June 12/07 - Eph. 6:23-24
Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.
Peace, love, faith, grace, Paul's desire for the Ephesian Christians is overwhelming. Like a true leader, he wants his followers to have it all. And He knows the true Source is God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ [through the Holy Spirit].
Notice, Jesus is referred to as Lord twice. He will not be Saviour if we will not have Him as Lord. He is the complete Master of our lives. We say "Yes" to His every request and study to follow His every way.
June 11/07 - Eph. 6:21-22
But that ye also may know my affairs, and how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things: Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that ye might know our affairs, and that he might comfort your hearts.
Paul had a public ministry. He was not afraid to have his ministry and his life examined. In fact, he encouraged it. Those who want to minister into the lives of others have to be accountable to someone. The independent person or organization is in the danger zone. Even Paul was submitted to the apostles in Jerusalem. Anyone asking for donations should be willing to give independently audited statements to prove they are using the money wisely.
June 10/07 - Eph. 6:20
For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
Christianity is not all sugar and cream. Things are not always comfortable or go the way we would like them to. I'm sure Paul's first choice was not to be an ambassador in bonds. No one wants to sit in a rat-infested, smelly prison with iron chains and coarse Roman guards. We have to declare the Word of God without compromise - and not be proud or offensive either - and be willing to take whatever consequences God allows to come our way.
June 9/07 - Eph. 6:19
And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,
Even the great apostle Paul wanted prayer. If we are too proud to ask for prayer then we will fall. We need to be humble and admit when we need the help of others.
Paul spoke boldly throughout his life. He was hated and abused for it and in one case even left for dead. No wonder he wanted prayer. Anyone would have been tempted to give up. Anyone would have been tempted to keep his mouth closed or, at least, steer again from troublesome topics. Some churches today have given into this temptation. They stay away from any topic that might cause them to loose members. We need to pray that God will restore their integrity and the faithful declaration of His Word.
What is this mystery of the gospel? If you study the topic you will see that it centers around the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ with a special emphasizes on the Gentiles being allowed to join the family of God.
June 8/07 - Eph. 6:18
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
Prayer is to be a lifestyle. This does not mean everyone has ten hours a day to give to prayer. It means it is our way of life. Every time something comes up we take it to God in prayer. As we move through life we keep God in mind and pray for others and their needs. Yes, there will be special times of prayer - whether long or short - but we are always to be praying. Prayer should be our first action not our last act of desperation.
June 7/07 - Eph. 6:17
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
The helmet of salvation protects our mind. Satan cannot get into our mind. All he can do is offer suggestions, slip us ideas, pull at our emotions, but it is all from the outside. We have to be so careful that we do not take off the helmet of salvation by believing and acting on his false information. We stand firm in the belief that we are in Christ and nothing can touch us without Christ's permission for our ultimate benefit.
June 6/07 - Eph. 6:16
Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
The shield of faith is vital. It can be moved to protect any part of the body being attacked from the front. Satan attacks by trying to get us to doubt the goodness of God, to doubt our salvation, to doubt our victory. He even enlists our emotions or intellect to try to get us to doubt God. But the shield of faith is able to withstand all his onslaughts if we will use it. If we give in to self-pity, depression, or the like, our shield hangs down limp and useless. We cannot take this lightly. We cannot give in to doubts or self-pity. We take our stand with faith in the Word of God. We do not allow ourselves to give up no matter what emotions or thoughts attack us. We raise the shield of faith. We stand.
June 5/07 - Eph. 6:15
And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
The feet of the person who brings good news are blessed. And who has greater news than we do? The war between God and Satan has been won. Our God reigns. People can now be at peace with Almighty God. They can return to a relationship that was lost in the Garden of Eden. We must be quick and diligent in spreading the good news, the news of peace.
June 4/07 - Eph. 6:14
Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
So what is God's armour? How do we put it on and use it? Truth is a major spiritual weapon. You shall know the Truth and the Truth shall set you free. The Truth exposes Satan's lies. Our loins - where the reproductive organs are - needs to be covered with Truth. We can only reproduce what we are. If we are going to have spiritual children we need to know and pass the Truth on to them.
Our heart and chest needs to be protected with righteousness. Satan came to attack Jesus but was unsuccessful because he could find nothing in Him on which to get a hold. Jesus lived a righteous life. We stand in the righteousness of Christ and we must make every effort to practice the righteousness of Christ in our lives. We cannot indulge sin or even wishfully mediate on it.
June 2/07 - Eph. 6:13
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
There is an evil day. The Christian life is not all glamour and roses. All your problems are not instantly solved. There comes a time when the forces of Hell break against our lives. It gets tough. Everything seems to go wrong. We want to give up. We wonder if it is worth it. If we have on God's armour, we will stand. We may not advance during an evil day, but we don't have to lose ground. Through God, we can stand. Victory will come in the end - if we don't give up.
May 31/07 - Eph. 6:12
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
It is easy to get our eyes on the natural causes and forget there are unseen forces at work. Job suffered a series of natural disasters, but it was Satan who brought them about. Even evil people, while they are responsible for their actions, are only tools in the hands of Satan. They may think they are free but they are driven by forces they cannot understand. We need to keep our focus. Spiritual enemies are fought with spiritual weapons.
May 29/07 - Eph. 6:11
Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
You and I have no armour. We are totally defenseless against Satan's onslaughts. It is only as we put on God's armour that we can stand against Satan. In God's armour we cannot fail. However, if we become proud or careless, we are on our way to defeat. As Christians, we have nothing to fear if we follow God. If we try to flirt with sin, we will be taken down and out. It is a serious war we are in.
May 25/07 - Eph. 6:10
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
All these things that Paul has been talking about and more cannot be done in our own strength or by our own will power. We will end up defeated and frustrated. That's not what the Christian life is about.
The demands are high but so is the provision. God never asks anything of us that He does not provide for us. We stand in His strength. We march ahead in the power of His might. As Hudson Taylor said, "God's will, done in God's way, will never lack God's provision."
May 24/07 - Eph. 6:9
And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.
Employers are not off the hook. God watches them as well. He knows if they are mistreating their employees. He knows if they are being unfair or underhanded. He knows if they are unjust or cruel with their words or actions. God looks on them just the same as He does employees. He will give just judgment.
Christian businesses should be the best places to work. They should have more care and concern for their employees than any other company.
May 22/07 - Eph. 6:7-8
With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.
The Lord watches our actions. He knows if we only work hard when we are being watched. He knows if we steal extra time on our breaks. He knows if we use company property for personal gain. He knows. He also sees when we put in extra effort that nobody notices. He sees when we take pride in our job. He sees when we remain cheerful and hard working even after being run down by the boss. He sees.
God will reward us for our efforts. It is to Him that we look for our provisions, not to the instrument He is using at the moment. If we see God as our Provider and we work hard, we never have to fear loosing a job. God can provide a better one.
May 21/07 - Eph. 6:5-6
Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;
Christian employees should be the happiest and hardest workers any company has. They should never complain or whine or make demands of their employers. Strikes, walk-outs, tardiness, and half-hearted work are the reverse of Christian ethics. We are not really serving the employer anyway. We are serving Christ and He is the One Who will judge our work...and He is ultimately the One who pays us. If you want a raise talk to God, don't bully your employer!
May 18/07 - Eph. 6:4
And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Fathers are to train and teach their children. Even in our modern society the primary responsibility for child training is the fathers. His wife will be a great helpmate in this area, but his is still the final responsibility. He may contract out parts of the formal training to others [school, music lessons, sports, etc], but he must be sure his children are receiving Godly instruction. To allow ungodly teachers to influence his children not only is a rejection of God's ways but also one way to provoke that children to wrath by bringing conflict and confusion into their lives.
Fathers who expect their children to live in a certain way should lead by example. For a father to expect something from their children that they are not willing to give themselves only provokes their children to wrath. For example, a father who wants his children to go to church should always be there himself... even if his favourite sports game is on TV. We cannot lead further than we are willing to go ourselves.
