Keith Hunt - Bible Story, NT - Chapter Eighty-seven: Paul writes Ephesians   Restitution of All Things
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New Testament Bible
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Chapter Eighty-seven:

Paul writes Ephesians -Part two

                     THE NEW TESTAMENT

                        BIBLE STORY

                   CHAPTER EIGHTY-SEVEN


                    LETTER OF EPHESIANS

                         Part Two



CHAPTER FOUR


PAUL'S DESIRE FOR THE EPHESIANS

     Paul was in prison when he wrote this letter to the
Ephesians. He tells them he was in prison because he served the
Lord Jesus. During that first century age it was not uncommon to
be imprisoned for religious faith. Even today in some countries
in the world, believing in Jesus Christ could get you imprisoned
and/or physically punished or even put to death. We in the
Western "Christian" world often do not realize that other
Christians in other parts of the world are sometimes harshly
persecuted and at times are killed for being a Christian.

     He wanted them to live a life worthy of their calling. To be
humble, gentle, and patient with each other. He wanted them to
make allowances for each others faults because of their love. He
wanted them to keep united in the Holy Spirit, and bind all of
this with peace.
     Paul told them, "We are all one body, we have the same
Spirit, we have all been called to the same glorious future.
There is just one Lord, one body of faith, one kind of baptism,
and there is only one God the Father, who is over all, and living
in us all" (verses 1-6).
     Why would Paul need to say this to Christians? Many would
say that such a life style of living would be automatic for
Christians to live, but as we have seen from some of Paul's other
letters to other churches, the way of living Paul directs and
wants to see in all Christians is not automatic. Paul had to tell
the Corinthian church that they were more carnal minded than
spiritual minded, more as babes in Christ still feeding on
spiritual milk and not mature in spirituality.  Even today, sad
to say, many Christian churches are riddled with people that show
anything but humbleness, gentleness, and patience, with each
other, and are quick to make no allowance for the faults of
others.
     Far too many who call themselves "Christian" have no love
and are not peaceable people. This is indeed shameful. 
     We need to remember that in the long run of the Christian
race we have all been called to the same glorious future. We are
all at different levels of spiritual growth, we all have
different trials, problems, weaknesses. We all come from various
backgrounds, with various past influences and up-bringing, some
good and some not so good. Patience and love with each other is
VERY important.

     Paul goes on to say that each person has been given a
special gift or gifts according to the generosity of Christ. 
When Christ ascended to heaven He led captivity captive. He took
what held us captive - sin and the power of Satan and the demons,
and took all that captive in Himself. The power of His death on
the cross and the power of the resurrection, made us free from
the captivity of sin, so we may be given the gifts and
grace of Christ as He gives according to His will to each
Christian. Yes, though He ascended to heaven, He first came down
from heaven to earth, to live and die, to take captive in
Himself, the sins of all people, who were themselves held captive
by sin and Satan. It was the same person that descended who also
ascended far above all heavens, and so He did fulfil all things
written about Himself in the Scriptures (verses 7-10).

     Paul is reminding them that all that are called by God are
precious to the Father and to Christ, all are given a gift or
gifts according as is the will of both the Father and Christ.

GIFTS OF SPIRITUAL SERVICE IN THE CHURCH

     With all that Paul has told them, he proceeds to mention the
spiritual gifts of those in the church who have been called and
given gifts of various teaching ministries. He breaks it down
into FOUR categories - Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, and
Pastors and teachers. Pastors and teachers are really one
category. Note there is not the word "some" between Pastors and
teachers as there is before the other three functions. A Pastor
is a shepherd of the flock, a spiritual Elder in the church (as
we can see from Acts 20:17-38; ! Tim. 3 and Titus 1), who
according to Paul in 1 Timothy 3,  MUST be able to "teach."  An
Elder, shepherd, pastor, may not be the greatest "preacher" (as
we think of the word "preacher" in sermon presenting) but he must
be a good sound teacher, skilled in being able to teach the word
of God, in correct faithful soundness. As we read through 1 and 2
Timothy and the letter to Titus, all this becomes very clear.

