theme of the last three chapters of Ephesians.

"Vocation": In the verse above, means calling or invitation. This is not a job chosen to make a living by, but to make a life by. Christianity is a way of life.

"Calling": This refers to God's sovereign call to salvation, as always in the epistles.

The believer who walks in a manner worthy of the calling with which he has been called is one whose daily living corresponds to his high position as a child of God and fellow heir with Jesus Christ. His practical living matches his spiritual position.

Verses 2-3: These verses begin to spell out what constitutes the worthy walk (of verse 1). Such noble conduct includes humility, patience toward others, and bending over backward to maintain "unity," or harmony, among God's people.

Ephesians 4:2 "With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;"

"Lowliness" means humility which is not found in the Latin or Greek vocabularies of Paul's day. The Greek word apparently was coined by Christians, perhaps even by Paul himself, to describe a quality for which no other word was available. This "humility" is a compound word that literally means to think or judge with lowliness, and hence to have lowliness of mind.

Humility, the most foundational Christian virtue (James 4:6), is the quality of character commanded in the first beatitude (Matt. 5:3), and describes the noble grace of Christ. (Phil. 2:7-8).

We cannot even begin to please God without humility, just as our Lord Himself could not have pleased His Father had He not willingly "emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond servant and humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross".

This is a short description of the way a true Christian conducts his life. This is still describing the worthy walk in verse one. A Christian should pattern his life after his leader, Christ. In fact, a Christian is a follower of and a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.

"Meekness": (another word is gentleness), an inevitable product of humility, refers to that which is mild spirited and self-controlled (Matt. 5:5; 11:29; Gal. 5:23; Col. 3:12).

"Longsuffering" is another word for patience. The Greek word for patience literally means long tempered and refers to a resolved patience that is an outgrowth of humility and gentleness.

"Forbearing one another in love": Humility, gentleness and patience are reflected in a forbearing love for others that is continuous and unconditional (1 Peter 4:8).

All of the above mentioned character traits go with a humble servant of the Lord. We know that the "love" spoken of here, and the charity in the following Scriptures in (1 Corinthians), both stem from the word agape, which is the unselfish type of love that God has.

1 Corinthians 13:4-5 "Charity suffereth long, [and] is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up," "Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;"

1 Corinthians 13:7 "Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things." This is not only the unselfish love that Christ has, but His true followers have as well.

Ephesians 4:3 "Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."

The ultimate outcome of lowliness, meekness, long-suffering and forbearing is the endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

The unity of the Spirit here, is the Holy Spirit. We are one with Christ in this Spirit, as He is one with the Father.

"Unity of the Spirit": The Spirit-bestowed oneness of all true believers has created the bond of peace, the spiritual cord that surrounds and binds God's holy people together. This bond is love (Col. 3:14). This should be the diligent and constant concern of every believer.

The church's responsibility, through the lives of individual believers, is to preserve the unity by faithfully walking in a manner worthy of God's calling (verse 1), manifesting Christ to the world by oneness in Him.

"Endeavoring" means that we are going out of our way to make this unity work. We know that on the day of Pentecost, they were in one accord. There were no divisions and God visited them. Jesus is the King of Peace.

The bond that preserves unity is peace, the spiritual belt that surrounds and binds God's holy people together. It is the bond that Paul described in Philippians as "being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose" (2:2).

The only real peace in this life is the peace that He gives you from within. That is the peace that the world does not understand. It is peace that you can have in the midst of the storm.

Humility gives birth to gentleness, gentleness gives birth to patience, patience gives birth to forbearing love, and all four of those characteristics preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. These virtues and the supernatural unity to which they testify are probably the most powerful testimony the church can have, because they are in such contrast to the attitudes and the disunity of the world.

Verses 4-6: This passage elaborates on the "unity of the Spirit" (verse 3). Everything that relates to salvation, the church and the kingdom of God is based on the concept of unity as reflected in Paul's use of seven "one's" in these three verses.

This oneness among Christians refers to having:

(1) One body - The one body of Christ, the Christian church;

(2) One "Spirit" - The same Holy Spirit who imparts the same spiritual life to all believers;

(3) "One hope" - All Christians share the same future certainty and are headed toward the same heavenly destination;

(4) "One Lord" - All submit to the same divine ruler, Jesus;

(5) "One faith" - All believers have placed the same trust in Christ for salvation;

(6) "One baptism" - Holy Spirit baptism at the time of salvation (1 Cor. 12:13); and

(7) "One God and Father" - All believers in Christ have the same God and heavenly Father.

Verses 4-6: In these three verses, Paul lists the particular areas of oneness, or unity. Paul focuses on the Trinity, the Spirit (in verse 4); the Son (in verse 5); and the Father (in verse 6). His point is not to distinguish between the persons of the Godhead but to emphasize that, although they have unique roles, they are completely unified in every aspect of the divine nature and plan.

Ephesians 4:4 "[There is] one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;"

"One body": The church, the body of Christ, is composed of every believer since Pentecost without distinction, by the work of the "one Spirit" (See 1 Cor. 12:11-13).

"One Spirit": The Holy Spirit of God, who is possessed by every believer and who is therefore the inner unifying force in the body. Believers are individual temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 3:16-17), that are collectively "being fitted together and are growing into a holy temple in the Lord. Being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit" (Eph. 2:21-22).

"One hope": This is the pledge and promise of eternal inheritance given each believer (1:11-14), and sealed to each believer by the one Spirit (verse 13).

"Hope ... calling": Our calling to salvation is ultimately a calling to Christlike eternal perfection and glory. In Christ, we have different gifts, different ministries, different places of service, but only one calling. The calling to "be holy and blameless before Him" (Eph. 1:4), and "to become conformed to the image of His Son" (Rom. 8:29). Which will occur when we see the glorified Christ (1 John 3:2). It is the Spirit who has placed us in the one Body and who guarantees our future glory.

Jesus Christ is the only hope that any of us have. He said Himself, no man cometh to the Father, but by me. Our hope is in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 4:5 "One Lord, one faith, one baptism,"

There is One Lord Jesus Christ, who is our all in all. You cannot be the servant of more than one person. Your Lord is your master. His wishes are your desire to fulfill. You cannot serve two masters.

Paul told the Galatians, "Even though we or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed" (Gal. 1:8).

"For the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call upon Him" (Romans 10:12).

Luke 16:13 "No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon."

Faith is in One, as well. Wherever your heart is, lies your faith. Our faith lies in Jesus Christ. This baptism here, is speaking of the one mentioned (in Matthew 28):

Matthew 28:19 "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:"

In true Christianity, there is only one faith, "the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints" and for which we are to contend (Jude 3).

"One baptism": Spiritual baptism by which all believers are placed into the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:11-13 is implied). This is the baptism to new life in Jesus. We are buried with Him in the watery grave, to rise to new life in Him.

Ephesians 4:6 "One God and Father of all, who [is] above all, and through all, and in you all."

We know that the Father is the supreme Father of Jesus and of all the believers in Christ. We are sons of God, and Jesus is His only begotten Son. Our sonship is by adoption.

"One God" is the basic doctrine of God taught in Scripture (see Deut. 4:35; 6:4; 32:39; Isa. 45:14; 46:9; 1 Cor. 12:11-13).

1 Corinthians 8:6 "But to us [there is but] one God, the Father, of whom [are] all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom [are] all things, and we by him."

Because there was none greater, God swore by Himself. He is above all the earth.

1 John 4:13 "Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit."

Romans 11:36 "For of him, and through him, and to him, [are] all things: to whom [be] glory for ever. Amen."

God dwells within every believer, molding their lives the way He would have them. The tabernacle of God is with men.

Revelation 21:3 "And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God [is] with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, [and be] their God."

The basic doctrine of Judaism has always been, "The Lord is our God, the Lord is One!" (Deut. 6:4).

God the Father is often used in Scripture as the most comprehensive and inclusive divine title, though it is clear from many New Testament texts that He is never separated in nature or power from the Son or the Holy Spirit.

Paul's point here is not to separate the Persons of the Godhead but to note their unique roles and yet focus on their unity in relation to each other and in relation to the church.

Ephesians 4:7 "But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ."

"But" draws a sharp contrast with the preceding "unity" (of verse 3), expressed in the sevenfold "one" (of verses 4-6), and in the fourfold "all" (of verse 6). The contrast (in verses 7-16), shows that there is a diversity within Christian unity: while the church is one, there is a variety of spiritual gifts within, given for the church's benefit.

