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Sunday February 22nd 2009
To the Church of Ephesus ? Part Five
1). Eph 3:14 ? For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus
Christ,15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He
would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with
might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts
through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to
comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height--
19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with
all the fullness of God. 20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly
above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him
be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
a). Here at the conclusion of Ephesians Chapter 3 we see Paul bowing his
knees ?to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ?, firstly, in complete submission to
the will of God with respect to His plans and purposes for the 7th Day, which
would include God?s appointment of Paul as an Apostle - sent with the ?good
news? concerning the 7th Day to the Gentiles - and secondly, in prayer for the
church of Ephesus. Especially those who would be ?faithful in Christ Jesus?.
b). This is the second prayer that we find in the opening chapters of
Ephesians ? the first coming at the conclusion of Chapter 1 ? and both of these
prayers need to be seen against the content of that which has preceded them.
c). The first Chapter of the Book draws attention to the plans and purposes
of God writ large ? dealing with the overall scope of God?s purpose as it relates to
the coming 7th Day in respect of His Son, rulership over the earth and an
inheritance to be gained - Eph 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood,
the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He made to
abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, 9 having made known to us the
mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself,
10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in
one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth--in Him.
11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to
the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will,
d). And the prayer that concludes this Chapter has as its focus a continuing
and ever increasing revelation of what God has set in place for the 7th Day with a
view to the absolute certainty of the fulfillment of His purpose producing faithful
obedience in those who are the recipients of the revelation - Eph 1:15 ? Therefore I
also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints,
16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: 17
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that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the
spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your
understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His
calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and
what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to
the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised
Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far
above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is
named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. 22 And He put all
things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church 23
which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
e). This prayer then has to do with the saints being guided into all truth, that
they may clearly see all that the scriptures contain ? in essence that the Christ had
to suffer and then enter into His glory.
f). Following on from this the second Chapter again focuses on the plans and
purposes of God, only this time with a more individual emphasis ? showing what
God has done for us personally - Eph 2:11 ? Therefore remember that you, once
Gentiles in the flesh--who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the
Circumcision made in the flesh by hands-- 12 that at that time you 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. 13 But now in
Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of
g). And the third Chapter continues with the same focus giving detail of
Paul?s appointment as an Apostle to the Gentiles and an explanation with regards
to the ?mystery? that was committed to him ? Eph 3:1 ? For this reason I, Paul, the
prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles-2 if indeed you have heard of the
dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, 3 how that by
revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, 4
by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of
Christ), 5 which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has
now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: 6 that the
Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in
Christ through the gospel,
h). And so in the light of the personal, individual content of Chapters 2 and 3
Paul then prays concerning a work of the Spirit within us individually with regards
to our individual race of faith.
i). Paul?s overwhelming concern is that those in Ephesus should be found
faithful in the midst of the ?savage wolves? who would come in ?not sparing the
flock?, in the midst of those from amongst themselves who would rise up ?speaking
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perverse things?; in the midst of the onslaught of the world, the flesh and the Devil.
And we would realize that this is not just Paul?s concern for those in Ephesus, but
also God?s concern for us all within the Laodicean state of Christendom at the end
of this dispensation.
j). His request to God is that those who would be ?faithful in Christ Jesus? -
be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man,
k). It is the ?inner man? the man of the Spirit who must be strengthened so
that the old man will not gain the preeminence ? a conflict between these two that
Paul outlines in ? Ro 7:21 I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one
who wills to do good.22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward
man. 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind,
and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O
wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?
k). And this strength in the inner man, according to our scripture, will come
through a mighty, wonderful work ? Greek ?dunamis? ? through His Spirit.
l). This though is not a charismatic experience, but rather, as we see from
comparing scripture with scripture, it is to do with renewal and transformation.
m). 2Co 4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man
is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.
n). Col 3:9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with
his deeds, 10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge
according to the image of Him who created him,
o). And we see here in Colossians that the ?new man?, the ?inner man? is
renewed in knowledge ? in ?epignosis? ? the meat and strong meat of the word ?
those things surrounding the coming glory of Christ.
p). This would be the same thought found in - Eph 5:18 And do not be drunk
with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,
q). It is through our proper engagement with the word of God, keeping ever
before us the focus of the 7th Day that we will have renewal and strength in our
inner man. Our inner man is a spiritual man and can only be nourished through the
Spirit via the word ? the ?epignosis? word.
r). This is the process of transformation that we know as the
?metamorphosis?, that we have previously studied in - Ro 12:2 And do not be
conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that
you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Eph 4:23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind,
s). It is only by aligning our mind, our thinking, with that which God has
planned for us in the future that we can escape the snares and pitfalls of this world.
