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Ephesians 2:1-10 – “But God”

SIH STSTA ICON(Our Great Need Of Christ)

 

INTRODUCTION:

Over the years, through personal experience and observing the lives of others, I have seen fallen mankind’s absolute need of Christ clearly revealed.   There can be no doubt that all of us, as a part of sinful mankind, is absolutely separated from God and unable to think, desire, say or do anything that is pleasing to God or glorifying to His name.

So, as members of fallen mankind, what can we do?  How can we find peace and communion with God, when we are unable to do anything to purify ourselves or enter into fellowship with God of our own efforts?

We can do nothing to meet these great needs, “BUT GOD” can meet our every need!

In this lesson, we will be looking at what God’s Word teaches us about our great need of Christ and His wonderful grace.  It is this very grace that enables fallen mankind to receive the forgiveness of sins, enter into His presence, please Him, and enjoy eternal communion with Him.

 

 

TODAY’S TEXT:

Eph 2:1-10

(1)  And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

(2)  Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

(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, even as others.

(4)  But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,

(5)  Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

(6)  And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

(7)  That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

(8)  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

(9)  Not of works, lest any man should boast.

(10)  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

 

 

TODAY’S LESSON:

 

And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

All of mankind was conceived in a sinful, spiritually dead condition (Rom 3:23 & Rom 3:9), because of this, man is alienated from our perfectly holy God (Isa 59:2 & Micah 3:4).

Furthermore, due to the effects of sin in his life, mankind is much like a corpse.  Just as a corpse can do nothing to regain the life that as once within it, likewise lost mankind can do nothing to restore spiritual life to its spiritually dead condition (Titus 3:4-7).  This is why the above verse describes man as being “dead in trespasses and sins”.

If mankind was simply left to himself, he would continue in this sinful isolated state, never coming to an understanding of his own sinfulness, his isolated condition apart from God, nor his desperate need of Christ (John 12:39-40 & Rom 3:10-11).

But thanks to the Lord, He reaches down from heaven, intervenes in the heart of the lost man, and grants him spiritual life (2 Cor 4:6 & Acts 26:18 & Col 2:13).  This is what is being referred to by the phrase “And you hath He quickened (given life)”

 

Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

The writer of Ephesians, the Apostle Paul, describes the condition of every saved person prior to Christ’s intervention in their lives. By doing this he is teaching us that all mankind began “in the same boat”, we were ALL sinful, followers of Satan, with no hope of salvation within ourselves. This is the time period he is referring to by the phrase “in the time past”.

Paul describes the lost person’s lifestyle as following the path set by this sinful world and Satan (1 Cor 6:9-11 & Gal 1:4) when he states, “ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air”.

Lost mankind’s submission to the control of Satan and Satan’s activity in their lives is emphasized in Paul’s dual description of Satan: “the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience”.  Folks, Satan is alive and actively intervening in the affairs of all fallen mankind on earth (1 Pet 5:8 & John 8:44).  For us to denying his existence or his activity among us is to deny the very teachings of God’s Word, which in effect, makes God a liar (Rom 3:4).  This cannot be.

 

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, even as others.

None of saved mankind can be prideful, nor take credit for their own salvation (Rom 4:2 & Rom 3:27-28 & 2 Tim 1:9).  We are clearly told in this verse that those who are saved through the Lord’s gracious intervention were equally sinful and separated from God as those who are not saved (Eph 5:8 & Titus 3:3-6).  Paul clearly points to the lifestyle of the saved prior to their salvation experience when he says, “Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past”.

Paul tells us that those who are saved were previously living according to our sinful longings, living to fulfill the evil determinations that come from our fallen nature and corrupt minds…”in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind;” 

Paul stresses the spiritually dead, sinful, guilty condition of the saved prior to their salvation when he says, “and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others”.

 

But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,

“But God” these are the sweetest words that a lost person can ever hear…

“But God” this is the only hope for all of mankind who are spiritually dead and unable to please the Lord of their own merit.

If lost mankind was left to themselves, they would be condemned by their own actions, under the wrath of God, and without hope of redemption (Jer 13:23 & Rom 8:7-9).  But with the gracious intervention of God, they can experience forgiveness, deliverance and fellowship with God.  Our wonderful God is overflowing in mercy and incredible love for His people.  Paul says it this way, “God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith he loved us,”

His love is so great and His mercy flows so freely that even the chief of sinners could find forgiveness through His gracious intervention in their lives.

 

Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

Paul continues to address the saved and the wondrous change wrought in their lives through God’s grace.  Even when the saved person was spiritually dead, the Lord saw fit to graciously grant him spiritual life (John 14:6 & 1 John 5:11).  This is the “quickening” being talked about in the phrase “hath quickened us”.

The giving of spiritual life was given to us as a joint work of both God the Father and Christ (John 5:21).  Spiritual life was given to us by our gracious Father, based upon the work of Christ on the cross, not our own goodness or works (Rom 5:21 & 1Pet 3:7)…”hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)”

 

And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

The joint working of the Father and Christ does not end with the giving of spiritual life.  His work continues in the life of the newly saved individual.

Paul talked about this continuing work when he said “hath raised us up together and made us sit together in heavenly places”.   Based upon Christ’s work, the Father then raises the saved to a new lifestyle in Him (2 Cor 5:17 & Gal 6:15), and promises him an eternity of fellowship in the very presence of Christ (Rom 6:4-5 & John 14:3).

 

That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

Why does the Father and Son work together granting spiritual life, a new lifestyle and eternity with Christ to the saved?   Is it because our inherent goodness obligates Him to do so?  Or, perhaps, it is because, through our good works we have gained these great blessings?

Absolutely not! Paul tells us that “in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his kindness”.  It is nothing in us that motivates the Lord to grant to us spiritual life (Isa 40:17 & Psa 62:9).  It is all based upon His character and greatness.

 Two of the great motivations in the heart of the Father that drives Him to grant spiritual life to us is His love for us and His desire to be glorified (John 3:16, 2 Thess 1:11-12 & Rev 5:9-15).  He graces us with spiritual life so that His great gracious kindness will be seen, remembered, and celebrated throughout history.  In other words, He did all of this for us so that He might be glorified and honored when we see, and experience His great love and grace in our lives.

 

For 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.

Paul now explains how spiritual life is obtained by the lost individual. Since the lost individual lacks inherent goodness, and their good works cannot merit their salvation, how is it acquired?  It is entirely based upon the grace of God, as we exercise faith in Christ (Rom 4:16)…”For by grace ye are saved through faith” .

But when we read this it seems to say that we are saved through a work that we do… an exercise of faith.  However, Paul makes certain that we do not get confused about this issue. He tells us that the faith we exercise is “not of yourselves, it is the gift of God”.  Even the very faith we exercise in Christ does not simply come from within us, but it is a gift that comes from the Father (John 6:27-29 & Rom 12:3).   Therefore, in a very true sense, our faith is not a work we perform, but it is a work the Father performs in us.

Once again, we can see the wondrous grace of God as He gives to one who is destitute of saving faith, the gift of faith and the ability to exercise that faith.  When we come to this knowledge it eliminates any possibility that we might boast about our exercise of faith in Christ.

This is why Paul then clearly states that saving faith in the individual is “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.

Since our salvation is a work of God within us, our life is like a poem (“workmanship”) that is brought into existence through the work of Christ and and declares His glory through the good works of the saved (Eph 1:4 & Gal 5:22-26).  This is the meaning of Paul’s phrase “created in Christ Jesus unto good works.”

Remember that in verse 7, we saw that God was motivated to save His people so that He might be glorified throughout the ages for His great grace and kindness.  This same principle can be seen in this verse as well.

Paul tells us that the performance of good works by the saved person “God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”   Before the salvation of His people, in eternity past, the Lord chose that when He saved an individual, their lifestyle would change to a way of life that would bring honor and glory to His name.  This helps us to understand that not only the very act of salvation, but also its effects in the lives of those saved, will bring honor and glory to God alone (Jer 9:23-24).

 

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

So what is a lost person to do?  How can a lost person receive the forgiveness of sin and be the recipient of God’s wonderful grace?

We have that questioned answered in John 6:27-29…

“Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.

Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? 

Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”

 

As the Lord shows you the sin that is in your life, and the of forgiveness and deliverance from that sin, simply believe on Him.

Believe in Christ as the Divine Son of God (1 John 5:7).

Believe in Christ as the One who came to the earth and died on the cross to pay the price for your sins (Phil 2:5-9).

Believe in Christ as the Only Way of salvation (Acts 4:10-12).

Believe in Christ as the new Master of your life (Phil 2:10-11).

This is what the Lord has commanded each of us to do.  As the Lord intervenes in our life, showing us our great need and working in our hearts, we are to turn to Him and trust in Him as our Lord and Savior.  This is how we respond to the workings of God in our life.

What amazing grace to know that He can graciously intervene in our life and draw us to Himself as we respond in faith to Him (john 6:43-45).

As we come to an understanding of all these things, we can only come to the conclusion that “To God be the glory, great things He hath done”!

 

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Ecclesiastes: Chapter 2 Verses 18-23

SIH TOTT ICONWhat Is Your Life If Not Lived For The Lord? (Part 7)

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION:

Solomon addresses himself as “the Preacher”.   He is the one that will proclaim the spritiual truths of God to those in his nation and to Christians throughout time.

Keep in mind, Solomon learned these truths by trying to find the meaning to life through experiencing all this world has to offer.  Solomon was uniquely suited to learn these lessons and share these truths with the people of God…

First of all, very few men possess sufficient wealth and power to be able to sample all this world has to offer (1 Kings 10:23).

Secondly, only Solomon and a few others throughout time, have been universally respected causing his teachings to be taken very seriously and thoughtfully by all (1 Kings 4:30-34).  (Keep in mind, even Christ Himself and His teachings were rejected by many of those around Him.)

Solomon was God’s man, in God’s place, at God’s time, by God’s grace, to learn this most important truth and proclaim it with authority to those he loved.  May we all listen carefully as Solomon reveals to us the true meaning to life and answer the question…  “What Is Our Life If Not Lived for The Lord ?”.

 

TODAY’S TEXT:

 

Eccl 2:18-23 –

(18)  Yea, I hated all my labour which I had taken under the sun: because I should leave it unto the man that shall be after me.  (19)  And who knoweth whether he shall be a wise man or a fool? yet shall he have rule over all my labour wherein I have laboured, and wherein I have shewed myself wise under the sun. This is also vanity.  (20)  Therefore I went about to cause my heart to despair of all the labour which I took under the sun.  (21)  For there is a man whose labour is in wisdom, and in knowledge, and in equity; yet to a man that hath not laboured therein shall he leave it for his portion. This also is vanity and a great evil.  (22)  For what hath man of all his labour, and of the vexation of his heart, wherein he hath laboured under the sun?  (23)  For all his days are sorrows, and his travail grief; yea, his heart taketh not rest in the night. This is also vanity. 