"But unto every one": This could be translated "in spite of that," or "on the other hand," contrasting what has just been said with what is about to be said, moving from the subject of the unity of believers ("all" in verse 6), to that of the uniqueness of believers ("each one").

"Grace" is a single word definition of the gospel, the good news of God's offering salvation to sinful and unworthy mankind. God is the God of grace because He is a God who freely gives, His giving has nothing to do with anything we have done, but is unmerited, unearned, and undeserved.

"Grace" is a spiritual gift. "Every one of us" has been granted some spiritual capability to serve God and contribute to the church's growth. The nature of grace is giving and the bible tells us much more about giving than getting, because God's nature is to give.

God is a God of grace because He is a God who freely gives. It has nothing to do with anything we have done or have failed to do; it can only be received. God owes nothing to sinful men except judgment for their sin. He does not owe men the smallest blessing or favor. Yet in His grace He has given us the blessing of all blessings, the immeasurable blessing of intimate shared life (2 Peter 1:3-4).

This grace is the enabling power that makes the special gifts function to the glory of God. This distinction is clear for the rest of Paul's statement, "according to the measure of the gift of Christ". Enabling grace is measured out to be consistent with what is necessary for the operation of Christ's gift which is linked with the exact proportion of enacting faith on the part of each believer; and God is the source of both.

"According to the "measure of the gift of Christ": Each believer has a unique spiritual gift that God individually portions out according to His sovereign will and design, The Greek term for "gift" focuses not on the Spirit as the source like the term used (in 1 Cor. 12:1), nor on the grace that prompted it in Rom. 12:6, but on the freeness of the gift.

Two persons may be given the same gift, but one may have a greater measure of that gift than does the other. Each believer is given the measure of grace and faith to operate his gift according to God's plan. Add individual personality, background, education, influences in life and needs in the area of service and it becomes obvious that each believer is unique. Believers' gifts are like snowflakes and fingerprints; each one is completely distinct from all others.

Thank goodness, He measures with His measurement, and not with ours. It is not the amount of grace that we want that Christ gives us, but the amount that He feels is right for us. The next Scripture gives a little more insight into this.

When a believer does not minister his gift properly as God's steward (1 Pet. 4:10), God's work suffers to that degree, because God has not called or gifted another Christian in exactly the same way or for exactly the same work. That is why no Christian is to be a spectator. Every believer is on the team and is strategic in God's plan, with his own unique skills, position and responsibilities.

Not to use our gift is an affront to God's wisdom, a rebuff of His love and grace and a loss to His church. If we do not use it, His work is weakened and His heart is grieved.

Ephesians 4:8 "Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men."

"When he ascended up on high": Paul used an interpretive rendering (of Psalm 68:18), as a parenthetical analogy to show how Christ received the right to bestow the spiritual gifts (verse 7). "Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them".

Psalm 68 is a victory hymn composed by David to celebrate God's conquest of the Jebusite city of Jerusalem and the triumphant ascent of God up to Mt. Zion (2 Samuel 6-7; 1 Chron. 13).

After such a triumph, the king would bring home the spoils and the prisoners. Here Paul depicts Christ returning from His battle on earth back into the glory of the heavenly city with the trophies of His great victory at Calvary.

This is cited as an illustration of Christ's bestowing spiritual gifts on His church. The Old Testament text pictures God as a victorious warrior returning to Mount Zion. "(He ascended up on high)" leading Israel's defeated foes in triumphal procession ("He lead captivity captive"); He then distributes to Israel the spoils of war ("gave gifts unto men").

Similarly, when Jesus returned to heaven ("He ascended up on high"), He conquered Satan and his entire demonic horde ("He led captivity captive") This phrase depicts a triumphant Christ returning from battle on earth back into the glory of the heavenly city with the trophies of His great victory.

"And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it" (Col. 2:15).

Jesus is the one who led captivity captive, when he brought them out with Him from Paradise. The victory of the Lord Jesus was on the cross. He defeated sin and the devil on the cross. He descended to preach to those in Paradise. His other reason for being in Paradise was to take the keys of hell and death away from Satan.

An Israel king who won a triumphant victory would bring home the spoils and prisoners to parade before his people. One feature of the victory parade would be the display of the king's own soldiers who had been freed after being held prisoner by the enemy.

These were often referred to as recaptured captives, prisoners who had been taken prisoner again, so to speak, by their own king and given freedom.

The picture if vivid in its demonstration that God has yet unsaved people who belong to Him, though they are naturally in Satan's grasp and would remain there had not Christ by His death and resurrection made provision to lead them into the captivity of His kingdom into which they had been called by sovereign election.

The following Scripture is printed in red in the Bible, which means that Jesus, Himself spoke the Words.

Revelation 1:18 "I [am] he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death."

Unto every believer is given some gift of grace, for their mutual help. All is given as seems best to Christ to bestow upon everyone. He received for them, that he might give to them, a large measure of gifts and graces; particularly the gift of the Holy Ghost. Not a mere head knowledge, or bare acknowledging Christ to be the Son of God, but such as brings trust and obedience.

The gifts given to men were through the Holy Spirit of God, and are called the gifts of the Spirit. He distributes the spoils throughout His kingdom. After His ascension, came the spiritual gifts empowered by the Spirit, who was then sent. (John 7:39; 14:12; Acts 2:33).

Early church dogma taught that the righteous dead of the Old Testament could not be taken into the fullness of God's presence until Christ had purchased their redemption on the cross, and that they had waited in this place for His victory on that day.

Figuratively speaking, the early church fathers said that, after announcing His triumph over demons in one part of Sheol. He then opened the doors of another part of Sheol to release those godly captives. Like the victorious kings of old, He recaptured the captives and liberated them, and henceforth they would live in heaven as eternally free sons of God.

Verses 9-10: Jesus' ascension into heaven signifies that He previously descended from heaven, (verse 9). And the person who cared enough to descend for man's redemption is the very same person (namely Jesus), who was equally concerned for the church's well-being. So that, upon returning to heaven, He equipped His church with all the spiritual gifts prerequisite for her growth, verse 10.

Ephesians 4:9 "(Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?"

"Ascended": Jesus' ascension from earth to heaven (Acts 1:9-11), where He forever reigns with His Father.

"Into the lower parts of the earth": These are in contrast to the highest heavens to which He afterward ascended (Psalm 139:8, 15; Isa. 44:23). The phrase here does not point to a specific place, but to the great depth, as it were, of the incarnation, including Christ's descent, between His crucifixion and resurrection beyond the earth, the grave, and death, into the very pit of the demons, "the spirits in prison".

Before the death of Christ, both the lost and the saved went to Hades (Hebrew Sheol) although it was divided into the place of torments and the paradise of God (also called Abrahams bosom, Luke 16:19-31). When Jesus hung on the cross, He consoled the penitent thief that he would be in paradise with Christ on that day.

One of the accomplishments of the Resurrection was to lead "captivity captive," that is, to remove Old Testament saints from Abraham's bosom (Hades) and lead them to heaven.

When a Christian dies today, he goes immediately into the presence of God (Phil. 1:23).

Also see Psalm 16:10: "For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption."

This is speaking of the time after Jesus had completed payment of the law on the cross. Victory was on the cross. There was nothing else to pay. When Jesus said; it is finished, it meant just that. The law had been completely fulfilled; there was no more suffering to do.

Jesus deliberately went into Sheol to preach, and bring out the captives with Him. He had already defeated Satan, but Satan had to turn over the keys to hell and death.

This does not refer to preaching the gospel but to making a triumphant announcement, in this case Christ's announcement of His victory over the demons even while they tried to hold Him in death.

Ephesians 4:10 "He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)"

Between Jesus' death on Calvery and His resurrection in the garden tomb, he was "put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit." He was physically dead but spiritually alive. During the three days He was in that state "He also descended" and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison.

"That he might fill all things": After the Lord ascended, having fulfilled all prophecies and all His divinely ordained redemptive tasks, He gained the right to rule the church and to give gifts, as He was then filling the entire universe with His divine presence, power, sovereignty and blessing (Phil. 2:9-11).

This is still speaking of the victorious Jesus. We know in the 1st chapter of Acts, He ascended into heaven while the apostles gazed at Him.

Acts 1:9 "And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight."

Read several more verses here to get the full impact. Jesus must fill our life, or we are dead. He is life. He is the One who sent the Comforter. He is also, the one who fills us with the Holy Spirit.

Paul's point (in Ephesians 4:8-10), is to explain that Jesus' paying the infinite price of coming to earth and suffering death on our behalf qualified Him to be exalted above all the heavens. That is, to the throne of God, in order that He might rightfully have the authority to give gifts to His saints. By that victory He gained the right to rule His church and to give gifts to His church, that He might fill all things.