In fact it is only by doing this that we can patiently endure the pain and the
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uncertainty of our present circumstances. This tension between the uncertain
present and the absolutely certain future is poignantly shown to us in -
2Co 4:17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far
more exceeding and age lasting weight of glory,
t). And as we have seen Paul prays that God would grant this strengthening
of the inner man through the Spirit ? the inference being that God may not grant it.
And God?s not granting it would need to be seen after the same fashion as that
which we find in - Heb 6:1 ? Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary
principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection?..3 And this we will do if God
permits.4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have
tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit,
5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 if
they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for
themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.
u). Paul?s prayer then continues by referencing the very greatest strength our
inner man can possess ? love - 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through
faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend
with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height--19 to know
the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the
fullness of God
v). In - Col 2:6 As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so
walk in Him, 7 rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have
been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.
We see that we are rooted in Him ? being rooted in love and rooted in Christ would
obviously be one and the same thing as ?God is love?. The prayer is that we would
be able to comprehend ?what is the width and length and depth and height, to know
the love of Christ?.
w). A love that we see detailed in Chapter 5 of Ephesians ?
Eph 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave
Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of
water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not
having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without
x). Christ?s love is sacrificial with a view to the fulfillment of the Godhead?s
purpose for the 7th Day. Christ?s love for us is expressed in His absolute obedience
to His Father?s will because of the 7th Day.
y). Not only do we need to understand what it means that ?God so loved the
world that He gave His only begotten Son? ? but this same sacrificial love,
expressed through our obedience to the commands of Christ, must of necessity be
our practice. And such practice is so far removed from our soulical self that it can
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only come about through the strengthening of our inner man through the Spirit?s
work of renewal - Php 2:5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,
6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,
7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and
coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He
humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the
z). We are clearly looking at things concerning dying to the flesh and
walking according to the Spirit.
2). And so, as Paul?s prayer for us to be filled with all the fullness of God comes to
a close we have reached a point of transition within the Book.
a). We have seen God?s focus on the 7th Day and Paul?s prayer with respect
to our mature understanding of it.
b). We have seen the enormity of what God has done for us individually and
Paul?s prayer with respect to the work of the Spirit within us that we shouldn?t lose
God?s purpose for us.
c). What follows, beginning with Chapter 4, now moves away from what we
might call ?doctrine? to the way we are to live in response to the doctrine we
receive ? that which we might call ?practical application?.
d). And we should note the importance of the inextricable link between these
two ? neither should be sacrificed at the expense of the other.
3). Eph 4:1 ? I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of
the calling with which you were called, 2 ? with all lowliness and gentleness, with
longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, 3 endeavoring to keep the unity of
the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were
called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God
and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
a). Having focused on the ?big picture? so to speak and having focused on
the individual we now move to issues of relationship. From the vertical ? us and
God ? to the horizontal us and each other.
b). Which is in no way surprising - 1Jo 3:14 ? We know that we have passed
from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother
abides in death.
c). Our love for God and our faithful obedience to the commands of Christ
do not exist in a vacuum. They are right here in this room in the way we relate to
one another. They are in our homes and in our places of work. And in the quietness
of our mind when no one else is around. It is in the small things, outside of the
context of the corporate gathering that our faithful obedience is demonstrated. It is
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easy for us to lie to one another here and create the semblance of spirituality, but it
is behind closed doors that the true level of our spiritual maturity emerges. Let?s be
encouraged though because of the small things - Lu 19:17 "And he said to him,
'Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority
over ten cities.'
4). Chapter 4 begins then with an admonishment to walk worthy of our calling ? so
let?s be clear as to what our calling is.
a). There is a great deal of confusion concerning the word ?calling?, created
of course by the hands of men, with the word ?calling? used to describe our
function within the body which would be attended by a supernatural voice from
heaven giving us our job description.
b). Scripturally though this is not it, and even right here within the context of
these first five verses of Chapter 4, our calling is clear ? ?you were called in one
hope of your calling?.
c). To what does our ?hope? refer? The appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ
and the establishment of His Kingdom with attendant positions as joint heirs with
d). In other words - Heb 3:1 ? Therefore, holy brethren, partakers
[companions] of the heavenly calling,
e). Ours is a heavenly calling, a calling to the heavenly realm of the
Kingdom, a calling to rule with Christ from the heavenly realm over the earth.
f). We have been called out of the world with a view to being called out of
the called at the Judgment Seat ? in this we all have exactly the same calling.
g). And the realization of our calling is based on our faithful obedience in
whatever circumstance we find ourselves.
h). Let?s not be in any doubt about our calling ? and because it is a high
calling, connected with ?so great a salvation? we need to walk worthy of it.
i). To conduct our lives in this present time in such a way as to be deserving
of a position with Christ in that coming day.