 

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

Solomon now begins an investigation of the short-lived benefits of responsible stewardship over the things of this world …

  

Yea, I hated all my labour which I had taken under the sun: because I should leave it unto the man that shall be after me. 

Solomon came to despise possessing a life goal of laboring for material possessions.  What was the reason behind this?  To put it in today’s vernacular, Solomon realized that “you can’t take it with you”.  He realized that, eventually, at his death, he would lose all of his material possessions and they would be given to another person.

 

And who knoweth whether he shall be a wise man or a fool? yet shall he have rule over all my labour wherein I have laboured, and wherein I have shewed myself wise under the sun.

Solomon understood that the one who would receive his possessions may be a poor steward of all for which he had labored.  At his death, Solomon would lose all authority in his possessions.  The one receiving his possessions would have complete control over how they would be used.  He could use them wisely or waste them in a very foolish way.

 

This is also vanity. 

Solomon came to understand that the transferal of all his possessions, at his death, made all his labors to accumulate those possessions simply acts of vanity (short-lived benefits, no lasting value).

 

Therefore I went about to cause my heart to despair of all the labour which I took under the sun.  For there is a man whose labour is in wisdom, and in knowledge, and in equity; yet to a man that hath not laboured therein shall he leave it for his portion.

As Solomon learned of the vanity of accumulation of earthly goods and the disposition of them at death, Solomon became very depressed and despondent.  A man can use his many talents, knowledge and morality to gain a great fortune on earth, and yet lose it all to one who has done nothing to deserve them.

What a great waste of human effort, what a sad misuse of accumulated material possessions to lose them at death and have them turned over to others who do not deserve them but will only  squander them.

 

This also is vanity and a great evil. 

This is makes the accumulation of worldly possessions short-lived, of no lasting benefit, and actually harmful to both the one who accumulates them and the slothful one who wastes them of carnal, worldly pursuits.

 

For what hath man of all his labour, and of the vexation of his heart, wherein he hath laboured under the sun?  For all his days are sorrows, and his travail grief; yea, his heart taketh not rest in the night.

When a man devotes his life to live frugally and wisely in an attempt to accumulate the vain things of this world, he is destined to live a life filled with:

  1. labour – great effort that only wears one down
  2. vexation of heart – constant unfulfilled desires (always wanting more).
  3. sorrows – painful regret
  4. travail grief – busyness that produces only sorrow
  5. no rest in the night – worries, cares, lack of sleep

 

This is also vanity.

When Solomon looked at the effects of living for worldly possessions on our lives, he comes to the same conclusion…. It is short-lived and without any lasting value.

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Folks, we should always be careful to not misinterpret Solomon’s teachings on these issues.  There is nothing wrong with frugal and wise use of our material possessions.  In many ways these can be admirable pursuits…. However, it should never be our goal in living.

hen the accumulation and frugal use of material possessions become our life goal we are headed to living a wasted life.  Solomon has proven to us all that it is vain pursuit that will only bring regret and pain to us as we come to an end of ur lives.

Solomon’s pursuit of the meaning of life included:

 

1. 2:1-3 The pursuit of carnal desires  (the base pleasures found in a fallen world)
2. 2:4-11 The pursuit of material possessions through human labors
3. 2:12-17 The pursuit of worldly wisdom, madness and folly
4. 2:18-23 The pursuit of responsible (frugal & wise) living to retain worldly goods

 

 

 

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Spiritual Gifts: When Did The Accrediting Gifts Go Out Of Existence? (Part 1)

SIH TOA ICONIntroduction:

“Charity never faileth: but whether [there be] prophecies, they shall fail; whether [there be] tongues, they shall cease; whether [there be] knowledge, it shall vanish away.” (1 Corinthians 13:8)

 

In our previous studies we have seen that there are three basic types of Accrediting Gifts which include several gifts under each type. In the above passage, we find each type of Accrediting Gift is represented by one gift from each type …

 

Type Of Accrediting Gift Gifts Included In This Type Representative Gift Mentioned In

1 Cor 13:8

Supernatural Revelation Of The Truth The Word Of Wisdom, The Word of Knowledge Word of Knowledge (or Knowledge)
Supernatural Indicators Of The Truth Faith, Gifts Of Healing, Working Of Miracles, Prophecy, Discerning Of Spirits Prophecy (or Prophecies)
Supernatural Proclamation Of The Truth Divers Kinds Of Tongues, Interpretation Of Tongues Diverse Types Of Tongues (or Tongues)

 

Please note the above verse (1 Cor 13:8), which includes one representative gift from each group, makes it plain that each type of Accrediting Gift will come to an end at some point in time. We now will turn our attention to the question at what point in time will these gifts go out of existence?

In this study, we will see that this question is answered by the Word of God using several different lines of teaching which all present the same answer for us. This will be the lines of teaching that we will be studying:
I.        The Coming Of “That Which Is Perfect”
II.        The 70 Year Accreditation Time Span
III.        The Death Of The Apostles
IV.        The Supernatural Beginning / Natural Perpetuation Of God’s Workings
V.        The Prophecies of False Miracles In The “Last Days”

 

 

 

Lesson:


The Coming Of “That Which Is Perfect”

Our text for this lesson is found in 1 Corinthians 13:.

1) Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become [as] sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
2) And though I have [the gift of] prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
3) And though I bestow all my goods to feed [the poor], and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
4) Charity suffereth long, [and] is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5) Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
6) Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7) Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
8) Charity never faileth: but whether [there be] prophecies, they shall fail; whether [there be] tongues, they shall cease; whether [there be] knowledge, it shall vanish away.
9) For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10) But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
11) When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
12) For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
13) And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these [is] charity.

 

Here is a short outline of the entire chapter…
1)    The Definition and Indicators Of Biblical Love  vs 1-7
2)    Partial Versus Complete Knowledge   vs 8-10
3)    Illustrations of Partiality versus Completeness   vs 11-12
4)    Superiority Of Biblical Love vs 13

 

 

 

For this part of our study, we will be looking at verses 8-13….

 

8) Charity never faileth: but whether [there be] prophecies, they shall fail; whether [there be] tongues, they shall cease; whether [there be] knowledge, it shall vanish away.

Here, Paul makes it very plain that love is the only gift of the four divine gifts (love, prophecy, tongues, knowledge) that will exist eternally.   In our previous studies, we explained that knowledge prophecy and tongues were related to the divine inspiration and accreditation of Scripture (along with the accreditation of the local church).

 

(Please note it is crucial to understand the meaning of the phrases “shall fail”, “shall cease”, and “shall vanish away”)…

  1. “shall cease”
  2. is the Greek word – “pauo” – it means “to stop”, “to be made complete” and “to end”.
  3. is in the middle voice, meaning the subject of the verb is acting upon itself.  In other words, tongues would “stop by themselves” or “would be ended in and of themselves”
  4. “shall fail” and “shall vanish away”
  5. Both of these phrases are the same Greek word “katargeo” which means “to be made inoperative, to cease to work, to cease to exercise, to render useless, to vanish”
  6. Both of these are in the passive voice meaning the subject of the verb receives the action.  In other words, our verse is saying that “the perfect thing” (vs 10) will cause both knowledge and prophecy to “no longer be exercised”, or “to vanish away”

 

9) For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

Out of the four previously mentioned gifts from God… knowledge and prophecy are set apart by being described as “in part”.  What does “in part” mean?  This phrase is referring to the nature of divinely inspired revelation to man.  Keep in mind, as God handed down His word to mankind, he did it over many years and many different men.  He gave it a part at time, not all at once.   (Isa 28:9-13)

 

The gifts of prophecy and knowledge were “in part” which teaches us that… as each prophecy came from God (as each bit of knowledge came to man) they were “one part” of the whole of divine revelation to man.  Until the final revelation from God was received by John on the Isle of Patmos (the book of Revelation), both knowledge and prophecy received by man was only a piece of His Word.  At the end of the message given to John on Patmos, the word was finally completed.  It was only then that mankind had the prophecy and knowledge God had chosen to give to man was made complete.

 

Love exists eternally, knowledge, prophesying and the gift of tongues will definitely come to an end, making love a much more valuable gift from God.

 

 

10) But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

Paul describes what causes prophecy and knowledge to vanish away.  He describes it as “that which is perfect.  To help us understand what Paul is referring to, we need to recognize a few important points in our study…
a)    Remember, in the previous verse of our study we saw that the gifts that were “in part” were the gifts of prophecy and knowledge.
b)    Also, we saw that the ending of these gifts were described by the Greek word “katargeo” which means “to be made inoperative, to cease to work, to cease to exercise, to render useless, to vanish”
c)     Thirdly, we learned that based on the Greek passive voice, something must act upon the knowledge and prophecy “to render it useless” or “to cause it to vanish away.”

 

What has acted on the gift of prophecy and knowledge rendering them worthless and causing them to vanish away?

It is the completed revelation from God… Once God had given to man all of His Word, there was no need for prophecy or knowledge gifts any longer… they were now useless, ineffective and worthless because the Lord was not going to add to the Word He had given to men. In other words, divine inspiration ceased and with it, the gifts linked directly to it…. prophecy and knowledge.

a)    Remember, the Lord has made it plain that the Word He has given to us is now complete. We will be receiving no additional inspired truth from Him.  (Rev 22:18, Heb 1:1-2)
b)    We know it is His Word that is “perfect” based on the Greek word for “perfect”… The word for perfect is “telios” – which means “complete”, “finished”, “brought to completion”.  “Telios” refers to the Word of God in James 1:25.  Contextually, based on the subject matter of prophecy and knowledge and the inspiration of the Word, it makes sense that the Word is what is being described as “perfect”…

 

Please note: Not once in Scripture does the word telios refer to sinlessness. Here is every use of the word “telion” in the Bible. Every time it is used it is linked to the completed Word and Spiritual Maturity.  