     The word "apostle" means "one who is sent."  We can gather
the meaning by the example and ministry of Paul himself. He
travelled around preaching and teaching, and often raising up
congregations in various parts of Asia Minor (known today as
Turkey).
     The word "prophet" can mean "one who speaks the oracles of
God" - yet the NT church did have "prophets" - people who could
for-tell future events. This gift is not very evident today in
our modern age. Maybe the best evidence of "prophets" in the
church today is found by looking at the function of the Old
Testament prophets. They were inspired to teach, to instruct, in
the ways of true righteousness, as well as proclaiming to
people the dire consequences that would come IF they did not turn
to God in repentance from sins and live according to the
commandments of the Lord. 
     The word "evangelist" is understood by most from the well
known people of the last few centuries, who would and still do,
hold "evangelistic meetings" in large tents or auditoriums around
the country.  Some call this "revival meetings" - the speaker
usually has a gift to speak powerfully the words of God to mostly
the un-converted or none Christian. The evangelist will clearly
show what sin is, what repentance means, and will call and move
people to accept Jesus as personal Savior.
     The "pastor and teacher" are the local Elders - spiritually
mature men in local congregations who function as shepherds,
guides, and instructors of the word of God, teaching the way of
everyday life that all Christians should be directing themselves
as they live and work in their society, and in their homes, as
husband and wife and/or parents towards their children. The
Pastor or shepherd, will help and guide the single persons and be
a general overseer to such things such as "teenage activities."
He will visit and serve the "shut-ins" and elderly, visit those
of his congregation in hospitals and nursing homes. He is a
loving shepherd, as like a shepherd who cares for, looks after,
protects, and serves a flock of sheep.

     The focal point of all the above functions in the church is
spelled out in some detail by Paul in verse 12 through 16. For
the perfecting of the saints, which in the Greek means, setting
straight as you would to mend a broken bone. It is for the
general work of ministry, or serving, to show all in the church
how service in Christ should be done. It is for the edifying of
the whole body of believers. And all that in turn is so we will
all come into the unity of the faith, and to greater knowledge of
the Son of God, to an ever stronger maturity of the spiritual
stature of Jesus.
     All of this then leads to God's children being no longer
tossed around and carried off on the wings of crazy, twisted, and
clever cunningness of false doctrines and deceivable theology of
men, who too often are lying in wait, ready to pounce on people
to lead them off on the wrong path, the path of unrighteousness,
and that path, as Jesus said, is wide and leads to spiritual
destruction.

     On the contrary, the function of those mentioned in verse
11, is to lead to God's children speaking the truth in love,
growing up into all good things that is in Christ Jesus,
who is the head of all things, especially the Church of God.   
     
     Paul finishes his thought here by stating that all in the
church are like parts of the physical body. Each part working
according to its particular function will build up and edify 
and strengthen with health, the whole body. So it should be
likewise in the Church of God. All working towards a maturity in
Christ, to edify all, and all done in the bond of LOVE.


APPEAL TO PUT OFF THE OLD NATURE

     As with so many of the letters of Paul, in verses 17 through
32, he calls for a dedication of his readers to constantly turn
from sin, unrighteousness, and carnality, and do the will and
perfectness of God.
     The people Paul is writing to (and of course Christians
everywhere today) were  not to be like the world, with closed
minds to the truths and ways of the Lord,  who don't care about
God, who have no conscience towards wright or wrong, and have
given themselves over to immoral ways, to impurity and to greed,
who are only concerned with satisfying the physical self in any
way they choose.
     Paul tells the Ephesians to throw off their old evil nature
and former sinful ways of life, based upon lust and false
deceptions. They were (and we also) are to be spiritually
renewed in our minds and our attitudes. We are to be like God
because it is God who is working in us to create a new person - a
person like He is - righteous, holy, true. We are to put away
falsehood, to speak truth, not to sin my allowing anger to
control us. In fact Paul says we are to not let the sun go down
on our anger, for if we do it becomes a weakness that Satan can
use to get a foot hold in our lives and so destroy us. Paul said
in another letter, "...be angry but sin not."  There can be a
time for anger, righteous anger, but we had better be careful 
indeed that anger does not consume us. Many a sin is committed
when we are out of control with anger, resentment, jealousy, and
even the attitude of utter disgust towards someone. It is a true
saying, "Hate the sin, but love the sinner."