Does all things mean all prophecies, all assigned tasks, and all universal sovereignty? Surely the answer is yes in regard to each of those aspects. But the context would dictate that His filling all things primarily has to do with His glorious divine presence and power expressed in universal sovereignty. He fills the entire universe with blessing, particularly His church, as the next verse illustrates.

Ephesians 4:11 "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;"

"He gave some": As evidenced by His perfect fulfillment of His Father's will, Christ possessed the authority and sovereignty to assign the spiritual gifts (verses 7-8), to those He has called into service in His church. He gave not only gifts, but gifted men. Christ not only gives gifts to individual believers but to the total body.

This verse identifies some of the spiritual gifts given to the church. These are the God given abilities enabling some Christians to have functioned as "apostles", some as "prophets," some as "evangelists". And still others in the role of "pastors and teachers."

The Greek construction for the last mentioned should be rendered pastors-teachers. This indicates that a pastor-teacher has a dual function: he pastors in overseeing his parishioners' spiritual lives, and he teaches by instructing them in the Word.

"Apostles": A term used particularly of the 12 disciples who had seen the risen Christ (Acts 1:22), including Matthias, who replaced Judas. Later, Paul was uniquely set apart as the apostle to the Gentiles (Gal. 1:15-17), and was numbered with the other apostles. He, too, miraculously encountered Jesus at his conversion on the Damascus road (Acts 9: 1-9; Gal. 1:15-17).

Those apostles were chosen directly by Christ, so as to be called "apostles of Jesus Christ" (Gal. 1:1; 1 Peter 1:1). They were given 3 basic responsibilities:

1. To lay the foundation of the church (2:20).

2. To receive declare and write God's Word (3:5; Acts 11:28; 21:10-11); and

3. To give confirmation of that Word through signs, wonders and miracles (2 Cor. 12:12; Acts 8:6-7; Heb. 2:3-4).

The term "apostle" is used in more general ways of other men in the early church, such as Barnabas (Acts 14:4); Silas, Timothy (1 Thess. 2:6); and others (Romans 16:7; Phil. 2:25).

They are called "messengers (or apostles) of the churches" (2 Cor. 8:23), rather than "apostles of Jesus Christ" like the 13. They were not self-perpetuating, nor were any apostle who died replaced.

"Prophets": Not ordinary believers who had the gift of prophecy but specially commissioned men in the early church. The office of prophet seems to have been exclusively for work within a local congregation. They were not "sent ones" as were the apostles (see Acts 13:1-4), but as with the apostles, their office ceased with the completion of the New Testament.

They sometimes spoke practical direct revelation for the church from God (Acts 11:21-28), or expounded revelation already given (implied in Acts 13:1). They were not used for the reception of Scripture. Their messages were to be judged by other prophets for validity (1 Cor. 14:32), and had to conform to the teaching of the apostles (verse 37).

Those two offices were replaced by the evangelists and teaching pastors.

"And some, pastors and teachers": The phrase is best understood in context as a single office of leadership in the church. The Greek word translated "and" can mean "in particular" (see 1 Tim. 5:17). The normal meaning of pastor is "shepherd" so the two functions together define the teaching shepherds.

He is identified as one who is under the "great Shepherd" Jesus (Heb. 13:20-21; 1 Peter 2:25). One who holds this office is also called an "elder" and "bishop", or "overseer" (Acts 20:28; and 1 Peter 5:12), bring all three terms together.

The word "evangelists" is used only three times in Scripture. Meaning, men who proclaim the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ to unbelievers.

Therefore, relatively little can be concluded about this person's role. Philip, who planted churches, is called an evangelist (Acts 21:8), and Timothy was instructed to do the work of an evangelist (2 Tim. 4:5). Some have the gift of evangelism and are given to the church (verse 11). The root meaning of evangelist is to bring good tidings or to bring the gospel message.

This is spoken of as the five-fold ministry. A church is really not complete, until God calls someone to fill all of these ministries in the church. Many people confuse the apostles and the disciples.

There was a much larger group of disciples than there were apostles. All apostles were disciples, as well. Not all disciples were apostles, however. One of the requirements for being an apostle was that they had to have personally seen Jesus. The apostle had to be called directly of Christ.

The 12 apostles were chosen by Jesus from the larger group of disciples, after He prayed all night. Apostle means delegate or ambassador of the gospel. It indicates (with miraculous powers). It also means a messenger, or he that is sent.

An ambassador does not bring his own message, but brings the message of the One who sent him. "Prophets" are foretellers or inspired speakers. "Evangelist" is a preacher of the gospel. An evangelist usually has one message, and that is how to receive salvation.

A pastor differs from the evangelist, in that after the person is saved, he or she watches over them to lead them into Christian growth. They may also, lead the person to salvation. They are like a good shepherd which leads the flock.

Teachers in the sense that we would understand would be like Sunday school teachers and Bible study teachers. They would keep the Word of God ever before the people.

Elder emphasizes who the man is, bishop speaks of what he does, and pastor deals with his attitude and character. All three terms are used of the same church leaders, and all three identify those who feed and lead the church; yet each term has a unique emphasis.

Ephesians 4:12 "For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:"

(Verses 12-16), teach in its most succinct form, God's plan by which Christ produces church growth.

Matthew 16:18(b) "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."

Obviously the building must be according to His plan and attempting to build the church by human means only competes with the work of Christ.

"Perfecting": This refers to restoring something to its original condition, or it's being made fit or complete. In this context, it refers to leading Christians from sin to obedience. Scripture is the key to this process.

God has given four basic tools, as it were, for the spiritual perfecting of the saints. These are spiritual means, because the flesh cannot make anyone perfect (Gal. 3:3). The first is His Word, the Bible. The second tool is prayer. A third tool is testing and a fourth is suffering.

Suffering is also a means of spiritual equipping. Peter uses this word near the close of his first letter: "And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you" (1 Peter 5:10).

God "comforts us in all our affliction," he says, "so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. The sending of tests and suffering are entirely God's operation, and He gives them to His saints according to His loving and sovereign will. But the two agents of spiritual equipping, prayer and knowledge of scripture, are the tasks of the gifted men.

"Saints": All who believe in Jesus Christ".

"For the work of the ministry": The spiritual service required of every Christian, not just of church leaders (1 Cor. 15:28).

This verse discloses the purpose for the gifted individuals of (verse 11). Their responsibility is "the perfecting of the saints," that is, to train and equip the rank and file Christians to do "the work of the ministry." The aim of this ministry of Christian service is "for the edifying of the body of Christ." That is, to build up the church numerically and spiritually.

Christianity is a growing experience in Jesus. It is a way of life. The more we are taught, the more we grow in the Lord. The object of course, is the perfecting of our faith. We either go forward or backwards with the Lord, we never stand still.

The ministry can not really function properly, until these ministry positions are filled. When there is no one taking care of one of the ministries, it puts an extra load on the pastor. All of this is to build up the body of Christ. All of this is to help the Christian in his walk with God.

"For the edifying of the body of Christ": The spiritual edification, nurturing and development of the church (Acts 20:32).

The body is built up externally through evangelism as more believers are added, but the emphasis here is on its being built up internally as all believers are nurtured to fruitful service through the word. The maturation of the church is tied to learning of and obedience to the holy revelation of Scripture. Just as newborn babes desire physical milk, so should believers desire the spiritual nourishment of the Word (1 Peter 2:2).

Ephesians 4:13 "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:"

"Unity of the faith": Faith here refers to the body of revealed truth that constitutes Christian teaching, particularly featuring the complete content of the gospel. Oneness and harmony among believers is possible only when it is built on the foundation of sound doctrine.

The solution to the divisions in Corinth was for everyone to hold the same understandings and opinions and to speak the same truth (1 Cor. 1:10). Only a biblically equipped, faithfully serving and spiritually maturing church can attain to the unity of the faith. There can never be unity in the church apart from doctrinal integrity.

As (in verse 5), faith does not here refer to the act of belief or of obedience but to the body of Christian truth, to Christian doctrine. The faith is the content of the gospel in its most complete form.

"The knowledge of the Son of God": This does not refer to salvation knowledge but to the deep knowledge of Christ that a believer comes to have through prayer, faithful study of His Word and obedience to His commands (Phil. 3:8-10, 12; Col. 1:9-10; 2:2).

"The fullness of Christ": God wants every believer to manifest the qualities of His Son, who is Himself the standard for their spiritual maturity and perfection.

