The Saints At Ephesus
The Ephesian Church figures prominently into the entire story of Paul's life and ministry. Located in what is now Turkey, it had been a trading city and harbor, but in Paul's day was seat of a Roman proconsul. The great temple to the goddess Diana was its prominent feature, and a major pagan cult grew around a fallen meteorite stone. Paul ministered in the synagogue, and had many converts during his three years there. Aquila and Priscilla tutored Apollos there.
Ephesians 1:1 - "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus."
Accepted in the Beloved
Jesus said that when Lazarus died he went to the bosom of Abraham; seen, as it were, embracing the old patriarch. If we make it to Heaven, it won't be just to view the sights, but to enjoy eternity in glorious fellowship with brothers and sisters from all the ages who overcame the world, the flesh and the devil as we did. What an ecstatic privilege - a lavish, everlasting gift from God!
Ephesians 1:6 - "To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved."
All Things Together In Christ (The Mystery Of His Will)
In Acts 3:21, Peter spoke prophetically of "the restitution of all things." That will begin when Jesus returns with His saints to win the battle of Armageddon. He will establish a 1000-year Kingdom on earth. Afterward, He will deliver that Kingdom up to the Throne in Heaven, and all the material universe will pass away forever. This is the mystery of His will.
Ephesians 1:10 - "That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him."
Chosen And Predestined To A Heavenly Inheritance
God "blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, ...Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children." God knew who would respond to the Gospel, and chose and predestined us to a heavenly inheritance.
Ephesians 1:10-11 - "That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, ...In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will."
Holy Ghost Baptism: Seal And Earnest Of Inheritance
The fact that a Holy Ghost-filled Church even exists in modern times is testimony to the supernatural power of prophecy. "We have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated... That we should be to the praise of his glory." God predestined the Church to be the recipient of the Promise given to Abraham. The seal that attests to that Promise is the Baptism of the Holy Ghost, with the evidence of speaking in other tongues (Acts 2:38-39).
Ephesians 1:13 - "...after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance."
I Cease Not To Give Thanks For You
What greater joy can be had by any man of God than that those he has preached to have not only gladly received his word, but have believed, been wholly converted, and filled with the Holy Ghost. What greater cause for rejoicing can he have than to know he has played a successful role in introducing sinful, lost souls into the eternal Kingdom of God.
Ephesians 1:15 - "Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers."
Pray For Wisdom, Revelation, Understanding, And Hope
A man of God cannot be satisfied with the simple conversion of a new believer. He carries a burden of prayer for every convert to become strong in the Lord. "That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, ...may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
Ephesians 1:19 - "And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe."
Jesus - The Body Of God
God is an indivisible, eternal Spirit. Jesus is His Son (male child). In Jesus dwells the fullness of God bodily. Following His resurrection, God exhalted Him to the Throne in Heaven, where He now sits, "Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come." God "hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church."
Ephesians 1:23 - "Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all."
You Hath He Quickened, Who Were Dead
Before you were converted, you were a standard-issue worldling. It does not matter whether you were a murderer or a mailman, an adulterer or a doctor; you were DEAD, because you were a trespasser against God. The degree of sin is of little consequence, because until you are BORN again, of the water (baptism) and Spirit (receiving the Holy Ghost) (John 3:3-5; Acts 2:38), you are dead toward God. The Holy Ghost "quickens" (gives life to) you. You must be born again.
Ephesians 2:1 - "And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins."
The Prince Of The Power Of The Air
You may think that you were just another typical human, doing typical human things, before you were saved, but Paul said that you were walking "according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience." You were under Satan's influence. Paul called him, "The god of this world," (2 Corinthians 4:4).
Ephesians 2:3 - "Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath."
Sitting Together In Heavenly Places In The Ages To Come
The Smithsonian Institute named Albert E. Brumley the greatest Gospel songwriter before WW2. Many of his songs are known throughout Christendom. "This World Is Not My Home," resonates with every believer who hears it. "I'll Fly Away," has been recorded by countless artists. Those songs testify to the powerful hope that Bible-believers have in life hereafter.