May 16/07 - Eph. 6:2-3
Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.
Honour your father and mother is not only the first commandment with a promise, but also it is the only one of the Ten Commandments that has a specific promise attached to it. This shows the importance of it. They will have a long and happy life.
The command is not just for young people. Even adults are to continue to honour their parents. In adulthood there is change of relationship - and the spouse takes priority - but there is to remain an honour and care for the parents.
Does this promise come true? Do obedient and respective children actually live longer? We need to look at this on two levels. First, this is a declaration of the general will of God. It is God's will that respective children live longer. In individual cases God may have a specific will for that life which overrules His general will. Second, this is statement about society in general. A society in which most children honour their parents will be a health society characterized by the long live of its citizens. We recognize this when we say that the family is the building block of society.
May 15/07 - Eph. 6:1
Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.
After dealing with the parents, Paul moves to the children. Christianity is very practical. It is easy to get lost in theology or the emotion of worship, but if we are not applying it in practical ways we are only deceiving ourselves.
Wives are to submit to their husbands. Husbands are to love their wives. Children have the responsibility of obeying their parents. Their parents will not always be right, but their authority as God's representatives must be honoured. This is right in God's eyes.
May 14/07 - Eph. 5:33
Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.
Just because the marriage relationship is a picture of a heavenly relationship does not make it any less important. The opposite is true. We need to work at making the picture accurately reflect the reality. Some people are tempted to neglect their spouse or family to pursue "spiritual" activities. This is sin. One of the basic responsibilities that God has given us is looking after our spouse and family. To neglect them would be to give a false picture to them [and the world] of Christ neglecting His church. We must be a balanced people. We cannot neglect the family for the church nor can we neglect the church for the family.
May 11/07 - Eph. 5:32
This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
A Godly marriage is a picture of Christ's relationship to the Church. Jesus cares for us, as His church, more than we would care for our own bodies. Sometimes we get the image that Jesus is against us, doesn't hear us, and doesn't care about us. This is a satanic lie. At times tough decisions have to be made for the ultimate good. Jesus has eternity in mind and He will not pander to our earthly - often selfish - whims. Nevertheless, it is His desire, just like Godly husband, to not only meet our needs but also to bless us according to His ability to give and our ability to receive. A husband delights in blessing his wife, so Christ delights in blessing His Church.
And just as the wife is to be united to her husband in his goals and objectives, so we are to be united to Christ to fulfill His goals and objectives in our lives and on this planet. We are here to bless our Husband and futher His objectives, not to selfishly press our own objectives.
May 10/07 - Eph. 5:31
For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
Because the marriage relationship is to picture the relationship of Christ and the Church, it is to be the priority relationship. A man's wife is to be more important to him than his parents. They are to leave their parents and begin a new family unit. In the same way, parents are not to interfere with this new family [neither is the government!]. A man must stand with his wife and defend her against in-law criticism.
The husband and wife are no more two people but they are one person with two expressions. That is why when one hurts the other, they are really hurting themselves.
May 09/07 - Eph. 5:30
For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
We are members of the body of Christ. We are not just friends but we have actually become a part of Him. We are one and this is pictured in the marriage relationship. This is one reason Paul warned against sexual sin - we are not just degrading ourselves.
May 08/07 - Eph. 5:29
For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:
Just as the Lord looks after the Church building it and providing for it, so husbands should delight in building up their wives. They should be happy - not jealous - when their wives succeed in any area of life. A husband's goal should be to see his wife develop to her fullest potential. He should also be on the watch to protect her from all harmful influences.
May 07/07 - Eph. 5:28
So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.
Nobody likes to hurt themselves. We all like our bodies to feel good and do whatever we can to prevent pain. A husband who hurts his wife - physically, mentally, or spiritually - is hurting himself. He is a short-sighted, selfish fool. A husband's greatest privilege and responsibility in human relationships is loving his wife.
May 3/07 - Eph. 5:27
That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
The goal of Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, is to have a holy church. We are cleansed by His blood and stand perfect before God the Father, but our lives need work in order to bring our experience to our position. We should never take sin lightly. We must be at constant war with anything that would separate us from God. Our goal is to walk without deliberate sin and to instantly confess and forsake all unconscious sin when the Holy Spirit brings it to our mind.
May 1/07 - Eph. 5:26
That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
How does Christ set apart and cleanse His people? Through the Word of God. God's Word washes over us sweeping away wrong ways of thinking and acting. We need to be people who study and apply the Word of God in our lives. We are different because we order our lives according to the commands of God's Word not according to personal whims and emotions or government dictates.
Husbands can build their wives up by how they speak to them. Words of encouragement, words of loving instruction, words from the Word of God, and a self-sacrificing example are all part of a husband's responsibility toward his wife.
Apr 28/07 - Eph. 5:25
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
Husbands are to love their wives in the same way Christ loved the church. Jesus left his wonders of heaven to suffer and die on the earth. There was no price He considered too great in order to provide for His church. There was no cost to great. Husbands have the great challenge of demonstrating this love for their wives. They should be willing to make any sacrifice necessary to benefit their wives, including losing their lives if necessary.
Apr 27/07 - Eph. 5:24
Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
God has a line of authority. The marriage relationship is to illustrate the relationship between Christ and the church. Through reading the Word of God, prayer, and other things we develop a loving relationship with God where we are free to share our lives and most intimate thoughts. In a Godly marriage, the husband earns the trust, love, and confidence of his wife. It is then no problem for the wife to be in submission to her husband. It becomes a joyful following of the line of authority [which has nothing to do with superior/inferior].
In marriages where the husband is not what he should be in Christ, the wife still needs to be in submission in all things which do not hinder her faith. She obeys him out of her love and submission to Christ.
Apr 26/07 - Eph. 5:23
For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
How is Christ the head of the church? He operates in submission to the Father. He, Himself, said He did only those things that please the Father. Jesus walked in complete obedience to the Law of God - which all meant that love for God and for His neighbour ruled His life.
So husbands do not have complete or independent power over their wives. They are to be men of God in complete submission to the way and will of the Father. They are to operate according to Scripture in all things. Their wives are to be loved and cherished. They are to consult and work with their wives, but the final decision and responsibility is theirs.
While husbands are not their wives' saviour in a redemptive way, like Christ, they are to be willing to give their lives for the safety and benefit of the wives.
Apr 25/07 - Eph. 5:22
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
Men love this verse, but like to ignore verse 25. Sometimes people present this as women in general being in submission to men in general. That is not was this verse is talking about at all. A wife [one specific woman] is to be in submission to her husband [one specific man].
From the previous verse, we know that all of us [no gender mentioned] are to be in submission one to another. Submission is a part of the Christian lifestyle. Paul moves to the marriage relationship in order to give a specific example. The husband is the authority in the home [under God]. The wife is to be in submission to him. This does not mean she is a silent, down-trodden person. God designed her to be a helper. She has valuable input. Her thoughts, insights, and actions are vital to the success of the family - and often to the success of her husband as well. But, when it comes to making the final decision, the husband stands before God as responsible for the decision and its consequences. Abdicating the decision to his wife will not remove his responsibility.
This illustrates to us that all of us are to be submissive to those whom God has placed in authority over us. A husband rebelling against his pastor is the same sin as a wife rebelling against her husband. Also, where we are weak in an area of life, we need to search out a mature Christian who is strong in that area and submit to them so that their strength can flow to our weakness. [See Making Of A Blood Covenant course.] Mutual submission is God's way to destroying pride and building lives.
Apr 23/07 - Eph. 5:21
Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
A third part of being filled with the Spirit is being in submission one to another. We are part of one another. Our submission is not only to God but to God's people. We are to work together for the common cause of the Kingdom of God and our love of God. Often we focus on the submission of wives to their husbands and forget the context. Biblical submission is something for all Christians - male and female. Submission has nothing to do with superiority, but with respect, common goals, and authority.