  1. The Word Of God
    1. James 1:25 – telion speaks of Bible perfect replacing imperfect.
  2. Spiritual Maturity Brought About Through The Word
    1. Eph 4:11-13 – telion speaks of mature man based upon receipt of knowledge resulting in unity
    2. Hebrews 9:11 – telion is speaking of new tabernacle compared to old. Completed NT revelation revealing Christ as completed Messiah prophecy
    3. Hebrews 8:13 – when the NT was complete the OT was thrown down and perfect (Word revealing Christ) has replaced imperfect
    4. 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Hebs 5:12-6:5 – Bible brings men to maturity
  3. Marks Of Spiritual Maturity
    1. Love – matt 5:44-48, Luke 6:36
    2. Dedication to lord – matt 19:21
    3. Spiritual discernment – 1 cor 2:6,14, hebs 5:14
    4. Attitudes – 1 cor 14:20
    5. Truth of gospel salvation, perfect not sinless – phil 3:15
    6. Unity w lord – col 1:28
    7. Faithful to lord – col 4:12
    8. Patience – James 1:4
    9. The gifts of the Lord – James 1:17
    10. Faith/works – James 2:22

(Please note that in Matthew 5:44-48 – “telion” does refer to the Lord. However, in the context, it is not speaking of the Lord’s sinlessness, it is speaking of the spiritual maturity that He displays as He shows unconditional love to those who are around Him. No place in Scripture does the word “telios” mean sinlessly perfect.)

 

For argument’s sake, let’s assume that the term “perfect” does not refer to the completed Word of God. Instead, let’s assume that “perfect” in our text refers to the Lord at His second coming or the eternal sinless state. We have already seen that this “perfect thing” that is coming must act on the gifts of prophecy and knowledge rendering them useless.

If this is so then…
a)    We have to say that the Lord is continually revealing His inspired word to man throughout the ages. In other words, His word is not in completed form, but He is continually adding to His revealed Word to man. This revealing of the Word will only stop at His second coming.
b)    If this is so, we should be continually adding to the Scriptures.  Every new revelation God gives to man should be added to the Scriptures.  This principle does away with the warning given throughout God’s Word to not add to the Scriptures (Revelation 22:18-19, Deuteronomy 4:2, Proverbs 30:6).
c)    And also the fullness and completeness of God’s Word for us to use is done away with.  Therefore, we cannot count on His Word being the complete set of instructions for us to live by. (2 Tim 3:16-17)  In this hypothetical scenario, we may face situations that the Word cannot equip us to face.  What happens if the part of the Word we need now, will not be revealed to man for another 25 years?  Our entire view of the Scriptures must change if this is the case.

However, the Bible clearly tells us otherwise…
a)    The Word of God has been given to us resulting in us being given “all things that pertain unto life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3)
b)    We are told that it is through the Word that we can know fully (Ephesians 3:3-5, Romans 16:25-27). These imply we have no need of other revelation than found in His Word.
c)     In Jude 1:3 we read that the truth was “once” delivered unto the saints. The term “once” is translated from a Greek word that means “once and for all”. In other words, the truth of God was revealed to us through His Word, and at its completion, no other revelation would be needed or given. This is exactly the point of our 1 Corinthians 13 passage.
d)    Also in Ephesians 2:20, we find that the teachings of the Christ, the Apostles, and the Prophets make up the foundation of the Lord’s local churches. This clearly implies the Scriptures would be completed during the founding years of the local assemblies. How can His churches be founded upon something which would not be completed for many years to come? It would be impossible. The very illustration of a foundation teaches us that the Word (just like the foundation) must be completed before the local assembly can be established (like the house that will be framed, roofed and then brought to completion FOLLOWING the completion of its foundation).  A foundation is never completed during or after the completion of the house which stands upon it.

The Word of God is clear that it is a completed document that can be relied upon to meet our every need. Again, keeping all of this in mind helps us to understand that the Word is complete and then it follows that the gifts related to the inspiration of His Word are no longer necessary.

 

11) When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

 

Paul now uses the example of the maturing of the process of understanding is used to picture the process of God’s revealed Word being brought to completion.  Just as Paul’s growth allowed him to come to a more mature and full understanding of life, so too, as God’s Word is brought to completion, it brings to us a fuller understanding of our Lord and our responsibilities as servants.

Based on the Word being brought to completion during the age of the Corinthian church. It was time for them to “grow up” and become mature as well. It would only be at that time that they could use the wonderful blessing of His completed Word to help them to correct the many errors in their assembly.

 

12) For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

Paul now compares our knowledge of God in our sinful flesh with mankind’s knowledge of God with only a portion of His Word given to them.  In both cases, an incomplete view of God is had by man.

  1. Paul describes a time when God cannot be seen clearly
  2. Paul describes our life in our sinful flesh as seeing our Lord “through a glass darkly”.
  3. Paul then compares this to mankind trying to see a full picture of Christ with only a portion of God’s Word given to man. “now I know in part”.
  4. Paul next describes when we can receive a fuller knowledge of Christ
  5. When we go home to be with the Lord in heaven, it is seeing Him “face to face”, this will result in seeing Him much more clearly than while in our sinful flesh.
  6. Paul then compares this to receiving His completed Word which gives us a much more full revelation of the Lord.  “ then shall I know even as also I am known” .

 

In other words, God bringing His Word to completion gives us a much greater knowledge of who He is and what He has done for us. This is being related to man who while in his fallen, fleshly body is greatly limited in knowledge about Him. But when we receive glorified bodies in our eternal state, we will see Him much more clearly.

 

Also, keep in mind, both of these illustrations are illustrations CONCERNING AMOUNT OF KNOWLEDGE AND KNOWLEDGE INCREASING to a state of completeness. This is another point that cannot be ignored.

 

To say “that which is perfect” is speaking of spiritual maturity, the second coming of Christ, or the eternal state does not jive with these two illustrations when they are taken together. One illustration could be said to be speaking of spiritual maturity (vs 11) and other one could be said to be about His second coming and the future state (vs 12).

 

However, the only principle that is being brought out in both illustrations is the principle of incomplete knowledge and understanding being brought to a finished or completed state. Again pointing us back directly to His Word being brought from a state of being “in part” to a finished state of completion.

 

 

13) And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these [is] charity.

 

After telling us about the Word and it’s soon completion, Paul now brings us back to the original thought… love is even greater than our three existing gifts of faith, hope and love.

 

Why didn’t Paul mention prophecy or knowledge as abiding (to continue on for extended period of time, to endure to limit)? We have already seen they would end within a short period of time from the writing of 1 Corinthians when Word was brought to completion (about 20 years).  So he didn’t include these on our list.

 

But why didn’t he include the gift of tongues… when did they cease to exist?  Tongues ceased to exist, around the same time as knowledge and prophecy.  Tongues were one of several “sign gifts” that God gave to mankind. The gift of tongues were handed down through the laying on of the Apostles hands. At the death of the last Apostle, the gift of tongues would no longer be able to be passed down and, therefore, died “in and of themselves” (“they shall cease” – vs 8).

 

Keep in mind, the last Apostle living was the Apostle John. John penned the last book of the Bible (Revelation) in approximately 97 AD and died approximately 100 AD. Following his death tongues could no longer be handed down and went out of existence soon afterward, well within the time frame of this study. We will look at the ending of tongues in great detail in a later portion of this study.

 

Putting all of this together, it is easy to see why only faith, hope and charity are said to “abide” (to stay in place for an extended period of time).  The gifts of prophecy, knowledge and tongues would go out of existence within a few years after Paul’s ministry would be complete.

 

But not so with faith, hope and love.  They would continue on until the second coming of Christ.  When Christ comes back we will have no need of faith nor hope…. As we begin, our eternity with Him, we will begin the process of receiving all His promises to us.  Faith and hope will no longer be needed, we will be experiencing all He has for us.

 

At that point, faith and hope will no longer be in existence, but only love will continue on to eternity.  Thus making “love” the greatest gift of all that are mentioned in 1 Corinthians 13:.

  • Gifts are temporary but love is eternal
  • Gifts are elementary but love is mature
  • Gifts are partial but love is complete

 

 

Based upon our study, we have seen that the gifts involving the Supernatural Revelation Of The Truth (Knowledge) and the Supernatural Indicators Of The Truth (Prophecy) came to an end with the completion of the last book of the Bible, Revelation, in approximately 97 AD. We also saw that the gifts involving the Supernatural Proclamation Of The Truth (Tongues) came to an end within one generation following the death of John in 100 AD.

 

In our next lesson, we will see that the end of the Accrediting gifts can be understood by examining the 70 year time frame that the Lord uses to accredit His Word and the places of worship He has established.

 

 

 

 

Additional Information:

The Coming Of “That Which Is Perfect”

Deu 4:2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.

 

Pro 30:6 Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.

 

Isa 28:9-13 Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.
(10) For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:
(11) For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.
(12) To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.
(13) But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.

 

Mat 5:44-48 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
(45) That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
(46) For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
(47) And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
(48) Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

 

Mat 19:21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

 

Luk 6:36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.

 

Rom 16:25-27 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,
(26) But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:
(27) To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen. Written to the Romans from Corinthus, and sent by Phebe servant of the church at Cenchrea.

 

1Co 2:6-14 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:
(7) But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
(8) Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
(9) But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
(10) But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
(11) For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
(12) Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
(13) Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
(14) But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

 

1Co 13:8-13 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
(9) For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
(10) But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
(11) When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
(12) For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
(13) And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

 

1Co 14:20 Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.

 

Eph 2:19-20 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
(20) And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

 

Eph 3:3-5 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,
(4) Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)
(5) 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;

 

Eph 4:11-13 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
(12) For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
(13) Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

 

Php 3:15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.

 

Col 1:28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:

 

2Ti 3:16-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
(17) That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

 

Heb 1:1-2 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
(2) Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

 

Heb 5:12-6:5 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
(13) For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
(14) But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
(1) Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,
(2) Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
(3) And this will we do, if God permit.
(4) For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,
(5) And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,

 

Heb 8:13 In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

 

Heb 9:11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;

Jas 1:4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

 

Jas 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

 

Jas 1:25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

 

Jas 2:22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

 

Jud 1:3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

 

Rev 22:18-20 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
(19) And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
(20) He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

Spiritual Gifts: Gifted Men (Part #2)

Spiritual Gifts: What Types Of Gifts Are There? Gifted Men

SIH TOA ICON

Introduction:

“Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.”  (1 Corinthians 12:4)

 

After coming to an understanding of the basic definition of a “spiritual gift”, we now need to examine each of the different types of spiritual gifts that God has given to man.

There are three basic types of spiritual gifts given to the Lord’s local churches:

1. Gifted Men – These are men, used by God to serve the Lord as a part of the ministry of His local assemblies.

2. Accrediting Gifts – These are the gifts whose main purpose is to establish and accredit His Word and place of worship. A secondary purpose of these gifts is to minister to others within the context of local church ministries.

3. Ministering Gifts – These are the gifts whose main purpose is to testify of Christ and His Word through the ministries of His local        assemblies.