The edifying of the church (verse 12), is to continue "till we all come in the unity of the faith," that is, until all Christians attain spiritual maturity. Since new believers are constantly being added to the church, this objective will not be realized until the Lord returns.

The call to the ministry is a lifetime call. We should never stop working, trying to bring unity of the faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Knowledge is accumulated learning, as we have said before. We must learn all we can about the Word of God. We need to allow the Holy Spirit to reveal to us the meaning of the Scriptures.

The goal that we set for ourselves should be to be perfect in Jesus. We will never be perfect on this earth, but it should be the desire of our heart to be perfect. With our example being Jesus, we should try to be more and more like Him every day.

Romans 8:29 "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren."

As individuals, we should desire to become more like Jesus every day. The entire body of Christ (all believers), should be working toward being like Jesus. We are to radiate and reflect Christ's perfections.

Verses 14-15: Two results occur when Christians reach spiritual maturity.

(1) Negatively, they will no longer be "children," that is, immature believers easily deceived by "every wind of" (false) "doctrine"; and

(2) Positively, they will "grow up into him," that is, fully grown in "all" aspects of Christian living; doctrine, conduct, service, and so on. "But speaking the truth in love, may grow up" may be read "by lovingly teaching the truth, we will grow up."

Christian maturity is attained, in part, by thorough instruction in sound doctrine given in a loving manner.

Ephesians 4:14 "That we [henceforth] be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, [and] cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;"

"Carried about with every wind of doctrine": Spiritually immature believers who are not grounded in the knowledge of Christ through God's Word are inclined to uncritically accept every sort of beguiling doctrinal error and fallacious interpretation of Scripture promulgated by deceitful, false teachers in the church.

They must learn discernment (1 Thess. 5:21-22). The New Testament is replete with warnings of such danger (Acts 20:30-31; Rom. 16:17-18; Gal. 1:6-7; 1 Tim. 4:1-7; 2 Tim. 2:15-18; 2 Peter 2:1-3).

The immature Christian is gullible; and in the history of the church no group of believers has fallen into more foolishness in the name of Christianity than has much of the church today.

Despite our unprecedented education, sophistication, freedom and access to God's Word and sound Christian teaching, it seems that every religious huckster can find a ready hearing and financial support from among God's people. The number of foolish, misdirected, corrupt, and even heretical leaders to whom many church members willing give their money and allegiance is astounding and heartbreaking.

Just as many families today are dominated by their children, so are many churches. It is tragic when the church's children, spiritually immature believers (1 John 2:13-14), who change their views with every wind of doctrine and continually fall prey to men's trickery and Satan's craftiness and deceitful scheming, are found among its most influential teachers and leaders.

When we are brand new Christians, we have to be fed on milk and honey. When we get stronger in our walk with Christ, we feed on the meat of the Word. When you are a new Christian, you are easily persuaded, and might fall for false doctrines. The strong Christian, grounded in the Word of God, is like a big oak tree that cannot be blown over with every wind of doctrine. We are told that in the end time nearly everyone will be deceived.

Mark 13:22 "For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if [it were] possible, even the elect."

Matthew 24:24 "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if [it were] possible, they shall deceive the very elect."

The only way to keep from being deceived is to be fully grounded in the Word of God. Study to show thyself approved of God.

Ephesians Chapter 4 Questions

1. What is Paul telling them they must do in verse 1?

2. What was the high calling of these Ephesians?

3. Salvation is a ______ _____ of grace from God.

4. What does it mean to "walk worthy"?

5. What does "vocation" in verse 1 mean?

6. This is not a job to make a living by, but to make a ______ by.

7. Describe the way a true Christian conducts his life.

8. A Christian is a ________ of and a ________ in the Lord Jesus Christ.

9. What word does "love" in verse 2 stem from?

10. What does the word mean?

11. What is the unity of the Spirit in verse 3?

12. What does "endeavoring" mean?

13. Who is King of Peace?

14. What type of peace does He bring?

15. There is one ______, and one ________, even as ye are called in the hope of your calling.

16. Who is God the Father of?

17. Our sonship is by ____________.

18. What tells us that we dwell in Him and He in us?

19. Where is the tabernacle of God spoken of in Revelation chapter 21 verse 3?

20. Unto every one of us is given grace according to what?

21. When He ascended up on high, he led __________ ________.

22. Where was the victory of Jesus won?

23. Who has the keys of hell and death in Revelation chapter 1 verse 18.

24. What is verse 9 speaking of?

25. Name the 5 ministries in verse 11.

26. What is the difference in an "evangelist" and a pastor?

27. What is a "prophet"?

28. What is the object of studying the Word of God?

29. In verse 13, we see that the ultimate goal of the Christian is to measure up to what?

30. What are young Christians called in verse 14?

31. What can you compare the strong Christian to?

32. What is the only way to keep from being deceived?

Ephesians Chapter 4 Continued

Ephesians 4:15 "But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, [even] Christ:"

"Speaking the truth in love" is a principle that applies to every aspect of Christian life and ministry. The verb translated "speaking the truth" is aletheuo, which means to speak, deal or act truthfully. Authentic, mature believers whose lives are marked by "love" will not be victims of false teaching (verse 14), but will be living authentically and proclaiming the true gospel to a deceived and deceiving world.

Evangelism is most effective when the truth is proclaimed in love. This can be accomplished only by the spiritually mature believer who is thoroughly equipped in sound doctrine. Without maturity, the truth can be cold and love little more that sentimentality.

"Grow up ... into him": Christians are to be completely yielded and obedient to the Lord's will, subject to His controlling power and Christlike in all areas of their lives (Gal. 2:20; Phil. 1:21). "The Head": Given the picture of the church as a body whose head is Christ, "head" is used in the sense of authoritative leader, not "source," which would have required a different anatomical picture (see 1:22; 5:23).

Christ is the source of power for all functions. Human beings are declared officially dead when the EKG is flat, signifying brain death. As the brain is the control center of physical life, so the Lord Jesus Christ is the organic source of life and power to His body, the church.

In the last lesson, we were discussing how we must be grounded in the Word of God to keep from being carried away by false doctrine. There never was a time when more false doctrine has been taught than now. I believe the nearer we get to the end of the Gentile age and the coming of Christ, the more the false doctrine will be widespread.

We are warned that there will be false Christs who will bring all kinds of false doctrine.

Mark 13:22 "For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if [it were] possible, even the elect."

As we said in the previous lesson, the only way not to be taken in by all of this is to study your Bible and know it well. Jesus Christ is the head of the church. We Christians are the church. We should not believe a lie. We should be grounded in Truth.

Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. If we are truly in Him and Him in us, we will know and speak the Truth. Notice that we are to grow up in our Christian walk. We are not to stay a babe in Christ.

Ephesians 4:16 "From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love."

"From whom": This refers to the Lord. Power for producing mature, equipped believers comes not from the effort of those believers alone but from their Head, the Lord Jesus Christ (Col. 2:19). Christ holds the body together and makes it function by that which every joint supply.

That is to say, the joints are points of constant, the joining together or union where the spiritual supply, resources and gifts of the Holy Spirit pass from one member to another, providing the flow of ministry that produces growth.

"Effectual working ... of every part": Godly, biblical church growth results from every member of the body fully using his spiritual gift, in submission to the Holy Spirit and in cooperation with other believers (Col. 2:19).

"Fitly joined together and compacted:" As He unites Christians with Himself, Christ also brings them into a harmonious relationship with one another. This harmonious relationship is accomplished "by that which every joint supplieth" or, "by every supporting ligament." The spiritual gifts mentioned (in verses 7-15), are figuratively likened to the various "ligaments" of a body.

Removing this figure, Christ joins believers together and unites them by the divinely ordained ministries of Christians who possess diverse spiritual gifts, which are exercised and used among believers for the common good. The church's spiritual growth then, comes from Christ through the believers' ministry to one another as they employ their spiritual gifts.

The church is the body of Christ. We cannot all be an arm, some must be a leg or even a big toe. God has chosen you to fit into the body at the place you will be of the most use. I like to think of the church as a great big board that a puzzle will fit into. Each part plays a vital part. The puzzle will not be complete, until each part takes its rightful place.

This is true of the body of Christ spoken of here as well. Until each part of the body takes its rightful place, you cannot have a completed body. Can you imagine what would happen if everyone wanted to be a hand? How could you walk? Just as the physical body is made up of a variety of parts, so is the body of Christ.

God chose each person to fulfill a unique part of the body that no one else can fill. You may not be the preacher, but what you do in the church is just as important. The body as a whole, is better off when each part functions properly. We should all love each other very much, since we are all part of the same body.