     Paul tell them (and tells us at the same time) that if they
are a lazy type, who  resorts to different forms of thievery
(living off other people, family, relatives, our government, not
just a thief in the literal sense of breaking into buildings and
homes and stealing things), we are to stop, and get out and work,
so we can then give to others in need.  Paul is not here talking
about someone with a physical disability or sickness that
makes holding down a physical job just about impossible. He is
talking to those who are ABLE to work, yet do not, but live off
others, either by obtaining hand outs or by literally being a
thief.
     We are not to use foul or abusive language, but our tongue
and words are to be helpful, uplifting, and basically the
language that brings happiness, peace, joy, comfort, inspiration,
to those who hear us speak.

     Paul tells us not to bring sorrow to the Holy Spirit that is
in us, by the way we live. It is the Holy Spirit that gives us
the guarantee that we are God's children and will be saved on the
day of complete redemption at the return of Christ, when we will
be redeemed into glorious immortality. Paul addressed that
wonderful time in his 15th chapter of 1 Corinthians. A good
chapter to read often for hope and inspiration.

     Paul finishes this thought in these verses with, "Cast off
all bitterness,  bursts of rage, uncontrolled anger, harsh words,
slander (falsehoods and lies about the character of people),
together with any kind of evil behavior towards anyone. We are
instead to be kind to each other, tenderhearted, having a
forgiving nature towards others, just as God has towards us,
through Christ Jesus.


CHAPTER FIVE

     Paul proceeds with his line of thought as to why they are to
live a godly life. First, the example is God Himself, as we are
His children, we should then follow God's example. We are to live
a life filled with love towards others, just as Christ loved and
gave Himself for us as our sin sacrifice - to take away our sins.
God was very pleased with this sacrifice and it was like a sweet
perfume to Him..
     Again Paul gets into specifics. There is to be no sexual
immorality, impurity in general and no lustful greed. There is to
be no obscene story telling, no coarse jokes (dirty jokes to put
it in modern language), or any foolish talk that would not become
the mind of the Christian. People who engage their life with much
of this kind of language, will not inherit the Kingdom of God,
Paul frankly exclaims. He says that at one time our hearts may
have been full of these things, and our life spent on such
unrighteous ways of living and talking, but now we have been
called to the light, and so our lives are to show forth this
righteous light, and so this light coming forth from out of us
will produce a life of  goodness - what is true and right in the
sight of God (verses 1-9).

     Paul admonishes us to find out what is pleasing to the Lord.
To not take part in worthless deeds of sin and evil and darkness,
but on the contrary, to rebuke and expose them. We can certainly
do this by living a life completely opposite to sin and evil, and
dirty talk. The apostle even says that it can be shameful even to
talk about the nitty-gritty of the things often done by evil
people in secret. Some sins of people are just too filthy to
talk about at times. Just knowing the type of sins committed by
some in secret or in their closed secret clubs, is enough to know
without going into details in our conversation as to those sins.
     Living in the light of God and letting that light shine,
will expose those sins of darkness. We are to "awake from sleep"
as it is written and shine our light. There are probably going to
be times when we can "stand up and be counted" as the saying
goes. It may be in school, in a club we belong to, in a "town
hall meeting" on certain issues of our community, in a "parent
and teacher" school meeting. There will be times in our lives
when we can stand up for what is right, decent, good, honorable,
and godly.

     Once more Paul comes back to saying we are not to act
thoughtlessly, but to understand what the Lord's will and way of
life is all about (verses 10-17).