Ephesians 2:6-7 - "And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus."
Saved By Grace Through Faith, Ordained To Good Works
Jesus builds His Church by granting grace to those who show faith in Him. He gives grace to us so that we may walk in good works that showcase His creative workmanship. Our faith elicits His grace, which stimulates good works (not for boasting, but for His glory).
Ephesians 2:8-10 - "By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."
We Have Access By One Spirit
Some people ask, "Who should I pray to? The Father? The Son? The Holy Ghost?" "There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus," 1 Timothy 2:5. It is the MAN, Jesus Christ, who revealed the invisible God to us. How? He is the INCARNATION of God - all the fullness of God is in Christ. He is the Image of the Invisible. When you pray to Jesus, you are speaking to the entire Godhead - Father, Son, and Spirit.
Ephesians 2:18 - "For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father."
Strangers, Foreigners Made Fellowcitizens By Christ
The Old Testament Law isolated Jews from Gentiles, excluding everyone not in the Commonwealth of Israel, or under in the Abrahamic Covenants of Promise. But Jesus "abolished in his flesh the enmity [hatred], even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man." He broke down the wall between Jews and Gentiles. Jesus did not destroy the Law (Matthew 5:17), but paid it off, ransoming Jews and Gentiles with His blood.
Ephesians 2:19 - "Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God."
The Cornerstone, The Foundation, The Holy Temple
Every saint of God is a member in the household of God. "Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ," 1 Peter 2:5. We are His HOLY TEMPLE. Jesus is our Cornerstone, and the Apostles are our foundation. Your body is His Temple. Keep it HOLY.
Ephesians 2:20-21 - "And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord."
The Church of Jesus Christ
No entity on earth is so magnificent. It is God's habitat on earth - His people. It is the only thing that will survive when the world is on fire - His church. It is the only place you will ever find God. He doesn't dwell in tents and tabernacles. He dwells in regenerated men and women.
Ephesians 2:21-22 - "In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit."
Paul, The Prisoner Of Jesus Christ
Five times in his various epistles, Paul claimed to be a "prisoner" of Jesus Christ. "Prisoner" is a stronger term than "servant," which he also used many times. Fourteen times, Paul spoke of his bonds. The call of God enslaves a man to the will of God. There is no escape. Paul certainly felt that he had no choice but to do the will of God. Anyone who can live selfishly, carnally and worldly without their conscience being pricked knows nothing of this kind of relationship.
Ephesians 3:1 - "...I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles."
The Mystery Of The Dispensation Of The Grace Of God
In this wonderful Church age, the Gospel is preached around the world. Multitudes come to Jesus to be born again of water and Spirit. But in Paul's day, salvation by grace was unheard of. Only then was the mystery revealed.
Ephesians 3:2,5 - "If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; ...Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit."
Fellow Heirs Of The Unsearchable Riches Of Christ
If you are a born-again Child of God, you have a rich inheritance. Before coming to Christ, you had nothing but death and condemnation coming. But your obedience to the Gospel has earned you an inestimable inheritance! "That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, ...and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel."
Ephesians 3:8 - "Unto me, ...is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God."
Angels Learn Divine Lessons From The Church
We were created lower than the angels (Psalm 8; Hebrews 2), but because Jesus Christ lifts a believer up from his low estate, we shall judge angels (1 Corinthians 6:3). God has given His Church a loftier revelation of Himself than even the angels have known. The Gospel is enigmatic to the angels. They earnestly desire to understand it (1 Peter 1:12), and can only learn of it through the Church.
Ephesians 3:10 - "To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God."
We Have Boldness And Access With Confidence To Him
God opened the door of the Gospel to the Gentiles after the Jews rejected Jesus and crucified Him. Paul and the other Apostles received a divine revelation that the Gentiles should become fellowheirs and partakers of the promises of Christ. He called it "the dispensation of the grace of God," and "the unsearchable riches of Christ." Previously, all these things were hidden mysteries to the Gentiles, but now we can have fellowship with what was formerly a mystery. We can "fellowship the mystery."
Ephesians 3:12 - "In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him."