The proper working of each individual part recalls the importance of each believer's gift (verse 7; 1 Cor. 12:12-27). The growth of the church is not a result of cleaver methods but of every member of the Body fully using his spiritual gift in close contact with other believers. The power of the church flows from the Lord through individual believers and relationships between believers.

The physical body functions properly only as each member in union with every other member responds to the direction of the head to do exactly what it was designed to do.

Verses 17-19: In these verses, Paul gives 4 characteristics of the ungodly lifestyles which believers are to forsake.

Ephesians 4:17 "This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,"

"Therefore", joins the following passage with the preceding in a twofold manner. First, it resumes the thought begun (in verses 1-3), and continues to spell out what constitutes a worthy walk.

Second, since each Christian is divinely enabled with some spiritual gift, he must "walk not as other Gentiles walk", lest his much-needed contribution to the church's growth be sorely missed. Unbelieving Gentiles live "in the vanity of their mind," without proper purpose, causing all their efforts to obtain happiness to end in failure.

"Walk not as other Gentiles": "Walk" expresses daily conduct, and refers back to what Paul has said about the believer's high calling in Christ Jesus (in verse 1). Because Christians are part of the body of Christ, have been spiritually gifted by the Holy Spirit, and are edified through other believers, they should not continue to live like the rest of the ungodly (1 John 2:6). We cannot accomplish the glorious work of Christ by continuing to live the way the world lives.

"Gentiles": All ungodly, unregenerate pagan persons (1 Thess. 4:5 which defines them). Jews used the term in two common ways, first to distinguish all other people from Jews and second to distinguish all religions from Judaism. Gentiles therefore referred racially and ethnically to all non-Jews, and religiously to all pagans.

Gentiles here, is speaking of Gentiles who have not received Jesus as their Savior. Gentiles who have received Jesus as their Savior are really the spiritual house of Israel. Christians (whether Jew or Gentile), are in this world, but not of this world.

We are not to walk in a worldly fashion. We have given up our worldly mind and taken on the mind of Christ. Vanity of the mind should not be part of a Christian. Because unbelievers and Christians think differently they are therefore to act differently. As far as spiritual and moral issues are concerned, an unbeliever cannot think straight. His rational processes in those areas are warped and inadequate.

"The vanity of their mind": First, unbelievers are intellectually unproductive. As far as spiritual and moral issues are concerned, their rational processes are distorted and inadequate, inevitably failing to product godly understanding or moral living. Their life is empty, vain and without meaning. (Rom. 1:21-28; 1 Cor. 2:14; Col. 2:18). Because man's sinfulness flows out of his reprobate mind, the transformation must begin with the mind.

Ephesians 4:18 "Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:"

"Alienated from the life of God": Second, unbelievers are spiritually separated from God, thus ignorant of God's truth (1 Cor. 2:14). And their willing spiritual darkness and moral blindness is the result (Rom. 1:21-24; 2 Tim. 3:7). They are blind, or "hard" like a rock.

"The blindness of their heart" refers to the hardness of their will. Gentiles' obstinacy against the divine will has caused them to be separated from God's life. This characteristic of ungodly persons is ignorance of God's truth. Their thinking not only is futile but spiritually uninformed. The cause of their darkness, ignorance and separation from God is their willful determination to remain in sin. Then God blinds their minds.

Jesus said; seeing they do not see and hearing they do not hear. What He was really saying, is they were hearing words without understanding what those words meant. God has never been interested in a person accepting Him as his Savior because he understood salvation with his mind.

God wants our heart. We were walking through life in darkness, until the Light of Jesus shone forth in our heart. His Light does away with all darkness. The mind is an enemy of God, until it is converted into the mind of Christ. Faith in God does not come by being able to see something with your physical eyes.

Faith is believing in your heart things you cannot see with your eyes. Look, with me, at the next Scripture at a very good example of what happens to us when we encounter the Light of Jesus.

2 Peter 1:19 "We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:"

We have a brand new heart, stayed upon God when the blessed Light of Jesus shines in our heart. We are like Paul when he encountered the Light of the world. We are never the same when the Light of Jesus Christ shines in us and on us.

When men choose to petrify their hearts by constant rejection of the light (John 12:35-36), they became darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that's in them, and of the hardness of their heart. That is the unspeakable tragedy of unbelief, the tragedy of the person who makes himself his own god.

Ephesians 4:19 "Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness."

"Being past feeling": Third, unbelievers are morally insensitive. As they continue to sin and turn away from God, they become still more apathetic about moral and spiritual things (Romans 1:32). They reject all standards of righteousness and do not care about the consequences of their unrighteous thoughts and actions.

"Lasciviousness ... uncleanness": (the absence of all moral restraint, especially in the matter of sexual sins). Unbelievers are behaviorally depraved (Romans 1:28). As they willingly keep succumbing to sensuality and licentiousness, they increasingly lose moral restraint, especially in matters of sexual sins.

Impurity is inseparable from greediness, which is a form of idolatry (5:5; Col 3:5). That some souls may not reach the extremes of (verses 17-19), is due only to God's common grace and the restraining influence of the Holy Spirit.

"Being past feeling" means "having become calloused." These unbelievers have gone so deep in sin that they are insensitive to moral right and wrong.

People who live in the world are living in darkness. They are lost. Those who do not allow the Light of Jesus to transform them, are walking in darkness. There is no hope for them. They are caught up in the darkness committing every type of vile sin.

These hideous sins, mentioned here, are exactly what our society is caught up in today. A sin sick people are caught up in the sins mentioned. They are in darkness, and are not even aware there is a Light.

Those who are dying are desensitized to that which is killing them, because they choose it that way. Even when held up shamefully in full view of the world, their sins are not recognized as sinful or as the cause of increasing meaninglessness, hopelessness and despair (Romans 1:32).

Man is made for God, and designed according to His standards. When he rejects God and His standards he destroys himself in the process due to the result of personal choices based on principles that are specifically and purposely against God and His way.

The only cure for any of this is to repent of their sin and seek Jesus Christ the Light of the world. The only thing that does away with darkness is the Light. The things, here mentioned, are filthy sins. There is no cure for sin, except the Savior.

Verses 20-21: Learned ... heard ... taught": Three figurative descriptions of salvation, the new birth.

Ephesians 4:20 "But ye have not so learned Christ;"

To learn "Christ" means to learn Christian teaching and is a direct reference to salvation. To learn Christ is to be saved. Christian doctrine has instructed the readers not to "so" live as do unbelievers described (in verses 17-19).

1 John 2:4 "He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him."

1 John 2:15 "Love not the world, neither the things [that are] in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him."

The ways of God and the ways of the world are not compatible. The idea, promoted by some who claim to be evangelicals, that a Christian does not have to give up anything or change anything when he becomes a Christian is nothing less that diabolical.

That notion, under the pretense of elevating God's grace and of protecting the gospel from works righteousness, will do nothing but send many confidently down the broad way that Jesus said leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13).

To hold on to sin is to refuse God, to scorn His grace and to nullify faith. No Christian is totally free from the presence of sin in this life, but in Christ he is willingly freed from his orientation to sin. He slips and falls many times, but the determined direction of his life is away from sin.

This scripture, in just a few words, says it all. Christ is the answer, and they have not learned of Him.

Ephesians 4:21 "If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:"

"As the truth is in Jesus": The truth about salvation leads to the fullness of truth about God, man, creation, history, life, purpose, relationships, heaven, hell, judgment and everything else that is truly important. John summed this up in (1 John 5:20).

Instead of being ignorant of God's truth, the Christian has heard Christ and is taught in Him. In this context referring to the time when the readers were taught and came to believe the gospel, here called the truth ... in Jesus. These moments describe the moment of salvation/conversion. When a person receives Christ as Savior and Lord, he comes into God's truth.

To know Jesus and believe the Truth in Him sets you free from the desire to sin.

Verses 22-24: Christianity taught the addressees to

1. "Put off ... the old man," to renounce their pre-conversion life and sins;

2. "Be renewed in ... your mind," to be constantly changed, being brought more and more in line with God's own viewpoint; and

3. "Put on the new man," that is, to assume a new nature (character), and conduct (life), at conversion.

Ephesians 4:22 "That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;"

"Put off": To strip away, as in taking off old, filthy clothes. This describes repentance from sin and submission to God at the point of salvation. These are not human works required for divine salvation but inherent elements of the divine work of salvation. Paul's terms here are basically a description of repentance from sin and submission to God, so often taught as elements of regeneration.