     We are admonished to never be drunk with wine or alcohol,
but let the true "spirit" fill us  and control us (verse 18).

     Being then filled with the Spirit, will mean  our attitude
is like that of singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
making music in our mind and life, and always giving thanks for
everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ
(verse 19-20).

SPIRIT GUIDED RELATIONSHIPS

HUSBANDS AND WIVES

     Being in this mind-set - filled with the Holy Spirit, it
will effect our relationships towards each other, and so will
effect our attitude as a wife towards her husband and a
husband towards his wife.  Wives, Paul says, are to submit to
their husbands as they do to the Lord, for the husband is head of
the wife as Christ is head of the church, and gave Himself for
her - the church - to save her. As the church submits to Christ
so the wives should towards their husbands (verses 21-24).

     If we will but stop and meditate on this "submission"
teaching, as in the relationship the church and Christ have
towards each other, we will see it is not the submission of
"trembling and fear."  It is not a submission of a dictator over
a trembling mob of people. It is a loving submission - a so
loving and respectful attitude of mind towards the one
respected and admired and loved, that it would just be a natural
thing to do, a willing thing, a mind-set that WANTS to do and
please the one being looked up to in loving affection.  If we
truly love Jesus, it is not a hard thing to submit to Him,
knowing He is not a tyrant with a whip, barking out commands, and
taking pleasure in seeing us shake - rattle and roll in our
boots.  As the word says, we love Him because He first loved us
and gave Himself for us. 
     So then is the relationship and submission of the wife
towards her husband. It is like the relationship of the church
towards Christ.
     Paul is here talking about the Christian home, where both
wife and husband belong to the Lord, and where no one is trying
to demand the other breaks any commandment of the Lord. The
apostle Peter addressed the issue in his letters of the wife
obeying her husband "in the Lord" (no wife has to obey and submit
to a husband's wishes where he is trying to get her to disobey
God or her godly conscience of right from wrong), and winning her
husband by her Christian conduct, not her clever theological
arguments. Here Paul is talking to BOTH Christian partners - the
Christian wife and the Christian husband.

     The apostle takes a number of verses (verses 25-33) to show
clearly what must be the attitude of the husband. It is anything
but a dictator, anything but a horrible slave-master type
individual, who gloats at having some kind of rulership over
another person or persons. The husband is to have the same kind
of love that Jesus has towards the church, a giving, serving
love. They are to love their wives as they love and take care of
their own body. In fact Paul says a man is loving himself when he
loves his wife. Just as Jesus loves the church, cares for it,
protects it, serves it, wants the very best for it, so should the
husband love and care for his wife.

     Paul turns to the very beginning, where he quotes from
Genesis that a man will leave his father and mother and will be
joined to his wife, making two united into one. He says this is a
wonderful mystery, but it illustrates the way Christ and the
church are one. He reiterates that each man must love his wife as
he loves himself, and that the wife should show respect to her
husband.


CHAPTER SIX

CHILDREN AND PARENTS

     Children of Christian parents are to then be respectful and
obey their parents, as they also are within the family of God in
a manner of speaking. Paul reminds them that one of the great Ten
Commandments is to do with honoring your parents. And with this
commandment comes a wonderful promise of long life and a
blessing. Obviously this is a general statement, not every single
child that honors their parents lives to a ripe old age, but in
general there is a mighty blessing for children that are
respectful towards their parents. Nations who have CLOSE family
structure, with mother and father being worthy of respect, and
children who respect their mother and father, do generally
prosper in a healthier way. Their society is healthier in mental
attitude and so less crime, less violence, less mistrust, less
stress and tension, more loving and giving, and serving and
wanting the best for each other. Truly the home is the foundation
of any society, when the home breaks down, into mistrust, hate,
anger, jealousy, bitterness, strife, and no respect among
its members, the society at large soon falls into the same
breakdown and reaps the fruit of what its families have sown
(verses 1-3).

