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26 June 2013

Ephesians - Part 6 (Oneness with God)

Chapter 4:
Verses 1-3:

1. I Therefore, the prisoner (captive) of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation (invitation) wherewith ye are called, 2. With all lowliness (humbleness of mind) and meekness (gentleness), with longsuffering (patience), forbearing one another in love; 3. Endeavoring to keep the unity (oneness) of the Spirit in the bond (G4886) of peace. This chapter, the heart gospel, emphasizes the principle of love and the need for the church to be closely bound by love’s principles, and seven things to bring us to a fullness of Jesus.

Verses 4-6: 4. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are 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.
One Body: Colossians 1:18: And he is the head of the body, the church (G1577)... The Greek word for “church” is ekklesia derived from two words meaning called out. “The church” refers to the body of believers called out of the world to assemble together in the bond of peace and unity of the one Spirit. They are the “body of Christ.”
One Spirit: ...he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit (1Cor 6:17). Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the Promise of the Holy Spirit, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear (Acts 2:33). The one Spirit is the Father’s which Jesus received and poured out at Pentecost. ...for the Holy Spirit was not yet (-----); because that Jesus was not yet glorified (Jn 7:39).
One Hope: And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers (Act 26:6). 13. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law... 14. That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith (Gal 3:13-14).
One Lord: And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one (Zech 14:9). 1 Corinthians 8:6: But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.
One Faith: Romans 3:21-22: 21. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22. Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
One Baptism: Galatians 3:27: For as many of you as have been [immersed] into Christ have put on Christ. Acts 4:10-12: 10. Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even in him doth this man stand here before you whole. 11. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. 12. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
One God: John 17:3, 21-20: And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.... 20. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; 21. That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.. To be ONE with the Father and Son is to be a part of the body of Christ, possessed by the same spirit and be immersed into the same faith with Jesus as Lord.

Verses 7-11: 7. But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. 8. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. 9. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? 10. He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) 11. And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

Verse 9 is a quote from Psalms 68:18, talking about, not the Father, but the Son of God and what he did as a man to overcome the flesh, or man’s carnal way of thinking. Proverbs 30:4: Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son's name, if thou can tell? (Jn 3:13)

What does it mean, he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? Many connect this verse with 1 Peter 3:19 and teach that Jesus, right after his resurrection, descended into a place called hell (purgatory) and preached to “spirits” (disembodied people) in prison there. However, Jesus physically descended to the earth, and he spiritually descended from a spiritual nature into a fleshly nature (Rom 8:3; Heb 2:14, 16-17). Here is the context in Peter: 1 Peter 3:18-20: 18. Because Christ also suffered at one time concerning sins, (the) Just for the sake of (the) unjust, that he might bring us to the God, having been put to death indeed in flesh, but made alive (in) the spirit; 19. in which also having gone and preached to spirits in prison, 20. (who) formerly obeyed not, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water. (Quoted from the Greek interlinear) Those who did not enter the ark in Noah’s day are likened to disobedient “spirits in prison.” The Son of God used Noah to deliver a message of salvation to them. While on earth Jesus preached to “spirits in prison,” or, people in bondage to their sins.

Romans 12:3: For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. The Father has dealt each of us a measure of faith by means of His only begotten Son. This graciousness is the infinite love by which all gifts are bestowed on mankind (cf Eph 2:8; Jam 1:17). While the Father is the source of all good things, He has also given gifts of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers from whom we learn about the gift of life. Why does He give these gifts?

Verses 12-14: 12. For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13. Until we all come into 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: Through human beings God will accomplish the completion of mankind in their understanding to the point that they will grow spiritually into the fullness of Christ. So, 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 (verse 14). It is spiritual babies tossed about by every wind of doctrine, and not those who become spiritually mature of Christ.

Verses 15-16: 15. But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 16. From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplies, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, makes increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. The body, used metaphorically of Christ’s church, are individuals having in common the truth as it is in Jesus, and functioning together like as does a healthy body. Truth is spoken in love - not in anger, sarcasm and impatience; and the whole body is edified in love.

Verses 17-19: 17. This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity (excessive pride) of their mind, 18. Having the understanding (spiritually) darkened, being alienated (separated) from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: 19. Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. “Other Gentiles” fit any unbeliever of truth, those who refuse to hear because of their pride, leaving themselves in spiritual ignorance, separated from God and with the inability to feel the presence of the Holy Spirit. These give their lives over totally, to a pursuit of worldliness, or a form of godliness without power (2 Tim 3:5). There is a period of time when God winks at our ignorance (Acts 17:29-31), but now it is time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed (Rom 13:11).

Verses 20–24: 20. But ye have not so learned Christ; 21. If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22. That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23. And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24. And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. The idea of hearing and being taught by Christ ties in with what John wrote: the anointing (of the Spirit of Christ) which ye have received of him abides in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teaches you all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him (1Jn 2:27). When we develop spiritual ears to hear, then we will no longer walk in pride and spiritual ignorance; the former way of life disappears and the old way of thinking (old man) is replaced by a new way of thinking (new man). Then are we are created inwardly in God’s righteousness, i.e. we are converted to His way of thinking based on the principle of love.

Verses 25-32: 25. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of another. 26. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: 27. Neither give place to the devil. 28. Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to the one needing. 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. 30. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. 31. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32. And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

These verses expand on the previous idea of putting away the sins of the flesh (old man) and practicing Godly traits (new man) that we learn through studying the life of Christ. What is meant by be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath? Thoughts produce feelings, feelings lead to actions: anger is a feeling. Do not act on your anger when it comes up. Learn to control what comes out of your mouth so that your words can be edifying instead of destructive. Unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings (Mal 4:2). Let not the sun go down upon your wrath, i.e. do not ignore the voice of the Spirit in your conscience and the light you have, or you will act according to the flesh.

Verse 30 states that we are sealed by the Holy Spirit of God. The Greek actually says “sealed by the spirit, the holy (one) of God. One would be supplied because “holy” is an adjective. The holy One of God is identified in scripture as Jesus (Mk 1:24; Lk 4:34). The concept of sealing indicates a person who is “confirmed” or one who has been “authenticated” in God’s character. Today, to authenticate a signature on a document, we have a Notary sign and stamp it. In ancient times, the document would be rolled, sealed with wax and stamped with the signet ring of the ruling authority. Think of your heart as the wax, softened to receive truth. The gold ring on the kings finger is a metaphor of the faith of Christ (cf 1Pt 1:7; Rv 3:18; Lk 11:20) with which he writes the understanding of the law on your heart and seals within you the image of his Father’s character. John the Baptist said, He (the Bridegroom) must increase, but I (self) must decrease; the one receiving His testimony hath set to his seal (confirmed in the heart) that God is true (Jn 3:30, 33). Do not let the Sun go down in your heart. Amen.

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