Apr 21/07 - Eph. 5:20
Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
A second part of being filled with the Spirit is giving thanks for all things. It is easy to give thanks for the good things, the things we like, but we are supposed to give thanks for all things. When we thank God for things that seem to us to be bad we are exercising our faith. We are declaring that we trust God's superiour wisdom. We believe that He can and will work all things together for our good and so we thank Him in advance.
Here we are specifically instructed to give thanks to God the Father. We sometimes have a harsh mental picture of God the Father. This is Satan's lie. It was because God the Father so loved the world that He sent His Son. It is the Father's love that richly gives us all things and the Father deserves our thanks and praise.
However, the only way we can approach the the Father is through the Son. We do not come on our own merits but on the merits of Christ.
Apr 19/07 - Eph. 5:19
Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
One of the things being filled with the Spirit includes is speaking to ourselves in spiritual songs. We are to be a joyous people. The song of the Lord is to be on our lips and in our heart. This is a choice we make. God doesn't force us to sing. We choose to sing even when we feel discouraged or depressed. We can encourage ourselves in the Lord. We do not have to depend on others - although they can be a help. There is nothing wrong with speaking to ourselves, if we are saying the right things! We are not crazy, we are simply building ourselves up in the Lord. When our mind is focused on God we will not need the false supports of the world such as excessive drinking.
Apr 18/07 - Eph. 5:18
And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
Scripture does not condemn drinking wine, but it does condemn being drunk. Some Christians preach complete abstinence, and although this is a sure way never to be drunk, it is a personal conviction not a Biblical command.
Again we see the putting off and putting on principle. We are to put off drunkenness - or any excessive living - and put on the Spirit of God. We are to be filled with God. When He fills our live, there is no room for sin.
Apr 17/07 - Eph. 5:17
Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.
We need to take time to discover what God's will is. A major part of this is studying and knowing the Word of God. He has revealed His will in His Word. The problem is we are so intent on our own agenda that we try to make them the will of God. For an extreme example, many people throughout history have tried to justify slavery as the will of God. They started out with their beliefs and then went to the Scripture to try and prove it. We may shake our heads at them but we do the same thing in hundreds of ways. Think about the way you vote, the causes you support, the schools to which you send your children, the hobbies you have, etc. Have we been wise and searched for God will, or have we been foolish and called our will, God's will.
Apr 14/07 - Eph. 5:16
Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
We need to use our time wisely. It is easy to get bogged down with the things of this world - even things which are not necessarily wrong in themselves. The question is: What is the best use of our time? We need to budget our time just as we should budget our finances. In fact, our time is more important. Money can be replaced, time cannot.
We tend to think that our time is the worst that has ever been. Yes, our days are evil but there have been other evil days. For most of earth's 6,000 year history the light of the gospel only shone in one small place. The rest of the earth was in darkness. At times it seemed as if even that small light would go out. Now the gospel is world-wide. The opposition may be great, but so is the opportunity. Darkness doesn't frighten God. Often it is the time He chooses to shine His brightest Light.
Apr 13/07 - Eph. 5:15
See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,
Christians sometimes think that after they are saved they can just glide along without effort. Nonsense. We stepped into the front lines of a bloody war. Yes, we have God's protection as we walk wisely. If we are going to stumble along carelessly, we are going to be defeated. Only as we walk wisely can we successfully complete the mission God has given us.
Apr 12/07 - Eph. 5:14
Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.
What is the solution to living in the dark? Turn on the Light! Come to Jesus, repent of sin, and be filled with light. It's not hard, but it is supernatural. Christ rises us from the state of spiritual death. We step into real life for the first time. Eternal life is birthed within us and develops over time.
Apr 11/07 - Eph. 5:12-13
For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.
The light of the Gospel exposes evil. People who love their sin are bitter adversaries of Christianity. They want to convince others that their sin is a right or an acceptable alternate lifestyle. They fight to be accepted in their sin. They hate the light of the gospel to shine on them for it exposes them for the rebellious, depraved sinners that they are. They refuse to repent and abandon their sin and so march stubbornly into Hell dragging as many people as they can with them.
Apr 10/07 - Eph. 5:11
And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
We are to distance ourselves from evil. We are not to hang around with it or take pleasure in the wrongdoing of others. It is easy to take secret pleasure in the sins of others - one reason internet pornography is so popular. Nevertheless, sin destroys even those who sin through others. We are to reject all evil. We expose and fight against sin. It is true Christians who have battled slavery, prostitution, injustice, abortion, and other social evils. They have often faced intense opposition from within the Christian community. We have to quit trying to be like the world to be accepted. Non-Christian's don't want to see a "white-washed" world, they want to see something different. They need to see the reality of Jesus Christ. They want to know if Christians have really found the answer to the hunger in their soul. As long as we are compromising to be like them, they will not think we have any answers that different from what they already know.
Apr 9/07 - Eph. 5:10
Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.
As we walk in the Light, we discover what it is that pleases God. We start with small steps. As we move along we become more confident and more knowledgeable. Like the child learning to walk in the natural, we stumble, we "sit down", we hold our hands out to daddy. Gradually we become skilled until finally we are running races.
Apr 7/07 - Eph. 5:9
(For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)
When the Spirit of God is in our lives all sorts of good fruit begin to appear. Many times we don't see it ourselves at first. Just like a child doesn't think he is growing until someone points it out. Others often see changes in our lives before we do. Sometimes we need to pause and look back at where we have come from. We have made more progress than we think. Of course, that is not a reason for pride because it is a work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Apr 6/07 - Eph. 5:8
For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:
We are no longer the same people that we were. We have come from the Kingdom of Darkness to the Kingdom of Light. Our perspective should be different. Our lifestyle should be different. Our goals should be different. We no longer live for our own glory but for the glory of God. Anyone who becomes a Christian should have foundational differences in their life. If a person has been a "good moral" person, there may not be dramatic visible differences but there must be a heart or core change.
Apr 4/07 - Eph. 5:7
Be not ye therefore partakers with them.
Because of the judgment or wrath of God we are to disassociate ourselves from evil people. This doesn't mean that we don't interact with them. If that was the case, as Paul points out in another place, we would have to leave the world altogether. But we participate in or condone their actions. To do so places us in the place where we may receive the consequences of their actions in our lives in this world. Of course, if we have been genuinely saved, our eternal destiny is secure. However, if we enjoy engaging in sinful activity we need to example ourselves to see if we have been genuinely saved or if we have only had an emotional or intellectual experience.
Apr. 3/07 - Eph. 5:6
Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.
As we said below, we should not be deceived by those who claim to be Christians but live with unrepentant sin in their lives. In our humanistic perspective we tend to look at a person's personality instead of their character. We make judgments based on whether we like a person or not. This is the world system of judgment. Jesus wants us to judge with righteous judgment. Their "fruits" have to match up with the objective Word of God not our subjective emotions.
Evil people - within or without the church - will face the judgment of God. There is, of course, the Final Judgment at the Second Coming. Often there are judgments or consequences which come upon them in this life as well.
Mar 31/07 - Eph. 5:5
For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
Those who willingly engage in sin identify themselves as belonging to the Kingdom of Darkness. They may claim to be Christians, but they are self-deceived. We should not be deceived. A person who has a genuine heart change, while he may still struggle with sin, no longer desires to live in that evil lifestyle. A modern example is homosexuality. A person who claims to be a Christian homosexual is self-deceived and not a Christian at all. A Christian may struggle with the temptation of homosexuality, but he realizes it is a sin to be confessed and conquered - not something to be proud of or accepted as an "alternate lifestyle."
Mar 30/07 - Eph. 5:3-4
But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.
Sin destroy the pure love that we are to have for God and for each other. We are to be a war with all sin in our lives, driving all expressions of it from our lives. Interesting that foolish talking and jesting or teasing is listed with other sins. We need to guard our mouths. Teasing, bad jokes, putting people down are all sins which we need to rid our lives of.