This is in contrast to the unregenerate persons who continually resists and rejects God and lives in the sphere of dominating sin (the former manner of life), the Christian has heard the call to lay aside the old self.

"The old man": The worn out, useless and unconverted sinful nature corrupted by deceit. Salvation is a spiritual union with Jesus Christ that is described as the death plus burial of the old self and the resurrection of the new self, walking in newness of life. This transformation is Paul's theme (in Romans 6:2-8).

The flesh of man and the desires thereof is where the problem arises. That old man of flesh has to be crucified (put to death), that the man of the Spirit may live. John the Baptist said, you must be born again, and it is a true statement.

John 3:5-6 "Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and [of] the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."

We must bury that old man of flesh and the filthy lust of the flesh and live in the Spirit, if we are Christ's. The gospel invitation is to lay the old self aside in repentance from sin that includes not just sorrow about sin but a turning from sin to God.

Ephesians 4:23 "And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;"

"Be renewed in the spirit of your mind": Salvation involves the mind, which is the center of thought, understanding and belief, as well as of motive and action (Col. 3:1-2, 10). When a person becomes a Christian, God gives him a completely new spiritual and moral capability that a mind apart from Christ could never achieve. (1 Cor. 2:9-16).

This is just saying, get rid of that old carnal mind and take on the mind of Christ. God is a Spirit. The mind of Christ is Spirit. The mind of Christ that we take on is Spirit.

The renewed spirit of the believer's mind is a corollary to putting on the new self, which is the new creation made in the very likeness of God and has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. That which was once darkened, ignorant, hardened, calloused, sensual, impure and greedy is now enlightened, learned in the truth, sensitive to sin, pure and generous.

A computer can bring out only what you program into it. The mind is a giant computer. Erase all of those bad things in your mind by washing them away in the blood of Jesus. Reprogram your mind with the things of God. Fill your mind with the Word of God.

Ephesians 4:24 "And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness."

"Put on the new man": The renewal of the mind in salvation brings not simply a renovation of character, but transformation of the old to the new self (2 Cor. 5:17).

"Righteousness" relates to our fellow men and reflects the second table of the law (Exodus 20: 12-17).

"Holiness" (sacred observance of all duties to God) relates to God and reflects the first table (Exodus 20:3-11).

There is still sin in the believer's unredeemed human flesh, but he now possesses a new nature, a new self, a holy and righteous inner person fit for the presence of God. This is the believer's truest self.

"Which after God is created": In Christ, the old self no longer exists as it had in the past. The new self is created in the very likeness of God (Gal. 2:20).

When you receive Christ as your Savior, and are baptized, you bury that old man in the watery grave, and rise a new creature in Christ Jesus.

You are washed in the blood of the Lamb, and are wearing His righteousness. He took your sin on His body on the cross, and clothed you in His righteousness.

We are new, but not yet all new. We are righteous and holy, but not yet perfectly righteous and holy. But understanding the genuine reality of our transforming salvation is essential if we are to know how to live as Christians in the Body of Christ to which we belong.

Verses 4:25 - 5:2: This section gives practical guidelines as to how "the old man" (verse 22), can be laid aside and how "the new man", verse 24, can be assumed in daily living. The passage specifies five sins to be discarded, the virtues that are to replace them, and the motive for such an exchange:

1. Lying is to be replaced by truth telling, since Christians are fellow members (verse 25).

2. Sinful anger is to be replaced by (briefly held), righteous indignation, that the Devil may not be given opportunity (verses 26, 27).

3. Theft is to be replaced by honest work, in order that one may have the means to meet the needs of others (verse 28).

4. Foul language is to be replaced by gracious speech, that it may edify others and not grieve the Spirit (verses 29-30).

5. Resentment and wrath are to give way to kindness and forgiveness, since God has forgiven us (verses 31-32).

Ephesians 4:25 "Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of another."

The only reliable evidence of a person being saved is not a past experience of receiving Christ but a present life that reflects Christ. New creatures act like new creatures. God is not progressively making new creations out of believers; believers are those whom He has already made new creations. "If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come" (2 Cor. 5:17).

Although God sovereignty makes us new creatures, He also commands us in the strength of the Spirit to subdue our unredeemed humanness (1 Cor. 9:27), which still resides in us. And to live as new creatures in submission to Christ our new Master. The new paradox of the Christian life is that both God's sovereignty and man's will are at work. The faithful believer responds positively to God's sovereign declarations and commands.

"Putting away lying": More than simply telling direct falsehoods, lying also includes exaggeration and adding fabrications to something that is true. Cheating, making foolish promises, betraying a confidence, and making false excuses are all forms of lying, with which Christians should have no part (John 8:44; 1 Cor. 6:9; Rev. 21:8).

"Speak truth ... with his neighbor" (quoted from Zech. 8:16). God's work in the world is based on truth; and neither the church nor individual believers can be fit instruments for the Lord to use if they are not truthful.

Satan is the Father of lies. To be a liar would indicate that you belonged to Satan. God is Truth. We would not want to deceive members of our own body. Liars will not inherit the kingdom of God.

A believer can fall into lying just as he can fall into any sin, but if his life is a habitual flow of lies that proceed from a heart that seeks to deceive, he has no biblical basis for believing he is a Christian. The person who continually lies as a regular part of his daily living shows himself to be a child of Satan not of God (John 8:44).

Ever since the fall, lying has been a common characteristic of unregenerate mankind. Our society today is so dependent on lying that if it suddenly turned to telling the truth our way of life would collapse. If world leaders began speaking only the truth, World War III would certainly ensue.

Cheating in school and on income tax returns is a form of lying. Making foolish promises, betraying a confidence, flattery and making excuses are all forms of lying. When a person becomes a believer, he steps out of the domain of falsehood into the domain of truth, and every form of lying is utterly inconsistent with his new self.

God's economy if based on truth, and His people, either as individual believers or as the corporate church, cannot be fit instruments for His work unless they live in truthfulness. We are to speak truth to everyone and in every situation, but we have a special motive to be truthful with other believers, because we are fellow members of Christ's body, the church, and therefore members of one another.

Ephesians 4:26 "Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:"

"Be ye angry ... and sin not" (quoted from Psalm 4:4). By New Testament standards, anger can be either good or bad, depending on motive and purpose. Paul may have been sanctioning righteous indignation, anger at evil. This type of anger hates injustice, immorality, ungodliness and every other sin.

When such anger is unselfish and based on love for God and others, it not only is permissible but commanded. Jesus expresses this righteous anger (see Matthew 21:12; Mark 3:5; John 2:15).

Even Jesus got angry; the sin is not in the anger. Do not be angry without a cause. We must not hold a grudge. We must forgive. If we were still angry at the end of the day, it would indicate that we were holding a grudge. We must be quick to forgive.

Jesus was always angered when the Father was maligned or when others were mistreated, but He was never selfishly angry at what was done against Him. That is the measure of righteous anger.

Anger is sin, is anger that is self defensive and self serving. On the other hand, that is resentful of what is done against oneself. It is the anger that leads to murder and to God's judgment (Matthew 5:21-22).

Anger that is selfish, undisciplined and vindictive is sinful and has no place even temporarily in the Christian life. But anger that is unselfish and is based on love for God and concern for others not only is permissible but commanded. Genuine love cannot help being angered at that which injures the object of that love.

God will not forgive us, if we do not forgive our fellowman. If we do not quickly forgive, we will become bitter. Bitterness is a sin.

The church cannot function properly if its members shade the truth with one another or fail to work together honestly and lovingly. We cannot effectively minister to each other or with each other if we do not speak "the truth in love" (Eph. 4:15), especially among our fellow believers.

"Sun go down": Even righteous anger can turn to bitterness, so it should be set aside by the end of each day. If anger is prolonged, it may become hostile and violate the instruction of (Romans 12:17-21). Even the best motivated anger can sour, and we are therefore to put it aside at the end of the day.

Ephesians 4:27 "Neither give place to the devil."

Even righteous anger can easily turn to bitterness, resentment, and self righteousness. Consequently, Paul goes on to say, do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity.

Even the best motivated anger can sour, and we are therefore to put it aside at the end of the day. Taken to bed, it is likely to give the devil an opportunity to use it for his purposes. If anger is prolonged, one may begin to seek vengeance and thereby violate the principle taught (in Romans 12:17-21).

This is just saying; do not allow the devil to use you. Do not give him any room in your life at all. Do not allow him to consume your thoughts. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Ephesians 4:28 "Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labor, working with [his] hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth."