That You May Comprehend His Breadth, Depth, Height
Paul communicated his strong desire that the Ephesians would be "strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height." I pray that for you, here and now. Be filled with His Spirit. Know Jesus intimately, and deep within your soul.
Ephesians 3:19 - "And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God."
Exceeding Abundantly Above All That We Ask Or Think
We are forever underestimating the power of God, to our shame. We go to doctors, lawyers, bankers and other men expecting solutions. But we neglect to pray for the same solutions because we cannot imagine how God can help. We expect doctors to heal us and lawyers to solve our legal problems, but we cannot imagine how God can do the same. God created the universe. He can CREATE solutions you cannot imagine!
Ephesians 3:20-21 - "Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, ...Unto him be glory in the church."
One Spirit, One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism, One God
How can the Nicene Creed survive in the face of this canonized Oneness Apostolic creed? There is only one body - Jesus Christ is the head, and the Church is its members. One Spirit - Holy, eternal, invisible, indivisible, Father of us all, and incarnate in one body. One faith - not a thousand denominations. One baptism - of water and Spirit, in Jesus' name. One, one, one. One way to God.
Ephesians 4:4 - "There is one body, and one Spirit, ...One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all."
Jesus Descended Into The Grave, Led Captivity Captive
"Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission [for sins]," Hebrews 9:2. The righteous souls from antiquity could not enter Heaven until their sins were remitted by the blood of Jesus. The blood of bulls and goats had only postponed their sins until Messiah's blood was shed. Jesus "also descended first into the lower parts of the earth," Ephesians 4:9. He "went and preached unto the spirits in prison," 1 Peter 3:19. Jesus led the saints who were captive in the grave into Heaven.
Ephesians 4:8 - "When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive."
He Ascended Up On High, And Gave Gifts Unto Men
When Jesus ascended up on high, following His crucifixion, "he gave gifts unto men." The foremost gift is the Baptism of the Holy Ghost, given to the 120, then 3000 on the Day of Pentecost, then to everyone since who would have it. Then Jesus also gave the Nine Gifts of the Spirit: the Word of Wisdom, the Word of Knowledge, Faith, Gifts of Healing, Working of Miracles, Prophecy, Discerning of Spirits, Different Tongues, The Interpretation of Tongues.
Ephesians 4:8 - "Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men."
The twelve men who were originally hand-picked by Jesus Christ, and also Paul, were called Apostles. Thayer's Greek lexicon says that an Apostle is "a delegate, specifically an ambassador of the Gospel; officially a commissioner of Christ; he that is sent. Apostles are special messengers of God, sent with orders to an appointed place. More than Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors or Teachers, Apostles are missionaries, ground-breakers, overseers. An Apostle moves freely within the body of Christ, giving guidance as an emissary of Christ to anyone who is connected with the Gospel.
Ephesians 4:11 - "And he gave some, apostles."
The prophets of Israel were seers. They had divine intuition. They often began, "Thus saith the Lord." Men like Moses, Samuel, Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Zechariah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Joel, John the Baptist, and even Jesus Christ, prophesied. If a prophecy failed, that prophet was not to be feared (Deuteronomy 18:22). Concerning false prophets, Moses said, "the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul," (Deuteronomy 13). A prophet must never prophesy unless the Lord hath said (Ezekiel 13).
Ephesians 4:11 - "...and some, prophets"
"Evangel" means "good news." An evangelist spreads the good news. The earliest evangelists were street preachers. Most evangelists of our day rarely preach to a secular crowd. If evangelists preach only to saints, who will preach to sinners? Somebody needs to take it to the streets. Philip the evangelist preached to Samaritans, an Ethiopian, in towns from Azotus to Cesarea, possibly even Tyre, Sidon and other heathen cities. The modern "missionary" is more an evangelist than typical American evangelists. Jesus said to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.
Ephesians 4:11 - "He gave some, ...evangelists."
"I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding," Jeremiah 3:15. That prophecy was given to Israel, and will be fulfilled during the soon-coming 1000-year Kingdom of Christ. But there is a principle embedded in the prophecy. God gives pastors to people. And He does so according to HIS heart. Nowadays, men run from church to church until they find someone who will tickle their itching ears. A true pastor watches, warns and disciplines the flock of God after the order of the Good Shepherd.