Again, we see the putting of and putting on principle. We put off foolish speaking and put on giving of thanks. Our mouth becomes an instrument of praise instead of an instrument of destruction.
Mar 28/07 - Eph. 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 sweetsmelling savour.
We are to love each other in the same way Christ loves us. Because the love of God is placed in our hearts we can love in the same way He loves. It is not our love, but God's love in us. It takes the step of faith to release it. We may not feel loving, but as we step out and act in a loving way we find God's strength and love in us. Of course, we also need to know the Biblical definition of love instead of using our humanistic presuppositions.
Jesus gave Himself as the sacrifice for our sins. God the Father loved us enough to send Jesus. The entire plan of salvation is a revelation of the love of God. The sacrifice of Jesus was enough to take away all our sin. It was pleasing to God. We are also to express the self-sacrificing love of Christ in our loves.
Mar 27/07 - Eph. 5:1
Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;
In today's western world people loved to have heroes. They become "fans" of movie stars, sports figures, famous people, and even Christian leaders. They follow after these people, reading everything they can about them, defending them, dressing and acting like them, believing every word they have to say. Often these "heroes" lead their followers to physical and spiritual destruction.
God wants us to be followers of Him. We are to be His greatest "fans." We are to hang on every Word He speaks. We are to imitate Him in all ways - great and small. We are to enjoy being with other God fans and to love them for the sake of God. It is sad that the ungodly are often more dedicated to their heroes than Christians are to the Almighty Creator and Redeemer of the Universe. Let us follow God in all things.
Mar 26/07 - Eph. 4:32
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
After putting off our evil actions and attitudes we must choose to put on righteous actions and attitudes. We do this because God has forgiven us for Christ's sake. We have all offended God far more than anyone could offend us. Yet, because of Jesus, God as freely forgiven us. He expects us to pass on His forgiveness to those who have offended us. We need to treat others the way God treats us. What a high calling! What a challenge! When we start to move in this we certainly will not be bored.
Mar 24/07 - Eph. 4:31
Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
Again we see the putting off principle. We need to consciously and deliberately put off these evil actions and attitudes. It is a choice that we make and the Holy Spirit enables us to carry out. There are no excuses, no "I couldn't help myself." We choose to either act Godly or wickedly. We have to take responsibility for our choices.
Mar 22/07 - Eph. 4:29
And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
How do we grieve the Holy Spirit? By walking in sin. By choosing our own ways above God's ways. By failing to honour the work of Christ.
Grieving the Holy Spirit is like the husband who hurts his wife - he is hurting and limiting himself. It is foolishness. It is alienating the only One Who can help and direct us through life. It is the spirit of independence.
What should we do when we have realized that our actions or attitudes have been grieving the Holy Spirit? We must repent immediately in humility. We must seek His forgiveness. We must change our lifestyle - by His power - and learn to walk in the Spirit. When we walk in the Spirit we will not fulfill the desires of the flesh. There is war within our own body between our new nature and our past lifestyle. We cannot afford to take it lightly.
Mar 22/07 - Eph. 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.
As James points out, our most dangerous and unruly member is one of our smallest parts - our tongue. We can use it to destroy so easily. We may not even think about what we have said but it can ruin someone else's day, week, or life. We have to be on guard that only words that build and encourage come from us. This doesn't mean that we can't speak correction in love. We sometimes need to correct, but it is always in love for the benefit of the hearer.
Mar 21/07 - Eph. 4:28
Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.
Again Paul emphasizes the putting off and putting on principle. No only is a thief to show genuine repentance by giving up his sinful ways [which would include restoration according to Biblical Law], but he is to put on a new lifestyle which focuses on working for a living. And more than that, in his former life his activities took things from people, but now he is to be generous in giving to people in need. He is to move from selfishness to selflessness. It is all part of putting off and putting in. This principle applies to any sin.
Mar 20/07 - Eph. 4:27
Neither give place to the devil.
The devil goes around like a roaring lion. He is seeking for people to devour. He is looking for those who will give him a place in their lives. Jesus could say that Satan could find nothing wrong in Him...believe me, Satan tried!
How do we give place to the devil or, in other words, how do we let the devil get a foothold in our lives? Anytime we allow sin to abide in our lives we become a target. Anytime we have a priority other that the Lordship of Jesus Christ in every area of life we are in danger. Anytime we think or act as if our beliefs are more important that the Word of God Satan has his ring through our nose. This becomes very practical. It shows itself in how we treat our spouse, our children, our employer[or employees], and in a thousand other ways.
Mar 17/07 - Eph. 4:26
Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
Anger in and of itself is not wrong - contrary to what many counselors may say. Jesus was angry and He did not sin. It is not anger that is the problem, it is selfish anger, uncontrolled anger, or misdirected anger that is the problem. We should be angry about the injustice in the world or against us personally. We can be angry when satan wins a battle and lives are destroyed. Anger can motivate us to action or confrontation with ungodly people. But our anger must be resolved on a daily basis. We cannot carry anger forward to the next day. We must seek the resolution daily. If it cannot be solved daily then we determined what we can do about it in the future [i.e. fight against abortion] then we place the matter in God's hands before going to bed. "Carried over" anger is destructive.
Mar 15/07 - Eph. 4:25
Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.
We need to stop lying [old nature] and replace it with truthfulness [new nature]. We are members of each other. In other words, if I hurt you with my lie [or anything else] I am also hurting myself. Anything that hurts the body in general...hurts. If I smash my thumb with a hammer I do not care that my toe isn't in pain. My attention is focused on the area of pain. So if we hurt another member of the body of Christ the whole body is suffering.
Mar 14/07 - Eph. 4:24
And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
As we mentioned on March 12th, we have to put off the old man or old nature. Unfortunately, many counselors and advisors stop there. We are constantly told what not to do. That is only half the story. We have to put off the old nature, but we also need to put on the new nature. Many times we fail to have victory over a sin because we are only going half way. We are trying to stop a sinful activity. That never works. We must replace the sinful activity with a righteous activity. In order to stop something, we must start something. For example, if we are tempted with greed, we combat it with paying our tithes, giving offerings, and helping those less fortunate than ourselves. Instead of hoarding money, we develop the habit of giving.
Mar 13/07 - Eph. 4:23
And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
When we accept Christ, we are re-born immediately. We have become a spiritual creation in right relationship with Almighty God, Who is now our Father. However, our mind still thinks in the old sinful ways. Our mind needs to be renewed and transformed into our new lifestyle. We get tripped up into sin because our mind has not caught up to our born-again lifestyle. Our mind is renewed as we read, mediate on, and memorize the Scripture. We must then make the conscious decision to apply the Word of God to every area of life.
Mar 12/07 - Eph. 4:20-22
But ye have not so learned Christ; If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
We know Christ does not operate the same way the world operates. When we come to Christ we learn a new lifestyle. We should study the Scripture - including Biblical Law - to see how God requires us to live. We have to be willing to "put off" or abandon any ungodly lifestyles. Our loyalty to Christ demands nothing less.
Notice: The King James Version uses the word "conversation." We need to remember that words change meaning. The KJV was written in the 1600's and many words no longer mean exactly the same as they did then. Today conversation means talking with others. When the KJV was written conversation was your entire lifestyle. We need to be aware of these differences if we read the KJV - which is still one of the best versions available.
Mar 10/07 - Eph. 4:17-19
This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, 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: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
We are not to walk as the world walks. It is so easy to be entangled with the ways of the world. Teenagers are not the only ones who are subject to peer pressure. None of us want to be on the outside...rejected by friends. Yet we have different standards, different goals, and different methods. This confuses the ungodly who cannot understand why everyone doesn't seek to indulge their flesh. If it feels good do it. They reveal a dead heart. We need to be separate. We are not to be ashamed of our way of life. It is where there is real joy and peace. We already have what they are looking for but will never find unless they come to Christ.
Mar 9/07 - Eph. 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.