We will begin studying the differing types of spiritual gifts by studying the “Gifted Men” the Lord has given us.

Lesson:

Gifted Men

Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.  And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.  [Are] all apostles? [are] all prophets? [are] all teachers? [are] all workers of miracles?  Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?  But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.”   (1 Corinthians 12:27-31)

 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;  For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:  Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:  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;  But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, [even] Christ:”   (Ephesians 4:11-15)

In the above texts, not only do we find a listing of the gifted men that the Lord has given to us (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastor/teachers), but also we can learn several principles that apply to all of these gifted men…

1.  “God hath set some in the church  –  These men have been placed within local churches to exercise their gifts as a part of the church’s varied ministries.

2. “[Are] all apostles? [are] all prophets? [are] all teachers?  – Not all the members of the local assembly are these gifted men.  The gifts given to local church members vary based upon the individuals needs of the assembly.

3. “But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.” –  These gifted men are to be zealous to exercise their gifts appropriately, in a way that best benefits the local assembly.  They are to use their gifts for the benefit of the assembly not for their own selfish personal gain.

4. “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:” – The three-fold purpose of the Lord giving these gifted men to His assemblies is….
a. To completely furnish the saints for spiritual warfare
b. To serve the Lord and meet the needs of the saved and lost alike
c. To build-up, strengthen and bring to spiritual maturity the saints

5. “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:– The work of gifted men will be completed when…
a.  Every saint comes into an understanding and acceptance of the doctrinal truths found in the Word of God
b.  Every lost person comes to repentance and belief that Jesus is the True Messiah, Savior, and Son of God
c.  Every saint enters into spiritual maturity and is completely equipped for the service of Christ
d.  Every saint will perfectly conform to the image of Christ

In other words, when Christ returns and gives to us our new glorified bodies.  It is only then that we will become perfect in His sight and no longer be in the need of gifted men.

6.  “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;  But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, [even] Christ:”  – The end result  of the gifted men’s ministry is…
a.   Every saint recognizes and rejects all false teaching
b.   Every saint overcomes the efforts of the powers of darkness to overtake them
c.   Every saint proclaims the truths of the Lord in a spirit of love and compassion
d.   Every saint is spiritually mature in every area being perfectly submitted to Christ

These are the basic principles that apply to the Lord’s giving gifted men to minister to His assembly and those without the assembly.

Let’s begin to look at each of these four types of gifted men.  As we will soon see, for each of these gifted men there is not simply a TYPE OF SERVICE (MINISTRY) but it can also describe a specific OFFICE that is associated with each gifted man.

Apostles

The word translated “apostle” in these texts is the Greek word “apostolos”.  This word carries with it the idea of…
1.  “to represent”
2.  “to be sent with authority”
3.  “to be an ambassador”
4.  “to be sent on a mission on behalf of another”

The Office of Apostle  – The qualifications of the office of Apostle are given to us in Acts 1:21-22.  To hold the office of Apostle a man must:

1.  Accompany Christ for His entire public ministry (His baptism by John the Baptist until His ascension to be with His Father) – Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us,  Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us,

2.  Must have been a personal witness to the resurrected Christ prior to His ascension – must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.” 

The 14 men who are said to be holding the office of Apostle:

The Original 12 (Luke 6:13-16)…

1. Peter;  2. Andrew;  3. James;  4. John;  5. Philip;  6. Bartholomew;  7. Matthew;  8. Thomas;  9. James;  10. Simon;  11. Judas  12. Judas Iscariot.

The Chosen Replacement For Judas Iscariot (Acts 1:25-26)…

13. Matthias

Note: Matthias was chosen by the local church at Jerusalem to replace Judas Iscariot who had betrayed the Lord and then committed suicide.

The Apostle without the proper qualifications (1 Cor 15:8-10)…

14.  Paul

Note: In 1 Corinthians 15:8-10 – Paul describes himself as “one born out of due timeand “the least of the apostles”.  Both of these descriptions signify that the Lord had graciously placed him in the Office of Apostle without properly qualifying for the office. (He had not accompanied Christ during His earthly ministry, nor had he seen the resurrected Christ PRIOR TO HIS ASCENSION.  However, he did see the resurrected Christ following His ascension during the Damascus road experience (Acts 22:6-10).)

One born out of due time” (to be born prematurely) is a wonderful picture of him being born into the office of Apostle without the normal prerequisites, just like a baby who is born prematurely does not experience the normal 9 months in his mother’s womb. Likewise, the title “the least of the apostles reflects Paul’s acknowledgement that, although he held the office of Apostle, he looked upon himself as deficient based upon his past life of rebellion against the Lord and, perhaps, his lack of qualifications as well.

The two main missions of the Apostolic Office were

1. to hand down the inspired Scriptures to man which became the foundation of the teachings of the local assembly. (Ephesians 2:19-21)

2. to perform miracles and wonders used to accredit the New Testament Scriptures and the local assembly as the Lord’s place of worship. (Acts 5:12)

Those Who Performed The Ministry Of Apostle – These are men who were “sent with authority” but not holders of the office of Apostle

The men who performed this ministry:
1.  Christ – Hebrews 3:1, John 17:3;
2.  Barnabas – Acts 14:14;
3.  Andronicus – Romans 16:7;
4.  Junia – Romans 16:7;
5.  Apostles Of The Churches – 2 Corinthians 8:23;
6.  Epaphroditus – Philippians 2:25;
7.  Silas 1 Thessalonians 2:6;
8.  Timothy – 1 Thessalonians 2:6

The Office Of Apostle has come to an end at the completion of God’s Word.  We will look at this in much more detail in the section of our study entitled “When did gifts given to establish the Word and the Local Church come to an end?”

Prophets

The word translated “prophet” in these texts is the Greek word “prophetes”.  This word carries with it the idea of…
1.  “to tell beforehand”
2.  “to reveal the mind of”
3.  “an inspired speaker”

The Office of Prophet  – The most basic definition of a Prophetic office holder is “one who is inspired to speak forth the mind of God”.

The men who are said to be holding the Office of Prophet in the New Testament scriptures:

1. Christ – Acts 3:22, Matthew 21:11
2. John The Baptist – Luke 1:76
3. Zacharias – Luke 1:67
4. Anna – Luke 2:36
5. The Old Testament Prophets – Luke 24:27

The main mission of the Prophetic Office was

1. to hand down the inspired Scriptures to man which became the foundation of the teachings of the local assembly. (Ephesians 2:19-21)

 

Those Who Performed The Ministry Of Prophet – These were men who “spoke the mind of God” but not the inspired holders of the office of Apostle.  In other words, they taught the existing Word of God without being used to reveal new portions of the Word through divine inspiration.

The men who performed this ministry:

1.  OT Messengers of Word – Romans 11:3
2.  Daughters Of Philip – Acts 21:9
3.  Barnabus – Acts 13:1
4.  Simeon – Acts 13:1
5.  Lucius – Acts 13:1
6.  Manaen – Acts 13:1
7.  Judas – Acts 15:32
8.  Silas – Acts 15:32

The Office Of Prophet has come to an end at the completion of God’s Word.  We will look at this in much more detail in the section of our study entitled “When did gifts given to establish the Word and the Local Church come to an end?”

Evangelists

The word translated “evangelist” in these texts is the Greek word “euaggelistes”.  This word carries with it the idea of…
1.  “to bring the good news”
2.  “to proclaim the good news”
3.  “to share the gospel message”

The Office of Evangelist  – The Office Of Evangelist is commonly referred to as “Missionary”.  What is a missionary?  It is a person who shares the gospel with the lost and establishes local churches with those who are converted to Christ.

The men who are said to be holding the Office of Evangelist in the New Testament scriptures:

1. Philip – Acts 21:8

The main mission of the Evangelist is:

1. to share the gospel of Christ to a lost and dying world. Say not ye, There are yet four months, and [then] cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.”  (John 4:35)

 

Those Who Performed The Ministry Of Evangelist – Others who shared the gospel of Christ but did not hold the office of evangelist.

The men who performed this ministry:

1.  Timothy – 2 Timothy 4:1-5

Pastor/Teachers

In the phraseand some, pastors and teachers;there is no Greek article prior to “teachers” helping us to understand we are talking about one office and not two separate offices.  The office we will be looking at is the office of “Pastor/Teacher”.

The word translated “pastor” in these texts is the Greek word “poimen”.  This word carries with it the idea of…
1.  “a shepherd”
2.  “one who cares for flock”

The word translated “teacher” in these texts is the Greek word “didaskalos”.  This word carries with it the idea of…
1.  “instructor”
2.  “master”
3.  “to teach students”

Please note: In the Bible this office is described by differing terms:

1. Bishop (1 Timothy 3:1)– Describes the position of the P/T – “An Overseer”, one who is given the watch care of the Lord’s local assembly

2. Elder (Acts 14:23) – Describes the character of the P/T – “An Aged One”, one who is spiritually mature, spiritually wise

3. Pastor/Teacher (Ephesians 4:11) – Describes the work of the P/T – “A Shepherd”, one who leads, feeds and protects the saints by instructing them in the Word of God.

The Office of Pastor/Teacher  – The qualifications of the office of Pastor/Teacher are given to us in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9.  They include:

1. “blameless” – no public lawlessness

2. “the husband of one wife” – a “one woman man” ie faithful to his marital covenant
3. “vigilant” – watchful
4. “sober” – self-controlled
5. “of good behaviour” – orderly
6. “given to hospitality” – lover of guests
7. “apt to teach” – able to instruct clearly
8. “Not given to wine” – does not “stay near the wine”
9. “no striker” – does not strike others
10.”not greedy of filthy lucre” – does not get unlawful profit
11. “patient” – to bear under load without rebellion
12. “not a brawler” – does not love to argue or be disagreeable
13. “not covetous” – does not envy others
14. “one that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity” – leads house in way pleasing to the Lord and has submissive, honest children
15. “Not a novice” – experienced
16. “Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without” – possess a good testimony among lost acquaintances
17. “having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.” – reliable children who are spoken of highly by others
18. “not selfwilled – not stubborn
19  “not soon angry  – patience and even tempered
20. “a lover of good men” – one who loves lawful men
21. “just” – keeps the laws of God
22. “holy” – separated from habitual, lifestyle of sin to service of God
23. “temperate”- keeping lusts under his control
24. “Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught” – Hold tightly the truths of the Word he had been previously taught.