     Paul gives an admonition to "fathers" in verse 4.  They are
to raise their children in such a manner that will not make their
children bitter and angry at them. The way children are taught
and shown right from wrong, the way they are disciplined, the how
and why of it all. The words fathers use (and mothers) and even
the tone of voice used towards children, all of this is part of
the ingredients that will make up the end result of children
either not being angry or being angry, with their parents and
their father in particular. The Christian parent should be
raising their children from God's perspective, from the
instructions of the Lord.
     There are many fine Christian books written from the
experience of many Christian parents, on the subject of Christian
childrearing. All parents need to have some of those books in
their home library, and of course the most important point is for
them to read and study and put into practice the many fine
principles and insights those books provide for Christian
parenting.

FOR ALL CHRISTIAN WORKERS

     Paul in verses 5-9 gives the godly principle that all
workers should have who claim to be Christian. If you work for
someone else, then as a Christian, work as if you work for the
Lord, work with enthusiasm, work hard, not just when the boss is
watching, your boss the Lord is always watching. Be respectful
towards those who employ you, serve them sincerely.
     All this can be hard to do when the boss is a harsh, not
very polite person. But the Christian is to love their enemies
and do good to those who are not so good to them. Christians are
to remember as Paul said, that God will reward the good that they
do.
     All of this is not to say we must stick with the job we have
under all and every situation. The Christian is free to leave and
find another job where those he works for are of a more kind
nature. But while they are working for whom they are working they
must work as if working for the Lord, and the Lord will not leave
His child without a reward for working according to God's will.
     For those Christians who employ people to work for them,
Paul also leaves instructions. They are to treat their employees
with kindness and with what is right and proper. They are to use
no threats, and to remember that both they and their employees
serve the same Master in heaven. As He has no "favorites" per se,
earthly Christian employers are to have no favorites per se with
those they have working for them.

THE WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD

     The final word from Paul in this letter to the Ephesians is
again to do with the spiritual fight that Christians are in as
they battle the foes of Satan and his host of demon helpers. The
WHOLE armor of God is required to be PUT ON, if we are going to
withstand the onslaught of this mighty evil foe. He is cunning,
he is clever, he is devious, he can appear as Paul said in
another letter, as an angel of light, his ministers coming
to us as ministers of righteousness. Satan does not always come
in a red garment with a pitch-fork and long horns protruding out
of his head. He often comes as a sweet, as a desert, as a
chocolate bar, looking nice for our taste buds. 
     If we are to resist him we will need the whole armor of God.
We do not fight Paul said, against flesh and blood, we are not in
some physical battle, but a spiritual battle. We are in a fight
against powerful foes, powers of darkness and foes of the unseen
spirit world, who exist in the heavenly dimension that is (unless
God grants a miracle to our eyes) invisible to the human eye.
     We must use every piece of God's armor to stand in the day
of temptation and evil. We must have on the sturdy belt of TRUTH,
the breastplate of RIGHTEOUSNESS. Our shoes and feet must be the
PEACE that comes from God and His power and assurance of the
Gospel message.  We will need the large shield of FAITH to stop
all the fiery darts that Satan and his host can throw at us. The
helmet of SALVATION, what is in our minds, is a vital piece of
God's armor, as is the sword of the WORD of God, knowing it from
cover to cover, reading it all, studying it, searching it. 
     We are to PRAY and be in a constant prayer attitude of
communication with God the Father through the Holy Spirit. And
last we are always to be ALERT, and to pray for fellow
Christians.

     Paul once more tells them that he is in chains, in prison,
for preaching the message of the Gospel of God, the good news of
salvation through Christ and the Kingdom of God.

     Paul says that Tychicus, a much beloved brother, and fellow
helper in the work of the Lord, will relate to them how he is
getting along. Paul was sending him to them for just that
purpose. He would let them know how things were for Paul and
others and would encourage them.

     The final words of Paul to the Ephesians were: "May God give
you peace and love, with faith, from God the Father and the Lord
Jesus Christ. May God's grace be upon all who love our Lord Jesus
Christ with a sincere and undying love.

                      ...............................

Written October 2005



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