Christ is the Head of the body. He puts us together in the way that pleases Him and gives each one of us an important part to play. We may think we are unimportant but not so in God's eyes. A tooth may not seem very important but you sure notice it when you have a toothache. You may not think much of your heart. It faithfully works day after day but if it stops working you are in trouble! Big or small, seen or unseen we all have a vital part to play in the Body of Christ. If we are Missing In Action, the Body suffers and is not as effective as it could be. And again, all things are to be done from a motive of love not self-importance.
Mar 8/07 - Eph. 4:15
But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
These leaders of God speak the truth in love. The truth about ourselves in not always easy to take. They may burst our false images and masks. They may expose our sin which needs to be dwelt with. But their motive is always our benefit. They want us to grow to be mature in Christ. Their desire to for to get rid of every hinderance. They have our eternal benefit in mind.
Mar 7/07 - Eph. 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;
These spiritual human gifts that God gives to His body are to bring us to maturity. They protect us as we are growing from the wolves who would devour us. They have always been - and always will be until the Second Coming - people who try to deceive others for financial gain or out of spite. They seek destruction. They do not operate under Godly authority. Much of what is taught as "end times" doctrine today is simply ungodly superstition and sensationalism to pander to our flesh and fears. It misdirects us form the purpose of God in our lives and in the world.
Mar 06/07 - Eph. 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 fulness of Christ:
We are born as spiritual children but God's desire is that we grow to be mature sons and daughter of God. We are to walk in unity as we expand our knowledge and experience of God. The ultimate goal is that we would become like Jesus. Wow! What a goal. Jesus, in His earthly life, showed us what a real human was designed to be like. We are all living as sub-humans or less than who God designed us to be. The goal is to reach what God wanted humans to be. The closer we grow to Jesus, to closer we come to reaching the goal.
Mar 03/07 - Eph. 4:12
For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
Why did God give us these people as gifts? Because we need a lot of help! The goal is mature Christian living. These living gifts help to train us in the ways of God. We should not be immaturely rebellious but humbly submissive. They also work in the ministry bringing healing and wholeness into the lives of people. [And train us for the same.] Finally, their purpose is to build up the body of Christ. They encourage, instruct, and rebuke all with the goal of a mature and loving Christian community which can reach and impact a needy world.
Mar 02/07 - Eph. 4:11
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
Other than the Holy Spirit, what gifts did Jesus give to His body? People. Things of this world pass away so the greatest gifts are not physical. Jesus gave apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. These men and women of God are gifts from God to help us to grow and become mature for our eternal benefit. We should prize these people - and be gracious with their weaknesses - as treasures given to us by God.
Mar 01/07 - Eph. 4:9-10
(Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)
Jesus descended to take the keys from Satan. Then He ascended far above all heavens. Nothing and no one is above Jesus Christ. His is the Name above all Names. Everything moves according to His will and in submission to His commands. Those who fight against Christ can only face defeat and have their actions turned to the benefit of Christ's people.
Note: Jesus ascended. The current wild talk about finding the bones of Jesus in a tomb will one day be shown to be either an error or a hoax. Christians should not be moved by such foolishness. The great harm is that many non-Christians may reject the Gospel because of these false claims. On the other hand, those on whom the Spirit of God is working will come to Him regardless.
Feb 28/07 - Eph. 4:8
Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.
It wasn't until Jesus ascended to heaven that the Holy Spirit - Who is God's Best Gift - was able to come and indwell His people. When Jesus ascended His work was complete and He was able to release the Holy Spirit and all the gifts His people need to succeed. Jesus was the Strong Man Who captured Satan and released his captives. Captivity was itself made captive!
Feb 27/07 - Eph. 4:7
Christ gives to each of us the amount of grace we need to accomplish what He has given us to do. We all don't have the same amount of grace because we are not all doing the same thing. We should not be jealous of the grace of God on someone else, but rejoice with them. We also need the confidence that when we do need the grace of God for a specific situation, it will be there.
Feb 24/07 - Eph. 4:4-6
This is a beautiful, concise list of the unity of the Christian body. We are all united in Christ. He is our Center. Because of that we can accept each other even when we have different points-of-view on some theological points. It is Christ that unites us not our denomination [or lack thereof]. All Christian churches should be able to work together without jealousy, bitterness, gossip, self-serving, or other sinful actions. Unfortunately, this often is not the case and the kingdom of God is the weaker as we fight among ourselves. Millions are going to Hell because we cannot get our act together.
Feb 23/07 - Eph. 4:3
The unity of the Spirit does not mean that all agree on every point. Revivals of past days have seen Christian churches with some major theological differences working together for the benefit of everyone. We will have differences - if you have read much on my site you have probably found something you disagree with - but that doesn't have to disturb Christian unity. We agree on the main points and we can work together for the common goal of the expansion of the Kingdom of God. This does not mean that theological differences are unimportant only that they are not to be a divisive factor.
All God's genuine children are to live a peace with one another regardless of differences. If we can discuss our differences without losing our unity and peace we can learn a lot from each other. If we are too up-tight to do that, then we need to work on things we can agree on and leave the rest.
Feb 22/07 - Eph. 4:2
Humility is a cornerstone of the Christian life. We cannot progress in God or Christian maturity if we are tripped up by pride.
Meekness is controlled strength. Moses was a meek man but he had leadership over more than 3 million people. He was meek toward God and he allowed God to defend him. He never [after the wilderness experience] defended himself. We, also, need to come to the place where we are satisfied with allowing God to defend us.
And we put up with each other - our brothers and sisters - even when they rub us the wrong way. It is easy to condemn and criticize but that is not what God has called us to.
Feb 21/07 - Eph. 4:1
We have previously talked about Paul as the prisoner of the Lord. He never considered anyone else to be in control of His life regardless of the outward circumstances.
Paul strongly desired that the Ephesians walk worthy of their calling in God. This means that they had decisions to make. It was possible for them to walk unworthy of their calling.
God has called us to a purpose. We can walk in our own ways or we can choose to work out our salvation in a way that honours God. We can be useful to our Creator and Redeemer or we can be useless. We can use our talent or we can bury it. We will be responsible for our decision.
Feb 20/07 - Eph. 3:21
God will receive glory through Christ Jesus forever. To think that the Almighty Ruler of the Universe would subject Himself to a human body and to death on the cross is amazing. He deserves all glory and honour and praise. His creation, His redemption, His on-going work, and His plans for life after death all bring Him glory and earn our admiration. Even this is small in comparison to the glory and praise which is due Him simply because of Who He is. Even if He never redeemed us, He would still be worthy of all glory and of all our praise.
Notice, God has chosen the way in which He will receive glory. In the church by Christ Jesus. The Church is God's only plan in the earth. The Church is the only people of God on earth. The Church has always been the plan of God. There will never be another plan in the future. This is it! [We study this in detail in Covenants.]
Feb 18/07 - Eph. 3:20
We limit God. We think too small. Our God is able to do anything! He can do more than we can ever imagine. We don't see more of the power of God in our lives because our imagination is often self-centered instead of God-centered or we lack the vision and faith to reach what God has for us. But God's power at work in us is able to accomplished what He wants.
Feb 17/07 - Eph. 3:17-19
Christ actually lives in our hearts by faith. It takes faith because it certainly doesn't feel like it at times. In fact, the presence of Christ is so powerful that our frail human bodies couldn't handle it if we actually felt the fulness of it. His love surrounds us and forms the foundation of our lives. Everything we know and are to do comes from the love of Christ. His love in us can change the world.
A great part of our problems as Christians comes from the fact that we don't know the great love of Christ for us. We have a surface intellectual knowledge but often we lack a deep understanding of the love Christ. If we really knew the love of Christ to us and in us our lives would be transformed and sin would not have an attraction for us at all.
Feb 16/07 - Eph. 3:16
Paul's desire was that the Ephesians [and us!] would be strengthened with might by the Holy Spirit. The spiritual is more real and powerful than the physical. As our inner man or spirit is strengthened by God's Spirit we have the power and ability to accomplish or endure what He allows across our path.