The Men Who Are Said To Be Pastor/Teacher:

1.  Elders of Ephesian Church (Acts 20:17-28)
2.  Elders of Dispersed Jews (1 Peter 5:1-4)
3.  Peter (1 Peter 5:1)

Those Who Performed The Ministry Of Pastor/Teacher – Others who were “teachers” but not holders of the office of Pastor/Teacher

The men who performed this ministry:

1.  Nicodemus – John 3:10
2.  Teachers Of The Churches (Barnabas, Simeon, Lucius, Manaen) – Acts 13:1
3.  Paul – 1 Timothy 2:7

Note: Although the Pastor of the local church holds the singular office of Pastor/Teacher they can fulfill the ministry of all four types of men….

1.  Ministry of apostle – the pastor of the church, by their ordination, is sent out to be representative of Christ and the local church

2.  Ministry of prophet – the pastor of the church is to reveal the mind of God to the assembly by teaching from the completed Word

3.  Ministry of evangelist – the pastor of the church should always be ready to share the gospel message with the lost

4.  Ministry of pastor/teacher – the pastor is to lead, feed and protect the church of the Lord through the teaching of His Word

Likewise, as Christians, each one of us can do the work associated with these men without holding any specific office.  We can do this by:

1. We all can be an “apostle for Christ” by representing Christ by fulfilling the ministry He has given to us.

2. We all can be a “prophet of Christ” by teaching the completed Word to others

3. We all can be an “evangelist” by sharing the gospel message with the lost around us

4. We all can be an “shepherd” by caring for and watching over those who are spiritually weaker than ourselves.

In our next study we will continue to look at the spiritual gifts that God has given to His local churches.

Additional Information (Verses Referred To In This Study):

Gifted Men

Apostles

 “And when it was day, he called [unto him] his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;  Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew,  Matthew and Thomas, James the [son] of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zelotes,  And Judas [the brother] of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor.”  (Luke 6:13-16)

 

And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”   (John 17:3)

 

For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take.  Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us,  Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.  And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.  And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all [men], shew whether of these two thou hast chosen,  That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.”  (Acts 1:20-26)

 

And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people;…”   (Acts 5:12)

 

[Which] when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard [of], they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out,”  (Acts 14:14)

 

Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellowprisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.”   (Romans 16:7)

 

“And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.  For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.  But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace [which was bestowed] upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”   (1 Corinthians 15:8-10)

 

Whether [any do enquire] of Titus, [he is] my partner and fellowhelper concerning you: or our brethren [be enquired of, they are] the messengers of the churches, [and] the glory of Christ.”  (2 Corinthians 8:23)

 

 “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;  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:”   (Ephesians 2:19-21)

 

Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants.”   (Philippians 2:25)

 

Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor [yet] of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ.”   (1 Thessalonians 2:6)

 

Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;”   (Hebrews 3:1)

 

Prophets

And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.”  (Matthew 21:11)

 

And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying,”  (Luke 1:67)

 

And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways;”  (Luke 1:76)       

 

And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity;”  (Luke 2:36)

 

And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.”  (Luke 24:27)

 

For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.”  (Acts 3:22)

 

Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.”  (Acts 13:1)

 

And Judas and Silas, being prophets also themselves, exhorted the brethren with many words, and confirmed [them].”  (Acts 15:32)

 

And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy.”  (Acts 21:9)

 

Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life.”   (Romans 11:3)

 

Evangelist

And the next [day] we that were of Paul’s company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was [one] of the seven; and abode with him.”   (Acts 21:8)

 

I charge [thee] therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;  Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;  And they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.  But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”   (2 Timothy 4:1-5)

 

Pastor/Teacher

Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?  Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?”  (John 3:9-10)

 

Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.”   (Acts 13:1)

 

And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.”   (Acts 14:23)

 

And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church.  And when they were come to him, he said unto them, Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons,  Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews:  [And] how I kept back nothing that was profitable [unto you], but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house,  Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.  And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there:  Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.  But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.   And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more.  Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I [am] pure from the blood of all [men].  For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.  Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.”  (Acts 20:17-28)

 

And it came to pass, that, as I made my journey, and was come nigh unto Damascus about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me.  And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?

And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest.  And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me.  And I said, What shall I do, Lord? And the Lord said unto me, Arise, and go into Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do.”   (Acts 22:6-10)

 

Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, [and] lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.”  (1 Timothy 2:7)

 

This [is] a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.  A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;  Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;  One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;  (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)  Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.  Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.”  (1 Timothy 3:1-7)

 

If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.  For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;  But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;  Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.”  (Titus 1:6-9)

 

The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:  Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight [thereof], not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;  Neither as being lords over [God’s] heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.  And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.”  (1 Peter 5:1-4)

 

Our Lord Lives With, And Among His People…

SIH HALTAL ICON(Eph 2:22)  In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

For the SIH devotional on this subject:

http://wp.me/pU88A-3eG

SIH’s Think On These Things: Ephesians 2:22

SIH TOTT ICON“Reflections Of His Grace”

“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”

The Gracious Forming Of Spiritual Israel, The Family Of God and The Local Assembly: Ephesians 2:19-22

Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;  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:  In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

The grace of God extends far past the initial salvation experience, and continues on throughout the life of the Christian.   In our text, we find Gentiles, or anyone who is saved, possess these blessings described as a “fellowcitizen”.  This term means to share common citizenship of a town, nation or other organized, governed body.  This set of blessings is granted to believers in two, or perhaps three, forms…

First of all, “fellowcitizens with the saints” clearly is speaking of membership into spiritual Israel.

Secondly, “fellowcitizens of the household of God” is promise of access to the local assembly (the Lord’s body, His earthly dwelling place for worship).

Thirdly, perhaps there is one other type of shared membership that could be referenced in this passage.    That is membership into the family of God.

Please note the similarities found in all three of these divinely established organizations… The blessing of shared citizenship in a town or other body implies a three-fold blessing of membership, fellowship and unity of the saints with the Lord and each other.

A very basic outline of this section of Scripture:
I.        The gracious blessing of membership in divine organizations – 19
II.        The foundation of these organizations – 20
III.        The purpose of these organizations  – 21-22

EXPOSITION:

In our text today, Paul describes the continuing strengthening and addition to the membership of these divinely established institutions…

 

(Eph 2:22)  In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

In our last devotional, we saw that the Lord is continually building up (strengthening and increasing) His institutions (the nation, family and local churches of God) which results in them becoming separated from sin and becoming closer to the Lord.

Paul now looks at some other gracious blessings that stem from the Lord building up His institutions…

In whom ye also are builded together 

We already saw that the Lord’s building of His institutions results in a closer relationship between Him and the institution’s members.  Now we find that, as the Lord builds up of His institutions, He graces their members with a closer relationship with one another.  By adding new members and increasing the knowledge of His truths among the members, it produces a love and fellowship within each institution.  As a matter of fact, this love and fellowship  with other believers is a hall-mark of a genuine salvation experience…

This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.  If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”   (1 John 1:5-7)

for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

Paul now explains that, as the Lord builds up His institutions, it creates a permanent dwelling place for God in the person of the Holy Spirit.  The Lord Himself graciously dwells amongst His peoples.  He does this as a King would dwell among those of His nation, a Father dwells in the midst of His family and as the Pastor (shepherd) dwells among His churches.   This is done in two ways:

1. The person of the Holy Spirit indwells each and every believer…
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;  [Even] the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.  I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.”  (John 14:16-18)

2. The person of the Holy Spirit meets with those in a very special way as they gather together in His local assemblies…
Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.  Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.  For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”   (Matthew 18:18-20)

 “And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;  And in the midst of the seven candlesticks [one] like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the

foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle…

The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.”   (Revelation 1:12,13,20)

 

APPLICATION:

May we all come to recognize the wonderful blessings that the Lord gives to us as members of His institutions.  The unity among His people, His indwelling presence (in the person of the Holy Spirit), and His special presence within the local assemblies are indispensable blessings that flow from His grace.  Let us show our thankfulness for these wonderful blessings by living lives that honor and glorify Him.

May we all get a clearer picture of our Lord and Savior, and the great grace He has shown to us. Let us be always watchful to keep His great acts of grace on our behalf in the center of our attention… In doing so, may we be motivated to LOVE Him more, APPRECIATE Him more and SERVE Him more!  

SIH Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org
SIH Text Blog: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/
SIH Video Blog: http://youtube.com/settledinheaven/
SIH Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com

SIH’s Think On These Things: Ephesians 2:21

SIH TOTT ICON“Reflections Of His Grace”

“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”

The Gracious Forming Of Spiritual Israel, The Family Of God and The Local Assembly: Ephesians 2:19-22

Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;  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:  In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

 The grace of God extends far past the initial salvation experience, and continues on throughout the life of the Christian.   In our text, we find Gentiles, or anyone who is saved, possess these blessings described as a “fellowcitizen”.  This term means to share common citizenship of a town, nation or other organized, governed body.  This set of blessings is granted to believers in two, or perhaps three, forms…

First of all, “fellowcitizens with the saints” clearly is speaking of membership into spiritual Israel.

Secondly, “fellowcitizens of the household of God” is promise of access to the local assembly (the Lord’s body, His earthly dwelling place for worship).

Thirdly, perhaps there is one other type of shared membership that could be referenced in this passage.    That is membership into the family of God.

Please note the similarities found in all three of these divinely established organizations… The blessing of shared citizenship in a town or other body implies a three-fold blessing of membership, fellowship and unity of the saints with the Lord and each other.

A very basic outline of this section of Scripture:
I.        The gracious blessing of membership in divine organizations – 19
II.        The foundation of these organizations – 20
III.        The purpose of these organizations  – 21-22

EXPOSITION:

In our text today, Paul describes the continuing strengthening and addition to the membership of these divinely established institutions…

(Ephesians 2:21)  In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:  

 

In whom all the building fitly framed together

The steps in the gracious establishment and continuance of the nation, family and church of God involved…
1.  The completion of the foundation – Christ fulfilling His work on earth (33-34 AD) and then completing the giving of His Word to man (95-100 AD)
2.  The framing up of the building – Christ then begins to build upon the foundation by framing up its basic structure (adding new members, and spreading His Word through the migration of His local churches and individual believers throughout the world)

groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:

The Lord then, graciously, causes the building to grow numerically and spiritually as the truths about Himself continue to be propagated among both saved and lost.