"Steal no more": Stealing in any form is a sin and has no part in the life of a Christian. Rather, let him work, producing what is beneficial (Exodus 20:15). The alternative to stealing is to provide for oneself, one's family, and others what is God honoring through honest, honorable means (2 Thess. 3:10-11; 1 Tim. 5:8).

Grand larceny, petty theft, taking some of your dad's money off the dresser, reneging on a debt, not paying fair wages or pocketing what a clerk overpays in change are all stealing. There is simply no end to ways we can steal, and whatever the ways are and whatever the chances for being caught, stealing is sin and has no part in the new walk of the new man in Christ.

"Give to him that needeth": A Christian not only should harm no one but should continually endeavor to help those who are in need (see Luke 14:13-14; Acts 20:33-35). a Christian's desire to earn more should be for the purpose of being able to give more and help more. Beyond providing for his own and family basic needs, he gains so he can give.

The alternative to stealing is to labor, in order to share with him who has need. It is God's plan for everyone to work who is able to do so.

"If anyone will not work, neither let him eat. For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all" (2 Thess. 3:10-11).

The Christian who does not work and "provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever" (1 Tim. 5:8).

It is very disturbing to me to see someone who proclaims Christianity, who is not honest in his business dealings. Stealing is a sin. We should have lost the desire to steal, when we buried the old man of flesh. The new man in Christ, has no desire to steal or commit any sin.

A Christian should never be involved in a job, profession, work or business that demands compromise of God's standards, that dishonors Him, violates His holy commands, or misleads or harms others in any way.

The Scripture above says to get you an honest job and make a living working and not by stealing.

Ephesians 4:29 "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers."

"Corrupt communication": (or unwholesome communication), the word for unwholesome refers to that which is foul or rotten, such as spoiled fruit or putrid meat. Foul language of any sort should never pass a Christian's lips, because it is totally out of character with his new life in Christ (see Col. 3:8; James 3:6-8; Psalm 141:3).

Off color jokes, profanity, dirty stories, vulgarity, double entendre, and every other form of corrupt talk should never cross our lips.

"Good to the use of edifying": The Christian's speech should be instructive, encouraging, uplifting, (even if it must be corrective), and suited for the moment (Prov. 15:23; 25:11; 24:26).

"Grace unto the hearers": (Col. 4:6). Because believers have been saved by grace and kept by grace, they should live and speak with grace. Our Lord set the standard (Luke 4:22).

Out of the issue of the heart, the mouth speaketh. If evil communication comes out of your mouth, you have an evil heart. A heart stayed upon God will say good things that will build up the person you are speaking to, and not tear them down.

The tongue is exceedingly difficult to control. It is "a fire," James says, "the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell. For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed, and has been tamed by the human race. But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison" (James 3:6-8).

A powerful motivation for putting off unwholesome talk is that not to do so will grieve the Holy Spirit of God. All sin is painful to God, but sin in His children breaks His heart. When His children refuse to change the ways of the old life for the ways of the new, God grieves. The Holy Spirit of God weeps, as it were, when he sees Christians lying instead of speaking the truth. Becoming unrighteously rather than righteously angry. Stealing instead of sharing and speaking corrupt instead of uplifting and gracious words.

Let Jesus wash your heart in His blood and cleanse you. Christians must speak things that build up Christ and the one they are speaking to.

Ephesians 4:30 "And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption."

"Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God": God is grieved when His children refuse to change the old ways of sin for those righteous ways of the new life. It should be noted that such responses by the Holy Spirit indicate He is a person.

Paul asks, in effect, "How can we do that which is so displeasing to the One by whom we have been sealed for the day of redemption?" The Holy Spirit is God's personal mark of authenticity on us, His stamp of divine approval.

How can we grieve the One who is our Helper, Comforter, Teacher, Advocate, Divine Resident of our hearts and guarantor of our eternal redemption? How can we ungraciously grieve God's infinitely gracious Holy Spirit? He has done so much for us that, out of gratitude, we ought not to grieve Him.

His personhood is also indicated by personal pronouns (John 14:17; 16:13), His personal care of believers (John 14:16, 26; 15:26), His intellect (1 Corinthians 2:11), feelings (Romans 8:27), will (1 Cor. 12:11), speaking (Acts 13:2), convicting (John 16:8-11), interceding (Romans 8:26), guiding (John 16:13), glorifying Christ (John 16:14), and serving God (Acts 16:6-7).

"Sealed unto the day of redemption": The Holy Spirit is the guarantor of eternal redemption in Christ for those who believe in Him.

We must first figure out what would grieve the Holy Spirit. It seems to me that to commit sin, after the Holy Spirit has taken up His abode in you, would be including the Holy Spirit in your sin. I also believe, that the Holy Spirit teaches us all Truth.

To reject Truth and believe a lie, then would grieve Him. We know that the Holy Spirit is the earnest of the Spirit, until the redemption of our body. To turn loose of the salvation that we received would be something that would grieve Him terribly. To turn away from God would be the ultimate thing to grieve Him.

Verses 31-32: These verses summarize the changes in the life of a believer mentioned (in verses 17-30). "Bitterness" reflects a smoldering resentment. "Wrath" has to do with rage, the passion of a moment. "Anger" is a more internal, deep hostility. "Clamor" is the outcry of strife out of control. "Slander" is evil speaking. "Malice" is the general Greek term for evil, the root of all vices.

Ephesians 4:31 "Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:"

The final change Paul mentions is from natural vices to supernatural virtues and amount to a summary of the other changes. Man's natural tendency is to sin and the natural tendency of sin is to grow into greater sin. And a Christian's sin will grow just like that of an unbeliever. If not checked, our inner sins of bitterness and wrath and anger will inevitably lead to the outwards sins of clamor, slander and other such manifestations of malice.

"Bitterness" reflects a smoldering resentment, a brooding grudge filled attitude. It is the spirit of irritability that keeps a person in perpetual animosity, making him sour and venomous.

Anger is a more internal smoldering. Clamor is the shout or outcry of strife and reflects the public outburst that reveals loss of control. Slander (blasphemia), from which we get blasphemy), is the ongoing defamation of someone that rises from a bitter heart. Malice is the general term for evil that is the root of all vices. These he says, must be put away from you.

These sins involve conflict between person and person, believer and unbeliever and worst still, between believer and believer. These are the sins that break fellowship and destroy relationships that weaken the church and mar its testimony before the world.

All the above-mentioned things are attributes of those who are still operating in the flesh. We must get the flesh and all its bitterness, anger, clamor, and evil speaking under the control of the Spirit of God.

Ephesians 4:32 "And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."

"God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. While we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son" (Romans 5:8, 10). If God is so gracious to us, how much more then, should we be kind, tender-hearted, and forgiving to fellow sinners, especially to one another.

In this, we see the actions of someone who has gotten rid of the sin of the flesh and is living for God. We might even say, allowed God to live through him. These things (in verse 32), are signs that follow those who are dead to the flesh and alive to the spirit.

"Even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you": Those who have been forgiven so much by God should, of all people, forgive the relatively small offenses against them by others. The most graphic illustration of this truth is the parable of (Matthew 18:21-35).

If we expect God to forgive our trespasses, we must forgive one another. We must pattern our life after Christ, if we are His followers. As He is tenderhearted, therefore we must be tenderhearted. Do it for Christ.

Ephesians Chapter 4 Continued Questions

1. Who is the head of the church?

2. What helps us not believe a false doctrine?

3. Who is the church?

4. What causes us to speak Truth?

5. What does the author compare the church parts to?

6. Just as the physical body is made up of a variety of parts, __ __ ____ _______ __ _______.

7. What is Gentiles, in verse 17, speaking of?

8. Who are Gentiles who have received Jesus really?

9. Why is vanity of the mind not part of a Christian?

10. What was Jesus meaning, when He said, seeing they do not see?

11. We were walking through life in darkness, until what happened?

12. What had the sinner given himself over to in verse 19?

13. What is the only cure for our sin sick society?

14. What is the only thing that does away with darkness?

15. Verse 20, says who is the answer?

16. The Truth is in ________.

17. We must put off the old _____.

18. Get rid of the old carnal mind, and take on the mind of ________.

19. We bury the old man in the watery grave at baptism and rise a ______ _______ in _______.

20. Who is the father of lies?

21. Be ye angry, and _____ _____.

22. If we do not quickly forgive, we will become _________.

23. Why should no corrupt communication come from our mouth?

24. How are some of the ways the Holy Spirit is grieved?

25. How does a Christian act differently than those of the world?

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Ephesians 5

Ephesians Chapter 5

Ephesians 5:1 "Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;"

"Be ... followers of God": The Christian has no greater calling or purpose than that of imitating his Lord. That is the very purpose of sanctification, growing in likeness to the Lord while serving Him on earth (Matt. 5:48).