Ephesians 4:11 - "...some, pastors"
God gives teachers to instruct us in the right, and reprove us in the wrong. Solomon often associated "instruction" and "reproof" (Proverbs 5:12; 6:23; 8:33; 10:17; 12:1; 13:1,18; 15:5,32). Paul told Timothy that "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, ...for reproof, ...for instruction in righteousness," 2 Timothy 3:16. "Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured," Proverbs 13:18. 1200 pages of life-shaping Bible truths must not be mishandled by novice teachers. Truth must be thoroughly taught by God-fearing, learned teachers.
Ephesians 4:11 - "...some, teachers."
The Five-Fold Ministry
God placed dynamic leadership in the church to guide it into the "unity of the faith," "knowledge of the Son," and "the stature of the fulness of Christ." These five principal leadership roles - Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers, are God's ambassadors, emissaries, governors, overseers, recruiters, instructors and much more. True men of God are the most important people on earth. In ancient times, even kings submitted to their leadership. Give the most earnest heed to them.
Ephesians 4:12 - "For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ."
A Perfect Man, No More Children, Grown Up Into Him
There are two kinds of perfection. Perfect: Flawless. And Perfect: Fully Mature. You can only be made perfect flawless by the blood of Jesus. But to be perfect, fully mature, you must grow up. You must stop your childish ways. You must attain to the model of Christ. Put aside carnality and worldliness and become truly spiritual.
Ephesians 4:13-15 - "Till we all come ...unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, ...grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ."
Tossed By Every Wind, Sleight, Craftiness, Deception
In the 45 years since I entered the ministry, I have seen every conceivable fad and fashion in Christianity. Men are fickle, quickly substituting style over substance, and falling into deceptive innovations. True doctrines need no innovating. Preach the Word. There is no reason why the youngest preacher cannot preach the same message our forefathers preached. It saved then, and it will save us now.
Ephesians 4:14 - "That we henceforth be no more ...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."
Speaking The Truth In Love Builds Up The Church
Paul juxtaposed the five-fold ministry against despicable men who usurp power and influence in the Church - men of "cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive." Crafty deceivers! You have seen them. They narrowly preach pet doctrines which appeal to itching ears, but never preach the core values of the Word of God. The remedy for that situation is that true men must speak the TRUTH in love, so the Church will grow mature in Christ.
Ephesians 4:15-16 - "But speaking the truth in love, ...maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love."
The Whole Body, Fitly Joined Together And Compacted
The Holy Ghost works through every Spirit-filled believer in some degree, from the 93-year-old saint to the 15-year-old new convert. By His Word and by His Spirit, God fitly joins each member into His Church. Then, the members themselves provide a cohesive factor. "Compacted by that which every joint supplieth," means that we are "compacted" - united or "knit together," instructed and pressed together by one another.
Ephesians 4:16 - "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..."
Alienated From The Life Of God Through Ignorance
The Apostle boldly warned the people against potential errors. "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." Do NOT IGNORE or be blind to the truth.
Ephesians 4:22-23 - "Put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind."
Control Your Anger, Restrain Your Wrath
Anger can empower you to resist or correct a wrong. Everyone should feel anger when evil prevails. But anger must be disciplined. Anger can destroy your marriage, your friendships, or your career. Anger causes high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, medical bills, substance abuse, abusiveness, crime, even murder. Anger can alienate your family, send you to prison and to hell. If you become angry, SIN NOT! Never go to bed angry. Prevent Satan from exploiting your weakness.
Ephesians 4:26 - "Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil."
Let No Corrupt Communication Proceed Out Of Your Mouth
We must walk worthy of our calling to follow Jesus. We must radically change our behavior from selfish, worldly and carnal to godly, righteous and holy. "Put off concerning the former conversation [conduct] the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and ...put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour."
Ephesians 4:29 - "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers."