Feb 15/07 - Eph. 3:15
God's family carries the name of Jesus Christ - Christians. The name of Christ is not just a nice thing to call us. The name means family relationship and authority. We carry His name, we exercise His authority. This applies not only to believers currently on this planet but also those already in heaven. You may wonder what kind of authority they need in heaven. I have a simple answer for you. I don't know.
Feb 14/07 - Eph. 3:14
No ungodly pride in Paul. He was not ashamed to bow before God. All of us should be willing to bow in subjection and submission to the Father. Adam's sin involved prideful independence. In bowing before God we acknowledge our dependence on Him. He is in charge and we follow orders.
Notice how many times Jesus is referred to as Lord. The Lordship of Jesus Christ is not an optional feature of our salvation. Submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ is linked to salvation. Jesus is Lord and Saviour. If He is not Lord, He will not be Saviour. He does not play games. Life is deadly serious with eternity at stake. The Cross gives us a picture of how serious it is.
Feb 13/07 - Eph. 3:13
Paul was going through trials for the benefit of the Ephesians. It costs to be able to minister the gospel. Pastors and other Christian leaders pay a price - sometimes a very heavy price - for the benefit of the people under their care. The price may be physical, emotional/mental, spiritual, or any combination but the true shepherd cares for the flock.
It is difficult to watch someone go through trials on our behalf. We would rather spare them the difficulty or bare it ourselves. Sometimes we have no choice. We can only say, "Thank you" and minister to them as best we can in the grace of God. For example, a pastor who goes to prison for serving God should not have to be concerned about the welfare of his family. Just as he is sacrificing for the benefit of others, the others should be willing to sacrifice to care for him and his family. Sometimes this can be very dangerous. In some countries, helping the families of these "criminals" is itself a criminal act which can bring arrest, torture, and even death.
Feb 12/07 - Eph. 3:12
Through Jesus Christ our Lord we can come with boldness into the presence of God. Notice, it does not say with brashness. We always need to maintain a healthy respect and reverence for God. But we don't enter His presence as beggars fearful of being condemned for our sins. We enter confidently by faith in the blood of Christ that we are forgiven and that we are sons and daughters of God. He delights in us. He wants us to come in with rejoicing and gladness.
Feb 10/07 - Eph. 3:11
God purposed to do all of this in and through Christ Jesus before He even made the world. Before the Beginning God was. Everything operates according to His time schedule...and no one or nothing every delays it or hurries it.
Jesus Christ is our Lord. This means we are to be totally submissive to His will. In that sense, we are to have no will of our own. Our will is to do His will. Anything else is rebellion and sin.
Feb 09/07 - Eph. 3:10
All the angels and heavenly beings, along with the saints that have gone before, stand in amazement at the wisdom of God's plan as revealed in His Church. They watch in wonder at the unfolding of the work of God. Soon we will joyously join them for I think this world will continue on for another 6,000 years or so. We will have plenty of time to see how God used us (if we let Him) and how His plan is progressively working for the benefit of His church. Prepare to be amazed...and thankful that God allowed you to have a part.
Feb 08/07 - Eph. 3:9
Paul's mission, like ours, was to present the gospel to all men. The riches of salvation was hidden in God until Christ came to reveal them. Now we are to declare them. We are not responsible for how people respond. We are responsible to witness as God directs us. He is responsible for the results.
We also see the Jesus Christ is the Creator. He made all things. He keeps all things going. The evolutionists owe every breath they take to the common grace of Jesus Christ. Without Him they would not even exist. How ungrateful to deny the Creator or - as some Christians do - to compromise the glory of the Creator with evolution.
Feb 07/07 - Eph. 3:8
Paul may have considered himself the least of all saints because at one time he had tortured and murdered the saints. In any case, Paul was a humble man. He wasn't afraid to speak out boldly and bluntly, but he did not do it for his own satisfaction or pride.
The riches of Christ are unsearchable. We will never come to a full understanding of all the Jesus has done for us. I suspect that all through eternity we will be learning new things. Our God is so great that we can never come to the limit of His knowledge. I am told that in the late 1800's the US patent office was considering closing because it was felt that everything that could be discovered had already been discovered. Let us never limit ourselves like that! There is always something more to discover and apply in God.
Feb 06/07 - Eph. 3:7
Paul was made a minister of the Gospel. He did not promote himself. It was not his idea or even desire. He was going in the opposite direction. But God's grace and power was at work bringing him to the place he needed to be. God never gave up - even when Paul was the persecutor. We never know who God has His hand upon.
On the other side of the coin, people who are promoting and pushing themselves forward in ministry can be dangerous people. People who are there because they want to be there not because God called them will end up either giving up or destroying themselves and others. Watch them carefully if you are around them. Godly men and women have authority and power but they are also very humble people. Pride shows itself in those who seek power for power's sake.
Feb 05/07 - Eph. 3:2-6
Paul's mission was bringing the gospel to the Gentiles. This was the mystery of God - that all should shared in the redemption purchased by the Messiah. Paul and others had this revealed to them by the Spirit. It was not something that arrived at by human reasoning or methods. God opened up His Word to them to show them His intention from the beginning of the world. We look at this in detail in Covenants. No one can understand the Bible without the Holy Spirit. The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit.
Feb 02/07 - Eph. 3:1
Paul was a prisoner of the Roman government, in a Roman jail, with Roman guards, yet he never considered himself a prisoner of the Roman government. He always saw past the surface and realized he was a prisoner of Jesus Christ. Jesus had allowed his current circumstances and Jesus could release him at any time. Not only that but also Paul saw there was a purpose in his imprisonment. Somehow it would be for the benefit of the Gentiles. In someway sitting in a Roman prison was completing God mission for him and benefiting others. We need to have the same confidence that God is in total control and works out everything for our benefit and the benefit of others.
Feb 01/07 - Eph. 2:21-22
In Jesus we are built together as one family or temple. We all have different backgrounds and experiences but the Holy Spirit is making us one in Christ. Each new member adds something important to the whole and so everyone is important. God Himself lives in us not just as individuals but He shows Himself in our corporate lives. As Christians unite, the presence and power of God is seen on this earth in a powerful way. The Holy Spirit is the uniting Person through the blood of Christ.
Jan 31/07 - Eph. 2:20
The apostles and prophets are the foundation on which all God's people are built. Jesus Christ is the chief cornerstone. In other words, everything has to line up with Jesus. Anything that doesn't needs to be discarded. Jesus is the Author and Finisher of our faith.
Jan 30/07 - Eph. 2:19
When they are brought into the family of God, Gentiles have all the heritage of the people of God. Through Christ Gentiles are now family with Moses, David, and all the saints of the Old and New Testaments. Gentiles do not have to consider themselves second class or heritage poor. All God's people have the same heritage and are built on the same foundation.
Jan 27/07 - Eph. 2:18
Because of the work of Christ, the Holy Spirit can bring all of us as one body into the presence of God. It is so important that Christians realize that they are one with all other Christians. Sometimes Christians are tempted to put the perceived interests of their country above their commitment to the cause of Christ. For example, have the wars which western nations engaged in in the last few years helped or hurt the Christians living in those nations? As Christians our first loyalty is to King Jesus and our brothers and sisters. All other concerns are secondary.
Jan 26/07 - Eph. 2:17
The New Covenant is now and for the rest of time preached to both Jews and Gentiles. Both have equal opportunity of entering the presence of God through Jesus Christ...and there is no other way except through Jesus Christ. Anyone who is trusting in their national heritage, their knowledge, or anything else is going to find themselves forever shut out from God's presence.
Jan 25/07 - Eph. 2:15-16
By going to the cross Jesus forever destroyed the barrier between Jew and Gentile. This separation was established in the law because it was needed while God was preparing the New Covenant. Once Jesus established the New Covenant, with His broken body and blood, the separation between Jew and Gentile was done away with. There is still a wall of separation but now it is between belivers [of any nationality] and unbelievers [of any nationality]. Now all believers are one in Christ. We are one body with one Head.