The continuing distribution of the Word causes each of these bodies to become “holy temples” in the Lord:
1.  They become “holy” as sin is driven from these bodies through the receipt of the Word –
Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.”  (John 15:3)

2.  They become “temples” as their worship, intimacy and communion with the Lord increase through the receipt of the Word –
Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that [pertain] unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:  Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”   (2 Peter 1:2-4)

 

Both of these truths (holiness and intimacy with the Lord) apply to each of the three institutions established by the Lord…
a.  Spiritual Israel –
But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:  Which in time past [were] not a people, but [are] now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.”  (1 Peter 2:9-10)

b. The Family Of God –
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?  And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?  And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in [them]; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.  Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean [thing]; and I will receive you,  And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”  (2 Corinthians 6:14-18)

c. The Local Assembly –
Husbands, love your wives, even as 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.”   (Ephesians 5:25-27)

 

APPLICATION:

In any area of our relationship with the Lord intimacy and holiness should be among our highest priorities.  How can we achieve these awesome goals that are set before us?  By following the Spirit’s leadership in making His Word a part of our day to day walk with Him…

Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.  Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, [see that ye] love one another with a pure heart fervently:  Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”  (1 Peter 1:21-23)

I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.  I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.  They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.  Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.  As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.  And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.”  (John 17:14-19)

It is due to the importance of the Word that we find ourselves investing our time and effort in this study of the Book of Ephesians.  May we all not only come to a better mental knowledge of this book, but may the Lord graciously lead us by His Spirit to an application of the Word to our day to day walk on earth.

May we all get a clearer picture of our Lord and Savior, and the great grace He has shown to us. Let us be always watchful to keep His great acts of grace on our behalf in the center of our attention… In doing so, may we be motivated to LOVE Him more, APPRECIATE Him more and SERVE Him more! 

SIH Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org
SIH Text Blog: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/
SIH Video Blog: http://youtube.com/settledinheaven/
SIH Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com

SIH’s Think On These Things: Ephesians 2:20

SIH TOTT ICON“Reflections Of His Grace”

“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”

The Gracious Forming Of Spiritual Israel, The Family Of God and The Local Assembly: Ephesians 2:19-22

Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;  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:  In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

The grace of God extends far past the initial salvation experience, and continues on throughout the life of the Christian.   In our text, we find Gentiles, or anyone who is saved, possess these blessings described as a “fellowcitizen”.  This term means to share common citizenship of a town, nation or other organized, governed body.  This set of blessings is granted to believers in two, or perhaps three, forms…

First of all, “fellowcitizens with the saints” clearly is speaking of membership into spiritual Israel.

Secondly, “fellowcitizens of the household of God” is promise of access to the local assembly (the Lord’s body, His earthly dwelling place for worship).

Thirdly, perhaps there is one other type of shared membership that could be referenced in this passage.    That is membership into the family of God.

Please note the similarities found in all three of these divinely established organizations… The blessing of shared citizenship in a town or other body implies a three-fold blessing of membership, fellowship and unity of the saints with the Lord and each other.

A very basic outline of this section of Scripture:
I.        The gracious blessing of membership in divine organizations – 19
II.        The foundation of these organzations – 20
III.        The purpose of these organizations  – 21-22

EXPOSITION:

In our text today, Paul describes the foundation that is shared in common by all of these divinely established organizations, Spiritual Israel, His Local Churches, and the Family of God…

(Eph 2:20)  And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

 

And are built upon the foundation
“The foundation” speaks of the base upon which these organizations were built.   It is this foundation that was crucial to both their creation and continuing existence.  It is much like a house whose construction, and then continued sturdiness is directly related to the soundness of its foundation.  (As a matter of fact the Greek term translated “built” in this verse refers to the construction of a home upon a foundation.)

of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
The foundation of the Lord’s organizations is a three-fold foundation…
1.  Jesus Christ the chief corner stone.  The chief corner stone is laid first and is used as the anchor and beginning point for the remaining parts of the foundation.  Our Lord is the “foundation of the foundation”.  It is upon Christ that the foundation for all of His organizations is established.
2.  The apostles refers to those who authoritatively gave to man the teachings found in the New Testament.
3.  The prophets refers to those who authoritatively gave to man the teachings found in the Old Testament.

Put very simply… the Lord Jesus Christ, His person, teachings and works (as revealed in the Old and New Testaments) are the absolute core foundation upon which His spiritual nation, family and local assemblies are founded and upon which they continue to endure.

The laying of this foundation, and the establishment of His organizations was concluded with the completed revelation of the Holy Scriptures (approx. 95 – 100 AD).  With the foundation totally brought to completion, from that point forward, these organizations continue to exist, be added unto, to be embellished and strengthened.

Because of His exclusive, fundamental role in the establishment and perpetuity of these institutions, He is to hold preeminence (first place) in every aspect of our lives…

For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether [they be] thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:  And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.  And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all [things] he might have the preeminence.”  (Colossians 1:16-18)

 

APPLICATION:

It is upon Christ, His teachings and His work that we can enjoy the existence of His nation, family and churches; and it is through Him that we are graciously privileged to be given membership into those divine institutions.

May we forever keep the Lord in first place in every area of our lives, knowing it is ALL BECAUSE OF HIM we can call ourselves His adopted children, citizens of the Israel Of God, and members of the Lord’s local assemblies and enjoy the multitude of blessings that flow from each.

May we all get a clearer picture of our Lord and Savior, and the great grace He has shown to us. Let us be always watchful to keep His great acts of grace on our behalf in the center of our attention… In doing so, may we be motivated to LOVE Him more, APPRECIATE Him more and SERVE Him more!  

SIH Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org
SIH Text Blog: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/
SIH Video Blog: http://youtube.com/settledinheaven/
SIH Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com

SIH’s Think On These Things: Ephesians 2:19

SIH TOTT ICON“Reflections Of His Grace”

“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”

 

 

The Gracious Forming Of Spiritual Israel and The Local Assembly: Ephesians 2:19-22

Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;  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:  In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

The grace of God extends far past the initial salvation experience, and continues on throughout the life of the Christian.   In our text, we find Gentiles, or anyone who is saved, possess these blessings described as a “fellowcitizen”.  This term means to share common citizenship of a town, nation or other organized, governed body.  This set of blessings is granted to believers in two, or perhaps three, forms…

First of all, “fellowcitizens with the saints” clearly is speaking of membership into spiritual Israel.
Secondly, “fellowcitizens of the household of God” is promise of access to the local assembly (the Lord’s body, His earthly dwelling place for worship).
Thirdly, perhaps there is one other type of shared membership that could be referenced in this passage.    That is membership into the family of God.

Please note the similarities found in all three of these divinely established organizations… The blessing of shared citizenship in a town or other body implies a three-fold blessing of membership, fellowship and unity of the saints with the Lord and each other.

 

Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;  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:  In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

A very basic outline of this section of Scripture:
I.        The gracious blessing of membership in divine organizations – 19
II.        The foundation of these organzations – 20
III.        The purpose of these organizations  – 21-22

 

EXPOSITION:

In this morning’s devotional, Paul describes Christ’s gracious blessing of membership in organizations that He has founded… 

(Ephesians 2:19)  Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

 

Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners,
Both physical and spiritual Gentiles, who have graciously been recipients of salvation from their sins, have also been graciously brought into fellowship with the Lord and other saints.  No longer can they be said to be:
1.  “strangers” (aliens, those who do not belong) nor can they be said to be
2.  “foreigners” (traveler, one who lives outside)

Bringing Gentiles into a lasting relationship with the Lord and other saints is accomplished by giving access to three divinely established organizations….

 

but fellowcitizens with the saints,
1.  This phrase is describing becoming members of the spiritual nation of Israel (the Israel of God).
The Lord has established a spiritual nation of Israel that will long surpass any physical nation that exists on earth.  This spiritual nation can be characterized as:
a.  sharing a common lineage – (Romans 4:9-16, Galatians 3:7-12)
b.  sharing a common convenant – (Galatians 3:14-18)
c.  sharing a common land (New Jersualem) – (Revelation 21:1-5)

Once saved, we all gain citizenship in this nation and share in the heritage, promises and land of Israel throughout eternity… (Romans 11:16-32)

 

and of the household of God;
2.  The phrase “the household of God” is describing the Lord’s local churches on earth. Please note the same Greek root word of “household” is used in 1 Tim 3:15 “house of God”, clearly speaking of the Lord’s local churches on earth.
Membership in the local assembly is offered to all who are saved, if they have made a public profession of their faith (baptism) (Acts 2:41).  As members of the body of Christ, members of the local assembly share in:
a.  caring for one another (1 Cor 12:7-31)
b.  serving the Lord by fulfilling the Great Commission (Matt 28:18-20)
c.  experiencing a heightened form of worship as God meets with them in a special way. (Matthew 18:20)

3.  However, this phrase can also be speaking of “the family of God”.  In Gals 6:9-10 “the household of faith” is used to describe the family of God which is made up of all who are saved.
A part of the salvation experience involves becoming adopted members of the family of God (Romans 8:15, Galatians 4:5).  As such, they share:
a.  love for one another (1 Pet 1:21-23)
b.  God as their Heavenly Father. (Gals 4:5-6)
c.  a heavenly inheritance given to all the saints of God. (Roms 8:13-17)

 

APPLICATION:

Membership in Spiritual Israel, the Family of God and the Local Church, are gracious blessings from the Lord. All 3 of these divine organizations were given to those who were no longer strangers and foreigners.  This was done to enhance their newly acquired relationship with the Lord and with others who are saved.

May we all get a clearer picture of our Lord and Savior, and the great grace He has shown to us. Let us be always watchful to keep His great acts of grace on our behalf in the center of our attention… In doing so, may we be motivated to LOVE Him more, APPRECIATE Him more and SERVE Him more!  

 

SIH Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org
SIH Text Blog: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/
SIH Video Blog: http://youtube.com/settledinheaven/
SIH Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com

SIH’s Think On These Things: Ephesians 2:17-18

SIH TOTT ICON“Reflections Of His Grace”

“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”

The Gracious Salvation Of Christ: Ephesians 2:11-18

 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;  That at that time ye 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:  But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;  Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;  And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:  And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. 

For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

 Paul now explains to the church at Ephesus (and each one of us) that the Lord has graciously included Gentiles as recipients of the gospel message, saving faith and membership into the family of God.

What is meant by the term “Gentile”?  The word translated “Gentile” is the Greek word “ethnos”, meaning “nations”.  It is from this word we get the word “ethnic”.

Generally, when the term Gentile is used in the Bible in was used in one of two ways:
1.  When used to describe a physical condition of a nation, it describes a non-Jewish nation, or a foreign nation.
2.  When used to describe a spiritual condition, it describes those who are alienated from the Lord.  Before Christ, most non-Jewish nations did not possess the truths of God’s Word, nor did they experience His saving grace. Because of this, the term “Gentile” in the Bible was related to those who were alienated from the Lord, many times indulging in false worship and spiritually separated from Him.