5). And practically, what this looks like is given in - 2 ? with all lowliness and
gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, 3 endeavoring to
keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace
a). Lowliness = Greek ? ?tapeinophrosune? = from a compound of 5011 and
the base of 5424; humiliation of mind, i.e. modesty:--humbleness of mind, humility
(of mind, loneliness (of mind).
b). Php 2:3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in
lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.
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c). Gentleness = Greek ? ?praotes? = from 4235; gentleness, by implication,
d). Mt 5:5 Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth.
e). Longsuffering = Greek ? ?makrothumia? = from the same as 3116;
longanimity, i.e. (objectively) forbearance or (subjectively) fortitude:--
f). Col 3:12 ? Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender
mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering;
g). What we see here can be summed up for us in - 1Pe 5:6 Therefore
humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due
h). The lowliness, gentleness and longsuffering that we are to walk in now
are things that we choose to do for ourselves. We can note in our 1 Peter scripture
that it says, ?humble yourselves? ? this then is something that we choose to do now
with a view to God exalting us in due time.
i). And we do this ?under the mighty hand of God? - in other words, in
faithful obedience to the word ? in response to God, through Paul, beseeching us to
walk worthy of our calling.
j). And again of course our lowliness, gentleness and longsuffering are
relational ? the final phrase of v2drawing attention to this ? ?bearing with one
another in love?.
k). Bearing = Greek ? ?anechomai? = middle voice from 303 and 2192; to
hold oneself up against, i.e. (figuratively) put up with:--bear with, endure, forbear,
l). 1Pe 4:8 And above all things have fervent love for one another, for "love
will cover a multitude of sins."
m). This is the love of 1 Corinthians 13 ? and it is not that love ignores or
condones sin, but rather the love we have for each other will not cause us to look
on the sin of another with judgment, but with compassion and mercy and
n). v3 then adds, 3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of
o). Endeavoring = Greek ? ?spoudazo? = from 4710; to use speed, i.e. to
make effort, be prompt or earnest:--do (give) diligence, be diligent (forward),
endeavour, labour, study.
p). We must be quick to be diligent to hold fast the unity, the oneness, of the
Spirit in the bond of peace.
q). There must be unity between us, but this unity is of the Spirit ? we all
have the same Spirit to guide us into all truth ? there is not a different truth for
different people. We all need to walk in the Spirit, and this is the same for each of
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us - Joh 6:63 "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words
that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.
r). There is no place in the Church for divisions and factions ? we are all
headed in the same direction with the same end goal in view, and we need each
other to be able to get there. Because of this if we hurt each other we are hurting
ourselves. No one on this journey gets left behind because they can?t keep up. We
don?t shoot the wounded so they won?t slow us down ? helping each other, healing
each other, bearing each other?s burdens is the journey.
6). The next 3 verses draw attention to the very reasons why we are to be in unity
4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your
calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is
above all, and through all, and in you all.
a). Christ? body is one body made up of all born again believers ? the
faithful and the unfaithful. There is not a different body for Baptists and a different
body for Pentecostals and a different body for us. We shall all stand at the
Judgment Seat of Christ and give an account. And in that Day it will not be the
name over the door of the building that matters but our faithfulness to our calling.
b). There is only one Spirit, the Holy Spirit who has been sent to search out a
Bride for God?s Son, and He will only act within the boundaries that have been set.
There are of course many deceiving spirits, which is why we need to know what
the Holy Spirit is doing and will do, according to the scriptures.
c). There is, as we saw earlier, one hope of our calling ? it is the same
calling for us all and the same hope for us all. It?s not ?going to heaven?, but being
a joint heir with Christ, receiving our inheritance and the salvation of our soul ?
this is the direction to which all of scripture moves ? there is not an alternative
d). There is only one Lord ? the Lord Jesus Christ - Joh 14:6 Jesus said to
him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except
e). All things have been made by Him and all things have been made for
Him ? there is no other.
f). There is one faith, the faith ? the faith which leads to the saving of the
soul ? the faith that will be accounted as righteousness. Faith is not a nebulous
concept ? it is very specific that?s why it is shown to be singular ? one faith.
g). There is only one baptism in relation to our positioning in the Kingdom
Ro 6:4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as
Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should
walk in newness of life.
h). Col 3:3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
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4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in
glory. 5 ? Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth:
i). It is the baptism of dying to the flesh ? keeping our old man in the place
of death. This is the only baptism that will result in Kingdom life.
j). There is One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all and
in you all ? there is really nothing that can be said about that ? the preeminence of
God in and over all is without question - Ps 14:1 ? The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God."
7). And so, in these first 6 verses of Chapter 4, the Holy Spirit through the pen of
Paul, has focused on the unity of our walk in worthiness to our calling.
a). What follows does not contradict the unity and the oneness, but rather
demonstrates the diversity and interdependence of each part of the body forming a
b). But this will have to wait for next time.