The Day Of Redemption
Jesus bought our pardon from the consequences of sin. He redeemed us from death. But our redemption will only be final when He takes us out of this world into His holy presence. "We ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body," Romans 8:23. Meanwhile, the Holy Ghost seals us until that great day of deliverance - the first resurrection and rapture of the Church. Do not cross the only Spirit that can save you.
Ephesians 4:30 - "Grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption."
Put Away Evil Speaking, Bitterness, Wrath, Malice
You do not have to pray to be talking to God. God hears even your daily conversations, so if your conversation betrays your prayers, be warned. "Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment," Matthew 12:36. Our future is, in large part, determined by the things we say. Bad attitudes corrupt our speech. Bitterness, wrath, anger, clamour, and malice poison our words. Sanctified hearts produce sanctified words.
Ephesians 4:31 - "Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice."
No Filthiness, Foolish Talking, Or Jesting, But Thanks
Modern Christianity has turned the Church-house into a comedy club. Abominable! Everything about the scriptures teach sobriety. Comedy is almost without exception the practice of satire, mockery, denigration, humiliation, etc. Contrariwise, godliness demands respect, honor, reverence, truth and honesty. Furthermore, we tolerate lewd, profane, vile conversations; grieving the Holy Ghost as we do. We are not to be citizens of this world, but citizens of Heaven. Our conversation and citizenship should be consistent. We need to clean up our act.
Ephesians 5:4 - "Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks."
Let No Man Deceive You With Vain Words
Words are expressions of our beliefs and desires. In that sense, almost every statement is a kind of prayer. Words articulate our wishes, our desires, and our intentions - what we are, or what we hope to be. At the same time, other people's words are expressions of their beliefs and desires. We must practice extreme caution not to be influenced by others whose beliefs and desires are inconsistent with God's.
Ephesians 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."
For Eternity: The Wrath Of God, Or The Joy Of The Lord
If you could see into eternity, you would see every eternal soul either in heaven or hell. God's plan is clear. "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 have been good and faithful servants will "enter into the joy of the Lord," (Matthew 25:21). We should take great heed to this prophetic warning!
Ephesians 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."
Reprove Wrongdoers, Do Not Fellowship Or Partake With
It is not just "major" sins of fornication, idolatry, or perversions that Paul preached against. He condemned foolish talking, jesting, vain words and more. Unsaved people walk in darkness. "Because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience." Choose GODLY friends. "Walk as children of light." "Friendship of the world is enmity [hatred] with God... whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God," James 4:4.
Ephesians 5:7,11 - "Be not ye therefore partakers with them. ...have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them."
The Fruit Of The Spirit
If you want to have spiritual fruit in your life, you must abandon things that are contrary to the Spirit. "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." Sacrifice your old ways to God. Stop appeasing the world, the flesh and the devil. Spiritual fruit will not grow in that context. Walk in goodness, righteousness and truth.
Ephesians 5:9-10 - "(For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord."
Reproof Is Light
Godly reproof has almost vanished from Churches. Pastors rarely speak of sin. Paul commanded us to "reprove, rebuke, and exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine," (2 Timothy 4:2). Godly reproof is a divinely-ordained instrument which shines the light of God. Reproof exposes, manifests and condemns sin, attempting to restore the errant soul to the right path. Reproof is light.
Ephesians 5:11-13 - "...reprove them. 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."
Reproof Wakes Us, Sobers Us, Makes Us Wiser
Reproof is like waking someone when the house is on fire. "Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light." To one who has been foolish, reproof imposes circumspection, caution, wisdom and "understanding what the will of the Lord is." Reproof attempts to stop our time-wasting, "redeeming the time, because the days are evil," and stop our delirious behavior. Reproof sobers us up, and admonishes us to be full of the Holy Ghost.
Ephesians 5:18 - "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit."
Speaking Psalms And Singing Songs
When the river of the Holy Ghost flows through your life, your entire lifestyle will exude Holy Spirit. You will talk about things of God. You will quote scriptures, recite poems, sing songs about your experiences and relationship with God, and you will be thankful. Have you done a reality check lately? Do you sing and praise God enough?