Please keep in mind, this condition of Gentile alienation during the times of the Old Testament is being spoken of by Paul, in generalities.  There were exceptions to this principle of Gentile alienation.  Some of the OT Gentiles who were saved and enjoyed communion with God include:
1.  Everyone saved before the establishment of the nation of Israel (Gen 1:-11:)
2.  Inhabitants of Nineveh under the ministry of Jonah (Jonah 3:)
3.  Rahab the harlot (Hebs 11:31)
4.  King Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4:)
5.  Naaman the Syrian (2 Kings 5:)
6.  Ruth the Moabitess (Ruth)

And perhaps others.

A very basic outline of this section of Scripture:
I.        The past alienation of Gentiles from the Lord – 11-12
II.        Gentiles brought into communion with God based upon Christ – 13
III.        The work of Christ on  behalf of Gentiles – 14-17
IV.        Communion with God by the Spirit – 18

 

EXPOSITION:

In this morning’s devotional, Paul describes Christ’s gracious coming to the earth to proclaim the way of peace… 

(Ephesians 2:17-18)  And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.  For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

In our prior study we saw that this statement is clearly speaking of Christ, the One that reconciled “both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby” (vs 16)…

And came and preached peace to you 
A major aspect of the earthly ministry of Christ was His teachings concerning Himself and the way of salvation and peace for all men.

The word which [God] sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)  That word, [I say], ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached;  How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.  And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree:  Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly;  (Acts 10:36-40)

What a wonderful display of the grace of God, visiting fallen mankind with the message of salvation and peace through the cross.

which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.  
Christ’s message was meant for both Gentile (afar off) and Jews (nigh).  Keep in mind, although the ministry of Christ centered upon the Jews (Matt 15:24), Christ did minister to Gentiles as well:
1.  Matthew 15:22-25 – Samaritan Woman
2.  Mark 7:24-30 – Daughter of Syrophenician Woman
3.  Matthew 8:5-13 – Centurion servant healed

These individual events, helps us to see the grace of the Lord at work during the ministry of Christ.  Although He was sent to minister to the Jew, out of a heart of grace and compassion He ministered to Gentiles as well.

Christ ministering to a minority of Gentiles, aligns itself with what took place in the Old Testament.  In OT times, although Gentiles were excluded from a majority of the ministry of the Word, we still saw several Gentiles who were saved and partakers of the Word.

Christ ministering to the Gentiles, also aligns itself with the events of the later New Testament times.  In the NT, following the giving of the Great Commission we find the local assemblies taking the gospel into the Gentile nations ministering to them and placing them on equal footing with the Jew.

Because of both the past OT events and the NT events that were to yet to come, we should not be surprised to see Christ graciously ministering to the Gentiles during His earthly ministry.

This ministry of Christ was a partial fulfillment of this prophecy, which finds it total fulfillment in the ministry of the local churches taking the gospel to the world…

I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to [him that is] far off, and to [him that is] near, saith the LORD; and I will heal him.   (Isaiah 57:19)

For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
The word for “access” comes from a fusion of two Greek words:
1.  mode of life, manner of bringing up
2.  to lean towards, to enter into

It is through the work of Christ, by the Spirit, that we are able to enter into the presence of the Father as a way of life, Please notice the basic principles found in this verse…
1.  The Father is the One to whom allows us to gain access to Him as a way of life.
2.  The Son is the One who died for us on the cross and then continues as our Mediator allowing us to continually access the Father.
3.  The Spirit is the Person of God that shows us the way of salvation by leading us to Christ.

 

APPLICATION:

The believers in the church at Ephesus, just as each one of us, had much for which to be thankful:
1.  The Lord has graciously come to the earth, God becoming flesh, to minister to and to save His people from their sins.
2.  He graciously set the perfect example by ministering to both Jew and Gentile.
3.  He gave the Great Commission to His churches to continue His preaching/teaching ministry.
4.  He gave the Spirit to fulfill the ministry of leading men to Himself.
5.  He continues to minster by making constant intercession for our sins, insuring our security and eternal salvation.

May we all get a clearer picture of our Lord and Savior, and the great grace He has shown to us. Let us be always watchful to keep His great acts of grace on our behalf in the center of our attention… In doing so, may we be motivated to LOVE Him more, APPRECIATE Him more and SERVE Him more!  

SIH Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org
SIH Text Blog: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/
SIH Video Blog: http://youtube.com/settledinheaven/
SIH Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com

SIH’s Think On These Things: Ephesians 2:15-16

SIH TOTT ICON“Reflections Of His Grace”

“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”

The Gracious Salvation Of Christ: Ephesians 2:11-18

 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;  That at that time ye 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:  But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;  Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;  And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:  And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. 

For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

Paul now explains to the church at Ephesus (and each one of us) that the Lord has graciously included Gentiles as recipients of the gospel message, saving faith and membership into the family of God.

What is meant by the term “Gentile”?  The word translated “Gentile” is the Greek word “ethnos”, meaning “nations”.  It is from this word we get the word “ethnic”.

Generally, when the term Gentile is used in the Bible in was used in one of two ways:

1.  When used to describe a physical condition of a nation, it describes a non-Jewish nation, or a foreign nation.

2.  When used to describe a spiritual condition, it describes those who are alienated from the Lord.  Before Christ, most non-Jewish nations did not possess the truths of God’s Word, nor did they experience His saving grace. Because of this, the term “Gentile” in the Bible was related to those who were alienated from the Lord, many times indulging in false worship and spiritually separated from Him.

Please keep in mind, this condition of Gentile alienation during the times of the Old Testament is being spoken of by Paul, in generalities.  There were exceptions to this principle of Gentile alienation.  Some of the OT Gentiles who were saved and enjoyed communion with God include:
1.  Everyone saved before the establishment of the nation of Israel (Gen 1:-11:)
2.  Inhabitants of Nineveh under the ministry of Jonah (Jonah 3:)
3.  Rahab the harlot (Hebs 11:31)
4.  King Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4:)
5.  Naaman the Syrian (2 Kings 5:)
6.  Ruth the Moabitess (Ruth)

And perhaps others.

A very basic outline of this section of Scripture:
I.        The past alienation of Gentiles from the Lord – 11-12
II.        Gentiles brought into communion with God based upon Christ – 13
III.        The work of Christ on  behalf of Gentiles – 14-17
IV.        Communion with God by the Spirit – 18

EXPOSITION:

In this morning’s devotional, Paul describes in more detail three results of His work on the cross that reconciled man to God…  

(Eph 2:15-16)  Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:

Paul explains how the work of Christ on the cross worked reconciliation between God and Gentiles (both physical and spiritual)

 

Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, 

Two types of enmity (hatred, warfare) exists in the lives of Gentiles:

1.  For the physical Gentile enmity existed between Jews and themselves… many Old Testament blessings were given to Jews but were not experienced by Gentiles (Romans 3:1-2).   Some of these included:
a.  being used by God to deliver His Word
b.  being granted access to His house of worship
c.  National blessings of protection and prosperity
 

2.  For the spiritual Gentiles enmity exists between God and himself.  This enmity is the result of man’s fallen sinful, depraved nature (Colossians 1:21, Romans 7:7).

It was through the physical abuse and death of Christ that this hatred was brought to cessation…

I. Christ’s work on the cross resulted in a cessation of warfare between physical Jew and physical Gentiles and between God and spiritual Gentiles.

 

even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; 

This enmity was brought about due to the “law of commandments”  (the restriction of divine requirements)
1.  For the physical Gentile… it was the restrictions found in the OT law of God that forbade them from full interaction with the Lord (especially in areas of worship, ambassadorship, and national blessings)
2.  For the spiritual Gentiles… it was the laws of the Lord that produced and revealed their sinful, alienated, condition before God.

When Christ died on the cross He did away with the restrains of the law allowing Gentiles access into His salvation, fellowship, and houses of worship (local churches). (Galatians 3:10-14)

 

for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;

Taking away the enmity brought about by the law resulted in the Jew and Gentile becoming one in Christ.
1.  For the physical Gentile, they would now have no reason for jealousy or hatred of the Jew.  Now both would equally share in the blessings of Christ as citizens of His spiritual nation. (Romans 11:16-25)
2.  For the spiritual Gentile, they would be looked upon as having equal access to salvation. (Colossians 3:10-11, Galatians 3:26-29)

Through Christ’s death, the enmity that was experienced by Gentiles would be replaced with the peace (harmony, unity).

II. Christ’s work on the cross resulted in taking away many of the disparities between Jew and Gentile bringing peace between the Jews/Gentiles and Gentiles/ and the Lord.

 

And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:

The death of Christ resulted in the reconciliation of both Jews and Gentiles unto the Lord.  The word “reconcile” comes from a Greek word that carries the idea of “to fully transform though use of an exchange”.   The Gentiles standing before the Lord fully changed through Christ’s death…
1.  Their “enmity” was exchanged for “peace”.
2.  Their “alienation” was exchanged for “acceptance”
3.  Their “sinfulness was exchanged for “righteousness”

All of this resulted in both physical and spiritual Gentiles being fully transformed….

For it pleased [the Father] that in him should all fulness dwell;  And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, [I say], whether [they be] things in earth, or things in heaven.  And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in [your] mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled  In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: …   [Even] the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:  To whom God would make known what [is] the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:  Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:  Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.”  (Colossians 1:19-29)

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.  For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.  And not only [so], but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.   (Romans 5:8-11)

III. Christ’s work on the cross resulted in the reconciliation of the Gentile through gracious transforming exchange.

 

 

APPLICATION:

Certainly the Ephesians, and ourselves, have much to be thankful for… through Christ’s work on the cross an exchange was wrought resulting in the transformation of both physical and spiritual Gentiles .   It was this exchange that brought for the Gentiles peace, acceptance, forgiveness, citizenship into the family and nation of the Lord, and an inheritance which will be enjoyed throughout eternity!

May we all get a clearer picture of our Lord and Savior, and the great grace He has shown to us. Let us be always watchful to keep His great acts of grace on our behalf in the center of our attention… In doing so, may we be motivated to LOVE Him more, APPRECIATE Him more and SERVE Him more!  

SIH Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org
SIH Text Blog: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/
SIH Video Blog: http://youtube.com/settledinheaven/
SIH Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com

SIH’s Think On These Things: Ephesians 2:14

SIH TOTT ICON“Reflections Of His Grace”

“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”

The Gracious Salvation Of Christ: Ephesians 2:11-18

 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;  That at that time ye 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:  But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;  Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;  And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:  And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. 

For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

Paul now explains to the church at Ephesus (and each one of us) that the Lord has graciously included Gentiles as recipients of the gospel message, saving faith and membership into the family of God.