Jan 23/07 - Eph. 2:14
Jesus is our peace. He not only made peace between us and God, but also He has made peace between Jew and Gentile. Now Jew and Gentile form one body, one unit, one Church. There is no wall of division. Physical race counts for nothing. We are all equal before God. What matters is faith in Jesus Christ, not national origin. It is a modern tragedy that some Christians are busy trying to rebuild the wall of partition which Christ tore down. They give the Jews a special place above Gentiles either now or in the future. I guess they think they know better than God.
Jan 22/07 - Eph. 2:13
Through the blood of Christ we who are Gentiles have been brought into the kingdom of God. The days of darkness are past. How grateful we should always be for the blood of Christ. His sacrifice paid the price of our sin. We can now come into the very presence of God without fear of judgment.
Jan 20/07 - Eph. 2:12
This is one of the most horrifying verses in the Bible. Imagine being without Christ, cut off from participating in the covenants, and having no hope. Hopelessness. No way out. Trapped in a dark world. No wonder Paul was so excited in the New Testament about the Gospel - good news - going to all nations! There are now, and never again will be, national limitations on the Gospel. Everyone is welcome. We just have to get the good news to them! Let them know that Christ died for them and rose to bring new life. The light of the Christ shines around the world.
Jan 19/07 - Eph. 2:11-10
In the Old Testament times Gentiles were cut off from salvation. They had no hope in the world. The only way they could come was by joining the Jewish nation - and some of them did. It was a dark time in world history. The light of God was limited to one small, often corrupt, nation. It was necessary for a short period of them [as we study in Covenants], but God never intended that that situation should be permanent. His heart has always been for the world.
Jan 17/07 - Eph. 2:10
God specifically designed us and He also designed the work He wanted to do. No one is unimportant. Everyone has a specially designed place. No one else can fill it. You are special.
Jan 15/07 - Eph. 2:8-9
We are saved through faith by the grace of God. Every religion - other than Christianity - is a legalistic religion. They seek salvation by keeping laws and rules. This is especially true of the religion of humanism which is so popular in our nations today. Christianity stands by itself and says that salvation comes by faith in Jesus Christ provided by the grace of God. This does not mean that the law is unimportant in Christianity. It is vital...but not as a method of salvation. There is nothing we can do to earn salvation. We are dependent on the grace of God for even our faith. We have nothing to bring God. This is humbling, but also liberating.
Jan 13/07 - Eph. 2:7
All throughout eternity we will be in amazement of the love and kindness of Christ. He did not have to do anything. God did not "need" us in anyway, but He wanted us. His plan of redemption is the glory and mystery of the ages. If we really had a good understanding of this, we would never again complain about anything. Even if our life on earth was only a painful disaster, God has given us much more. Our hearts should always overflow with gratitude. It is so easy to get caught up in the trials and temptations of life and grumble and complain. Faith in God, love for God, and thankfulness for His grace and mercy should still our lips when they are tempted to complain.
Jan 12/07 - Eph. 2:6
God has not only made us alive in Christ but He has also raised up with Christ and placed us in heavenly places. This is not only a future promise, but also a present reality. We are currently sitting with Christ in heavenly places. He reigns through us on this planet. The Holy Spirit works the life and authority of Christ in our lives. Heaven comes to earth.
Jan 11/07 - Eph. 2:4-5
Oh, the mercy and love of God! When we were dead in sin - totally corrupt, completely unlovable, disgusting, God haters - God loved us. This shows again that God loves because of Who He is and because He chooses to. There is no reason for the love of God found in us. If there were, we, in some way, would deserve the love of God. As it is, God loves us in spite of who we are not because of who we are. It is the grace of God that saves us. It all begins and ends with God.
He has made us alive in Christ. We don't have life in ourselves. As we are joined to Christ we participate in His life.
Jan 09/07 - Eph. 2:2-3
We cannot stand in self-righteous judgment of others. We were all totally, willfully corrupted with the dark, stinking cancer of sin. We were born with it. It doesn't matter if we concealed it beneath a nice, moral exterior or if we expressed it in vile, immoral ways. It is the same sin and corruption. We were all in the same boat until God in mercy rescued some of us. Our nature is to be under the wrath or judgment of God. We were born there. Only through the blood of Christ can we move from wrath to blessing.
Jan 06/07 - Eph. 2:1
We were dead. All of us - no exceptions. Sin had killed us. We walked around this world as zombies just waiting to fall down and complete the process. Now Christ has come into our lives. He has given us His life. We are really alive for the first time! This is the greatest miracle - to take someone who is dead in sin, totally corrupt - and re-create them with the life of Christ.
Jan 05/07 - Eph. 1:23
The Church is Christ's body. It is the complete expression of Christ in this world. If you took the covenants course, you know that the Church was the plan all the time. The events of the Old Testament were laying the foundation for the Church. Israel, as a physical nation, was never meant to be a rival for the Church. Israel was to be the womb from which the Church was born. Or to look at it another way, Israel was the necessary scaffolding while the Church was being built. Scaffolding is never intended to be permanent. When the Church was born, Israel was given the first opportunity of joining it and completing their destiny. Many individuals Jews did, but as a nation they refused their destiny.
Jan 04/07 - Eph. 1:22
Christ is the head of the Church. Sometimes we limit the headship of Christ to the Church. Not so. Christ is the Head of ALL things, which He governs for the benefit of His Church. There is nothing outside the authority of Christ. Please notice, unlike many false teachings today, Christ does not govern for the benefit of any particular, individual, physical nation. He governs for the sole benefit of His spiritual nation - the Church, which is made of up people from all physical nationality. The spiritual replaces the physical so Christ will never again return to favour a physical nation in the future. The Church will remain the apple of God's eye for ever.
Jan 03/07 - Eph. 1:21
Christ was rewarded for His ultimate sacrifice and faith by being forever placed above everything and everyone in creation. Even the forces of evil will one day bow before Christ. We are in the process of seeing everything brought into subjection to Christ. The resurrection gave Christ the position and guaranteed that it would happen. Now, the Holy Spirit, through His people, is working on manifesting this position of Christ in the world. It must be completed before the Second Coming of Christ or else Satan will have defeated the Holy Spirit by preventing Him from restoring all things. Many this never be! Christ by the Holy Spirit through the Church must win. The popular defeatist Christianity of today is "anti-Christ" and partakes of Satan's fantasy world instead of Christ's reality.
Jan 02/07 - Eph. 1:20
The greatness of God's power was shown is the resurrection of Christ. Creation was making something out of nothing. There was no opposition. In Christ something new was happening. The most powerful enemy, death, was defeated. This was bringing life out of death. No one had defeated death before. The few people who had been resurrected in the past had all died again. Christ went to the cross in faith that God could do what He had never done before. And so God revealed His power over all opposition forever. The ultimate act of faith was rewarded with the ultimate act of power. Everything that man's sin and Satan had done had been conquered. Re-creation is more difficult than creation.
Jan 01/07 - Eph. 1:19
God is Almighty. There is nothing He cannot do. In six 24-hour days He created all that is. His Word alone maintains the universe. All the natural and supernatural power in the universe combined cannot compare in the slightest with the power of God. Now, God directs His power for the benefit of those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. If we really saw that we would never walk in fear again. We would face all the adversities of life with confidence. There is absolutely nothing that can touch us unless it is allowed by God for His glory and our ultimate benefit.
Dec 30/06 - Eph. 1:18
Paul's desire was that God would open our eyes to the greatness of what He has called us to. Notice again, it is God Who does the calling. Unless He calls, we do not respond. God is always the One Who initiates - as we see in the Covenants course.
Hope, in Scripture, is not a faint hope that something might happen. It is a firm expectation that something is going to happen. The hope that we have in Christ because of His calling is going to be completed one day at the return of Christ. These is no doubt but joyful expectation...which is Biblical hope.