Ephesians 5:19-20 - "Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God ...in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Husband - Head Of The Wife
Hierarchy is God's invention. "All things were created by him, and for him: ...that in all things he might have the preeminence," Colossians 1:16,18. Anyone outside His hierarchical structure will be destroyed. The Son of Man, Jesus Christ is subservient to God. "The head of Christ is God," 1 Corinthians 11:3.
Ephesians 5:22-24 - "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: ...so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing."
Wife - Subject Unto Her Husband, As Unto Christ
If Jesus had not fully submitted to His Heavenly Father, we would not have a Savior today. If a woman does not fully submit to her husband as unto the Lord, the world will never see what God might have done with that Godly couple. A man must love his wife as Christ loves us, but a woman must also submit to her husband, as saints must submit to Christ.
Ephesians 5:24,33 - "As the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. ...and the wife see that she reverence her husband."
Sanctified With The Washing Of Water By The Word
Three elements are definitely shown in these verses to be necessary for the sanctification and cleansing of the Church: Jesus' giving Himself (shedding His blood), with the washing of water (water baptism), BY THE WORD. The Word mandates the blood and the water.
Ephesians 5:25-27 - "...Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 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."
A Glorious Church, Holy, Not Having Spot Or Wrinkle
Jesus Christ gave His life for His Church, "that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word." Jesus did not die so you could defile yourself in carnal, worldly, sensual pleasures. He did not save you so you could reproach His name with frivolous, careless or reckless living. He saved you to be His chaste Bride, His glorious Church. Live up to your calling.
Ephesians 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."
Marriage Typifies Our Relationship With Jesus
No amount of women's liberation or militant homosexual activism will ever change Almighty God's commandment that marriage is a sacred bond between one man and one woman. The power, glory, anointing and blessing of God that is upon a consecrated married couple NEVER occurs on forbidden relationships.
Ephesians 5:30-32 - "We are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. 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. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church."
Family - Obedient Children, Honored Parents
God has a well-defined interest in your family. He specifically addresses the subjects of marriage, husbands, wives, parents and children - and their relationships. The family unit should be a manifestation of God's will on earth. When husbands love their wives, wives submit to their husbands, and children obey and honor their parents IN THE LORD, God blesses them immensely.
Ephesians 6:1-3 - "Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. 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."
If you are a parent, God expects you to raise your children "in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." Nurturing includes education, training, discipline and correction. Admonitions include rebukes and warnings. It is your responsibility to teach your child the ways of the Lord. That includes teaching them the Bible, and the rights and wrongs of life, including every necessary rebuke, reproof, chastening and punishment. Do not abdicate that responsibility! Do it lovingly, and with great care.
Ephesians 6:4 - "Fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord."
Servants And Masters
Virtually every society in ancient civilization practiced some form of slavery. Before you condemn Judeao-Christian teachings as being pro-slavery, remember that the Bible introduced most of the first vestiges of civility and morality to the matter, and it was Christians who played the principle roles in bringing about the abolition of slavery in modern times. These principles apply equally to all employers and employees.
Ephesians 6:5-6,9 - "Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters ...as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; ...masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening."
We Are Wrestling With Devils
Why do we need the whole armor of God? Because we are in a great warfare against powerful evil spirits. Principalities. Rulers of the darkness of this world. Spiritual wickedness in high places. A human is no match for a devil. You need salvation, righteousness, truth, the Gospel, faith, and the Word of God to win this battle.
Ephesians 6:10,12 - "Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. ...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."
The Girdle Of Truth
In the armour of God, the first item mention is the girdle of TRUTH. Truth is the Word of God, which is also incarnate in the body of Jesus Christ. Islam is not truth. Buddhism is not truth. Hinduism is not truth. Jesus is THE only truth, and He is the Word made flesh. That truth will gird your loins. Your loins provide your strength for walking and running. Your loins also contain your reproductive system. Truth gives you power to run, and power to be fruitful.
Ephesians 6:14 - "Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth."