The Christian life is designed to reproduce godliness as modeled by the Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. In whose image believers have been recreated through the new birth (Rom. 8:29; 2 Cor. 3:18; 1 Peter 1:14-16). As God's dear children, believers are to become more and more like their heavenly Father (Matt. 5:48; 1 Peter 1:15-16).

Those who carry God's name are to be "imitators" of His character. By His grace, it is possible to reflect Him seen in our present limitations. To know what God is like we must study His Word, His revelation of Himself and His great Self disclosure. The only way we can become imitators of God is for the Lord Jesus Christ to live His perfect life through us. We are totally dependent on His Spirit to become like Him.

Yet the more we learn of God's character the more we learn how far above us He is and how impossible in ourselves it is fulfill the command to be like Him, to be absolutely perfect, just as He is.

A Christian is a believer in and a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is what the verse above is saying also. If we really are Christians, then we should pattern our life after our Leader's life. Children, who have honorable parents, will usually be honorable also. Parents are a living example to their children.

We are sons of God, if we are really Christians. We must follow the example that He gave us in Jesus. The great commission that Jesus gave all believers is found (in Mark 16):

Mark 16:15 "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature."

He said to heal the sick and many of the other things that He had done on this earth. If we belong to Jesus, we should be doing the things He would do.

Ephesians 5:2 "And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor."

"Christ also loved us ... given himself for us": The Lord's the supreme example in His self-sacrificing love for lost sinners (4:32; Rom. 5:8-10). He took human sin upon Himself and gave up His very life that men might be redeemed from their sin, receive a new and holy nature, and inherit eternal life.

They are henceforth to be imitators of His great love in the newness and power of the Holy Spirit, who enable them to demonstrate divine love. Because forgiveness is the supreme evidence of God's love, it will also be the most convincing proof of our love. Love will always lead us to forgive others just as love led God in Christ to forgive us.

The greatest evidence of love is undeserved forgiveness. Because Christ has paid the penalty for every sin, we have no right to hold any sin against any person, even a nonbeliever. Just as the depth of God's love is shown by how much He has forgiven, the depth of our love is shown by how much we forgive.

Unforgiveness is also a measure of unbelief, because the person who feels no need for forgiveness feels no need for God. The person who sees the greatness of his own forgiveness by God's love, will himself in love be forgiving. He forgives in love because his heavenly Father has forgiven in love, and he desires to be an imitator of His Father.

I believe Christianity to be a way of life. When we are saved that is not the end. We must walk in the salvation we have received. Every offering and sacrifice in the Old Testament law was fulfilled in Jesus.

To get the in-depth teaching on this, read the lessons in Leviticus. Jesus is the everlasting sacrifice and offering to God for all mankind.

"A sweet-smelling savor": Christ's offering of Himself for fallen man pleased and glorified His heavenly Father, because it demonstrated in the most complete and perfect way God's sovereign, perfect, unconditional, and divine kind of love. Leviticus describes 5 offerings commanded by God for Israel. The first 3 were:

1. The burnt offering (Lev. 1:1-17), depicting Christ's perfection;

2. The grain offering (Lev. 2:1-16), depicting Christ's total devotion to God in giving His life to please the Father; and

3. The peace offering (Lev. 3:1-17), depicting His peacemaking between God and man. All 3 of these were a "soothing aroma to the Lord" (Lev. 1:9, 13, 17; 2:2, 9, 12, 3:5, 16).

The other two offerings, the sin offering (Lev. 4:1 - 5:13), and the guilt, or trespass, offering (Lev. 5:14 - 6:7), were repulsive to God because though they depicted Christ, they depicted Him as bearing sin (Matt. 27:46). While Christ was the sin bearer, God could not look on Him or rejoice in Him or be pleased in Him. In the end, when redemption was accomplished, the whole work pleased God completely.

Christ did not simply have a deep feeling and emotional concern for mankind. Nor did He sacrifice Himself for us because we were deserving. Romans 5:8, 10 tells us: "While we were yet sinners," He gave Himself for us purely out of sovereign, gracious love, taking our sin upon Himself and paying its penalty in our behalf. And He continues to love us as believers, even though we continue to sin and fall short of His perfection and His glory.

Those who are given God's nature through Jesus Christ are commanded to love as God loves. In Christ, it is now our nature to love just as it is God's nature to love, because His nature is now our nature. For a Christian not to love is for him to live against his own nature as well as against God's.

Lovelessness is therefore more than a failure or shortcoming. It is a sin, willful disobedience of God's command and disregard of His example. If God's love can reach out even to His enemies, how can we refuse to love our enemies? If He loves His imperfect children with a perfect love, how can we not love fellow believers, whose imperfections we share?

And if divine love led Christ to sacrifice Himself for unworthy and ungrateful sinners, how can we not give ourselves to fellow sinful people, unbelievers as well as believers, in His name?

Ephesians 5:3 "But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;"

"Fornication ... covetousness (greed)": In absolute contrast to God's holiness and love, such sins as these exist (also in verse 5), by which Satan seeks to destroy God's divine work in His children and turn them as far away as possible from His image and will.

Whatever God establishes, Satan will counterfeit. Where God establishes true love, Satan produces counterfeit love. Counterfeit love characterizes Satan's children, those who are of the world, just as true love characterizes God's children, those who are citizens of heaven.

Fornication (porneia, immorality) refers to all sexual sin, and all sexual sin is against God and against godly love. Loss of sexual control leads to its opposite, which is immorality and impurity (uncleanness). These consist of immoral thoughts, passions, ideas, fantasies, and every other form of sexual corruption.

The influence of the lustful world has been so pervasive and the church so weak and undiscerning that many Christians have become convinced that all sorts of sexual excesses and impurities are covered by grace or can be rendered morally safe if engaged in with the right attitude, especially if some scripture verse can be twisted to give seeming support.

Because of the strong sexual nature of human beings, sexual sins are powerful and can become perverted in unimaginable ways. If given free rein, sexual sins lead to complete insensitivity to the feelings and welfare of others, to horrible brutality, and frequently to murder as news stories testify daily.

As do many other Scriptures, this verse shows the close connection between sexual sin and other forms of impurity and greed. An immoral person is inevitably greedy. Such sins are so godless that the world should never have reason even to suspect their presence in Christians.

"As becometh saints" means that it is not proper for Christians or "saints" to be guilty of committing the sexual sins listed here. "Not be once named", means such deeds should not even be the topic of normal conversation.

When we are saved, we are born again, not with a license to sin. We are a new man in Christ. We no longer live, but Christ liveth in us. The old man of sin is buried along with the lust of the flesh.

Christians are new creatures in Christ. We no longer have the desire in our heart to sin. We must walk in newness of life. All of the sins above are part of the old flesh man that was buried.

Ephesians 5:4 "Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks."

"Not convenient": These three inappropriate sins of the tongue indicate any speech that is obscene and degrading or foolish and dirty, as well as suggestive and immoral. All such are destructive of holy living and godly testimony and should be confessed, forsaken, and replaced by open expressions of thankfulness to God (Col. 3:8). Convenient means "proper or fitting".

"Filthiness" has to do with general obscenity, and talk that is degrading and disgraceful. It comes from the same Greek root as "disgraceful" (in verse 12), where Paul says that such vile things should not even be mentioned, much less participated in and is related to the term (in Col. 3:8), meaning dirty speech.

"Foolish talk, used only here in the New Testament, is derived from moros (which means dull or stupid and is the word from which we get moron), and lego (to speak). It is stupid talk, talk only befitting someone who is intellectually deficient. It is sometimes referred to as low obscenity, foolish talk that comes from the drunk or the gutter mouth. It has no point except to give an air of dirty worldliness.

"Jesting" refers to talk that is more pointed and determined. It carries the idea of quickly turning something that is said or done, no matter how innocent, into that which is obscene or suggestive. It is the filthy talk of a person who uses every word and circumstance to display his immoral wit (like a clever talk show host). But the low obscenity of silly talk and the "high" obscenity of coarse jesting come from the same kind of heart, the heart given over to moral filthiness.

Christians need not to do any of the things listed in the last three verses. We must not even give the appearance of evil. These sins are signs of a life full of sin. They come of those who are sold out to the flesh and the devil.

The unselfish and loving person, on the other hand, focuses his life and his concern on the needs of others. Instead of using others, he serves them. Instead of trying to turn the