We often think of our inheritance in Christ but God has an inheritance in us. He has invested the riches of His glory in us. When we come to a realization of this, we will be inspired to live to the glory of God.
Dec 29/06 - Eph. 1:17
Paul's prayer for the Ephesians continues to the end of the chapter. This is his great desire for them.
First, that God would give them the spirit of wisdom and revelation. Although we are to seek after wisdom and study to understand revelation, ultimately wisdom and revelation come from God. Unless He releases it to us all the effort on our part is useless. Paul's great desire was that God the Father would give them this revelation. And not just any revelation but specifically in the knowledge of God. The knowledge of God is foundational to all things. Without it we are lost.
Dec 28/06 - Eph. 1:15-16
The faith and love of the Ephesians had reached Paul. They had a good reputation. Their faith and love brought joy to Paul. Just as parents are delighted when their children do right, so our fathers in the faith are delighted when we do right. Paul constantly gave thanks for them. We, too, need to be giving thanks continually for all that is right in the lives of others. It is so easy to focus on what is wrong. We will never fix what is wrong if we cannot appreciate what is right.
Dec 26/06 - Eph. 1:14
The Holy Spirit is the guarantee that all God's promises will come true. Salvation, as you know, has three aspects. I was saved when Jesus died on the cross [and experienced that salvation on confession of faith], I am being saved in that the Holy Spirit is still in the process of working the holiness of God into my life, and I will yet be saved when Jesus returns and the process is complete. The Holy Spirit witnesses that the first aspect of salvation has taken place, He works with me through the second aspect, and He guarantees that one day the work will be complete. Redemption will be final.
Dec 23/06 - Eph. 1:13
After the Jews had had the first opportunity of believing in Jesus - about 3 1/2 years - the door of opportunity swung open for the Gentiles - never to be closed again. The same Holy Spirit sealed the believing Gentiles Who had sealed the believing Jews. Together we are one in Christ for His glory.
Dec 22/06 - Eph. 1:12
The Jewish Christians who entered the Church in Acts were the first fruits. Their conversion was for the glory of God. They had the honour and opportunity of leading the rest of the world into the new, glorious relationship with God made possible through the death and resurrection of Christ.
Dec 21/06 - Eph. 1:11
Our inheritance in God and all the promises He has given us are centered in Christ. That was God's plan all along. He does everything according to the counsel of His own will. In other words, God does not have or need advisers. If you think God needs advise on how to run your life or anything else...think again.
Dec 20/06 - Eph. 1:10
Jesus is the center of it all. If you are looking for the center of the universe, discover Jesus and you will have found it! Everything - spiritual and physical - is wrapped up in Jesus. Not only is He the center, but also He is in charge of everything. Jesus really is King of kings and Lord of lords.
Dec 19/06 - Eph. 1:9
In the Bible the word "mystery" does not mean a puzzle as much as it means hidden knowledge. There is some knowledge that God has not revealed - it is a mystery to us. But when God chooses to make known one of His mysteries He gives us the knowledge and wisdom to understand it. We can never discover one of God's mysteries without Divine revelation.
The greatest mystery of God was the plan of salvation. In the Old Testament God gave hints and pictures but in the New Testament the mystery was revealed and we come into an [always growing] understanding of Salvation.
Again we see God acts because of Who He is. There are no outside influences that can force or motivate God into action. He does what He has decided to do because of the good pleasure of His own will.
Dec 18/06 - Eph. 1:8
God operates toward us in wisdom and prudence. He is not operating on impulse or emotion as we often do. He is working out His plans in the perfectness of His wisdom. We are often confused at the works of God but in faith we need to have confidence in His wisdom.
Dec 16/06 - Eph. 1:7
It is through the Blood of Christ that we have redemption...in other words, we are bought back. We originally belong to God. We rebelled and sold ourselves to Satan. Then Jesus, with His own blood, bought us back out of the slave market of sin. No lesser price would have done.
The redemption involves the forgiveness of sin. Our sins are wiped out. No matter how great they may have been [or will be], they have been forgiven. God sees the Blood of Christ as the full payment for our original Sin of rebellion and all the sins that followed as a result of that one Sin.
We all deserved Hell. It was because of the riches of His grace that He provided a way of salvation at unthinkable cost to Himself. We can but stand in admiration, wonder, and thankfulness for what He has done for us. No situation in this world should be able to shake our thankful spirit for what God has done.
Dec 15/06 - Eph. 1:6
All God's actions show the greatness of His grace. It is impossible for us to comprehend the fullness of the grace of God. As we see His grace in the world around us and experience it ourselves, we grow in the knowledge of the grace of God. It is for His praise and His honour. We are not seeking our own honour or glory.
Again, we are accepted before God because we have come under the Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. There is no fear of rejection. God the Father accepts us as if we were Jesus Himself. Jesus will never be rejected by the Father and neither will we be rejected if we are in Christ. This is a position earned by Christ and nothing we can ever do can add to His work or make us more accepted. We have it because God planned it before time and Christ purchased it in time.
Note: [This is a hard saying.] If God predestined us to salvation that means that others were predestined to damnation. God is not unfair in this because we all deserve damnation. It is His mercy and grace which chooses to save some. Properly understood this gives us confidence in sharing the gospel. We know that for those who are chosen, our efforts are not in vain. They will bear fruit eventually. Nor can we judge who God has chosen and who He has not. No one ever thought Saul - later Paul - would be chosen, but he was. We share the gospel with all - for some it will become the fragrance of life...for others the smell of death.
Dec 14/06 - Eph. 1:5
God did not only foreknow us, but also he predestinated us. That means He specifically chose us. We are part of His grand design. He did this by Jesus Christ. There is no other way to God except through Jesus Christ. God did not choose us because of anything in us. His sole reason for selecting us in His mercy was that it is the good pleasure of His will. God does all things because of Who He is, not because of who we are.
Dec 13/06 - Eph. 1:4
God chose us before He ever made the world. That makes you special. God had you in mind before He started Day One of creation. Not only did God have us in His mind before Creation, but He also had a purpose for us. He designed that we should be holy. Loose, sinful living is not what God wants for His children. Through Christ we stand blameless before God. We are wrapped in His love.
Dec 12/06 - Eph. 1:3
God, of course, is not only our Father, but also the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, it is through and because of the Lord Jesus that He becomes our Father. Without Jesus as Lord and Saviour, God cannot be our Father.
God has blessed us with all spiritual blessings. We lack nothing. Everything we need is given to us. Everything we have is a result of spiritual blessings. This statement impacts our entire life not just what we tend to think of as our "spiritual" life.
In heavenly places shows the seat of our authority. Our blessing and authority is not derived from this world or this world system. It comes from heaven through Christ and as we are submitted to His Lordship.
Dec 11/06 - Eph. 1:2
Paul's desire is that all Christains experience the grace and peace of God in their lives. This grace and peace only comes from God. Any attempt to find it anywhere else will end in frustration.
God is our Father. We can come to Him with complete confidence. We don't come into His presence carelessly or disrespectfully but neither do we come in terror. God is our Father and He cares for us. He wants what is best for us and He has the power to preform it.
Not only is God our Father, but also Jesus Christ is our Lord. That means we are not free to choose how we live or what we do. Our responsibility is to be obedient to everything Jesus commands us to do. If we are in rebellion to our Lord, our relationship to our Father is destroyed. They go together.
Dec 08/06 - Eph. 1:1
Paul identifies himself as an apostle of Jesus. He did not make himself an apostle. It was not a job he applied for or worked for. He was made an apostle by God. People who promote themselves or push themselves forward are dangerous people. A person who allows God to promote him or her can be confident that God will continue to watch over them. They do not have to become involved in power struggles.
We can also see that, although Ephesians is written for the Christians of Ephesus, it has a wider impact. The instructions and encouragement that Paul gives is for all faithful Christians.