The Breastplate Of Righteousness
Righteousness, simply defined, is right-doing. Unrighteousness is wrong-doing. And right and wrong must be defined by God. If right and wrong are not defined by God, then who can define it? By the righteousness which is of God, our lives are saved. Wrong-doing exposes us to every risk and harm. Righteousness is our breastplate, protecting, as it were, all our vital organs. By learning and obeying the Word of God, and carefully following the leading of the Holy Spirit, you are most protected, walking in righteousness.
Ephesians 6:14 - "And having on the breastplate of righteousness."
The Gospel Shoes
When Israel ate the first Passover, just before fleeing Egypt, God told them to put shoes on their feet. They were about to take a journey. When Moses stood before the burning bush, in the presence of God, God told him to take off his shoes. You do not need shoes in the presence of God. Everywhere else, you need protection. People who preach the Gospel have beautiful feet (Romans 10:15). Are you going to the Promised Land? Put on your Gospel shoes.
Ephesians 6:15 - "And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace."
The Shield Of Faith
Satan never stops hurling every imaginable assault on a saint of God. Paul metaphorically called them Satan's "fiery darts." Faith in God will shield you from those fiery darts, and they will be rendered ineffective against you. Paul added, "ABOVE ALL, taking the shield of faith." Nothing in the armor of God is more important than faith. In warfare, it is said that a Commander with confidence is worth a whole army. Faith can quench every enemy.
Ephesians 6:16 - "Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked."
The Helmet Of Salvation
The head of the man is Christ (1 Corinthians 11). Jesus is the head of the Church (Ephesians 1:22). The head of the body is the controlling member. You can sever almost any member of your body and still survive, but your head must be protected. Satan aims for your head. The world, the flesh and the devil assault your mind endlessly. Your best protection is to be born again. With the new birth, you receive a new, spiritual mind - the mind of Christ - which cannot be destroyed by your enemies. Salvation is your helmet.
Ephesians 6:17 - "Take the helmet of salvation."
The Sword Of The Spirit
"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." Every item that Paul listed in the whole armor of God was DEFENSIVE, except for the Sword of the Spirit - the Word of God. The Word of God is the only weapon we need to go on the OFFENSIVE against the world, the flesh and the devil. The Word of God is sharp, quick and will pierce anything. Use it!
Ephesians 6:17 - "And the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."
In the same verses where Paul recommended "the whole armour of God," (the Girdle of Truth, the Breastplate of Righteousness, Shoes of the Gospel, the Shield of Faith, the Helmet of Salvation and the Sword of the Spirit), he concluded with a forceful call to prayer. The whole armour of God must be attended by relentless, effectual, intercessory prayers. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation and Spirit are augmented and fortified by earnest prayer. Pray always!
Ephesians 6:18 - "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints."
Pray For Me
Paul often asked the saints in various cities to pray for him. He coveted the prayer covering of brothers and sisters. Every man of God needs prayer warriors who will make intercession for him before the Throne of God. Pray for as many preachers as you can think of, that they will boldly preach the truth, righteousness and holiness of God's Word.
Ephesians 6:19-20 - "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, ...that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak."
Tychicus - Faithful Minister
Tychicus was mentioned seven times in five books. He was from Asia, (probably Ephesus), and became Paul's companion toward the end of his third missionary journey from Corinth, through Macedonia, Asia Minor, and Jerusalem. In Rome, Tychicus penned letters to the Ephesians and Colossians for Paul (Ephesians 6:24; Colossians 4:18). Paul called Tychicus "a faithful minister and fellowservant in the Lord," (Colossians 4:7). Tychicus was both Paul's courier and messenger on numerous occasions, including Ephesus, Colossae, possibly Laodicea, and to Titus.
Ephesians 6:21-22 - "Tychicus, ...Whom I have sent... that he might comfort your hearts."
Peace, Love, Faith And Grace To You
The Apostle ended his epistle with a blessing of PEACE (quietness and rest), LOVE (the bond of perfectness), FAITH (persuasion, conviction of religious truth) and GRACE (unmerited divine favor). I wish these things for you, today. May God give you peace that passes all understanding, love for Him that will never die, faith to see you through, and grace for you and those you love.
Ephesians 6:23 - "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."
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