What is meant by the term “Gentile”?  The word translated “Gentile” is the Greek word “ethnos”, meaning “nations”.  It is from this word we get the word “ethnic”.

Generally, when the term Gentile is used in the Bible in was used in one of two ways:

1.  When used to describe a physical condition of a nation, it describes a non-Jewish nation, or a foreign nation.

2.  When used to describe a spiritual condition, it describes those who are alienated from the Lord.  Before Christ, most non-Jewish nations did not possess the truths of God’s Word, nor did they experience His saving grace. Because of this, the term “Gentile” in the Bible was related to those who were alienated from the Lord, many times indulging in false worship and spiritually separated from Him.

Please keep in mind, this condition of Gentile alienation during the times of the Old Testament is being spoken of by Paul, in generalities.  There were exceptions to this principle of Gentile alienation.  Some of the OT Gentiles who were saved and enjoyed communion with God include:

1.  Everyone saved before the establishment of the nation of Israel (Gen 1:-11:)

2.  Inhabitants of Nineveh under the ministry of Jonah (Jonah 3:)

3.  Rahab the harlot (Hebs 11:31)

4.  King Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4:)

5.  Naaman the Syrian (2 Kings 5:)

6.  Ruth the Moabitess (Ruth)

And perhaps others.

A very basic outline of this section of Scripture:

I.        The past alienation of Gentiles from the Lord – 11-12

II.        Gentiles brought into communion with God based upon Christ – 13

III.        The work of Christ on  behalf of Gentiles – 14-17

IV.        Communion with God by the Spirit – 18

EXPOSITION:

In this morning’s devotional, Paul addresses the wonderful peace between God and Gentiles that flows forth from His grace and kindness to mankind…  

(Eph 2:14)  For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;

For he is our peace, 

The Lord Jesus Christ is the source and sustainer of the peace we possess between God and ourselves.

The word translated “peace” is a Greek word that combines two basic ideas…

1.  silence, rest, or tranquility

2.  unity, harmony, communion

In other words, it can describe an inner experience of peace as well as a peaceful relationship with others.

When we say that Christ is our “peace” it is teaching us that through Christ we can experience:

1.   a harmonious, intimate, peaceful relationship with the Lord…

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:  By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”  (Romans 5:1-2)

2.   a calmness or peacefulness within knowing that our sins are forgiven and we are eternally secure in Him…

Come unto me, all [ye] that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke [is] easy, and my burden is light.”  (Matthew 11:28-30)

3.  a calmness in the midst of the storms of life, knowing He is with us and all things work for our good…

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”   (Philippians 4:6-7)

who hath made both one,

This unity and harmony and rest comes to physical Gentiles and spiritual Gentiles (lost mankind) only by the grace of the Lord.

 

and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;

The Lord grants to His people this peace in two different ways….

1.  For the physical Gentile, He breaks down the OT laws that separated Jew form Gentile and He makes them one with the physical Jew, including both into His family and membership into His local assemblies of worship…

[Is he] the God of the Jews only? [is he] not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also:  Seeing [it is] one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.”  (Romans 3:29-30)

For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also [is] Christ.  For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether [we be] Jews or Gentiles, whether [we be] bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.  For the body is not one member, but many.”  (1 Corinthians 12:12-14)

2.  For the spiritual Gentile, He breaks down the wall of their sin that separates them from Him, and reconciles them to Himself, bringing them into a close, harmonious relationship.

For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.  And not only [so], but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.”   (Romans 5:10-11)

 

APPLICATION:

Certainly, the Ephesians had much to be thankful for… now they could experience a genuine, lasting peace within themselves.  They knew that, because they were at harmony with God, they could enjoy the blessings of inward tranquility.  This tranquility was based upon knowledge that they were eternally secure in Christ, and that He would be with them every step of the way in the midst of the many storms of their life.

May we all get a clearer picture of our Lord and Savior, and the great grace He has shown to us. Let us be always watchful to keep His great acts of grace on our behalf in the center of our attention… In doing so, may we be motivated to LOVE Him more, APPRECIATE Him more and SERVE Him more!  

SIH Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org

SIH Text Blog: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/

SIH Video Blog: http://youtube.com/settledinheaven/

SIH Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com

SIH’s Think On These Things: Ephesians 2:13

SIH TOTT ICONReflections Of His Grace”

“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”

The Gracious Salvation Of Christ: Ephesians 2:11-18 

Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;  That at that time ye 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:  But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;  Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;  And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:  And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. 

For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

Paul now explains to the church at Ephesus (and each one of us) that the Lord has graciously included Gentiles as recipients of the gospel message, saving faith and membership into the family of God.

What is meant by the term “Gentile”?  The word translated “Gentile” is the Greek word “ethnos”, meaning “nations”.  It is from this word we get the word “ethnic”.

Generally, when the term Gentile is used in the Bible in was used in one of two ways:

1.  When used to describe a physical condition of a nation, it describes a non-Jewish nation, or a foreign nation.

2.  When used to describe a spiritual condition, it describes those who are alienated from the Lord.  Before Christ, most non-Jewish nations did not possess the truths of God’s Word, nor did they experience His saving grace. Because of this, the term “Gentile” in the Bible was related to those who were alienated from the Lord, many times indulging in false worship and spiritually separated from Him.

Please keep in mind, this condition of Gentile alienation during the times of the Old Testament is being spoken of by Paul, in generalities.  There were exceptions to this principle of Gentile alienation.  Some of the OT Gentiles who were saved and enjoyed communion with God include:

1.  Everyone saved before the establishment of the nation of Israel (Gen 1:-11:)

2.  Inhabitants of Nineveh under the ministry of Jonah (Jonah 3:)

3.  Rahab the harlot (Hebs 11:31)

4.  King Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4:)

5.  Naaman the Syrian (2 Kings 5:)

6.  Ruth the Moabitess (Ruth)

And perhaps others.

A very basic outline of this section of Scripture:

I.        The past alienation of Gentiles from the Lord – 11-12

II.        Gentiles brought into communion with God based upon Christ – 13

III.        The work of Christ on  behalf of Gentiles – 14-17

IV.        Communion with God by the Spirit – 18

EXPOSITION:

In this morning’s devotional, Paul addresses the gracious entrance of the Gentiles into communion with the Lord and their inclusion into the family of God and the Israel of God…   

(Eph 2:13)  But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

Paul begins by emphasizing the basis of the Gentiles acceptance before the Lord…

But now in Christ Jesus 

The Gentiles acceptance before God and inclusion in His family is based upon the work of Christ.  This work of Christ forms the basis for the Jews acceptance before God as well.

For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.  For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.  And if ye [be] Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”  (Galatians 3:26-29)

The bottom line is this… through faith in Christ, and His work on the cross, there is no difference between Jews and Gentiles…

1.  Both can enter into salvation by faith (For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus),

2.  Be baptized into Christ through water baptism (For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ)

3.  Both can claim citizenship in the spiritual nation of God (then are ye Abraham’s seed)

4.  Both can become members, and heirs, in the family of God (heirs according to the promise.)

All of this takes place because of the grace and kindness of our Great God and His Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Please notice, more about the phrase “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ”…

Is very important to our subject of both Jew and Gentile being accepted into Christ and His worship.   The baptism being spoken of here is water baptism.  Water baptism is performed for two main reasons:

1.  To publically declare our salvation experience

2.  To grant membership into the Lord’s body, His place of worship, His local church (1 Cor 12:27).

When we are told both Jews and Gentiles can experience water baptism, it is saying that both can:

1. publicly testify of a legitimate salvation experience,

2. and both can experience genuine worship with Him as they are given entrance into his local churches.

 

ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh

As physical Gentiles they no longer were under the restrictions of the OT ceremonial laws that restricted them from worship.  As spiritual Gentiles (lost men) they now had been forgiven and entered into communion with their God.

Those who were separated from God can now enter into a close relationship with Him based upon Christ’s shed blood.

by the blood of Christ.

It is this shed blood of Christ which covers the sin and redeems the sinner.

 “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;  But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:  Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,  Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.”   1Peter 1:18-21

Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:  Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated [us] into the kingdom of his dear Son:  In whom we have redemption through his blood, [even] the forgiveness of sins:”  (Colossians 1:12-14)

 

APPLICATION:

Certainly, the Ephesians had much to be thankful for… through the person and work of their Lord Jesus, they had been brought into a relationship with the only True God and His local church at Ephesus.  Likewise, for each one of us who are saved, whether Jew or Gentile, we have much for which to praise and honor our Lord. It is only through His shed blood that we can gain membership into His family and His place of worship.

May we all get a clearer picture of our Lord and Savior, and the great grace He has shown to us. Let us be always watchful to keep His great acts of grace on our behalf in the center of our attention… In doing so, may we be motivated to LOVE Him more, APPRECIATE Him more and SERVE Him more!  

SIH Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org

SIH Text Blog: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/

SIH Video Blog: http://youtube.com/settledinheaven/

SIH Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com

SIH’s Think On These Things: Ephesians 2:12

SIH TOTT ICON“Reflections Of His Grace”

“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”

The Gracious Salvation Of Christ: Ephesians 2:11-18 

Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;  That at that time ye 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:  But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;  Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;  And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:  And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. 
For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

Paul now explains to the church at Ephesus (and each one of us) that the Lord has graciously included Gentiles as recipients of the gospel message, saving faith and membership into the family of God.

What is meant by the term “Gentile”?  The word translated “Gentile” is the Greek word “ethnos”, meaning “nations”.  It is from this word we get the word “ethnic”.

Generally, when the term Gentile is used in the Bible in was used in one of two ways:
1.  When used to describe a physical condition of a nation, it describes a non-Jewish nation, or a foreign nation.
2.  When used to describe a spiritual condition, it describes those who are alienated from the Lord.  Before Christ, most non-Jewish nations did not possess the truths of God’s Word, nor did they experience His saving grace. Because of this, the term “Gentile” in the Bible was related to those who were alienated from the Lord, many times indulging in false worship and spiritually separated from Him.

Please keep in mind, this condition of Gentile alienation during the times of the Old Testament is being spoken of by Paul, in generalities.  There were exceptions to this principle of Gentile alienation.  Some of the OT Gentiles who were saved and enjoyed communion with God include:
1.  Everyone saved before the establishment of the nation of Israel (Gen 1:-11:)
2.  Inhabitants of Nineveh under the ministry of Jonah (Jonah 3:)
3.  Rahab the harlot (Hebs 11:31)
4.  King Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4:)
5.  Naaman the Syrian (2 Kings 5:)
6.  Ruth the Moabitess (Ruth)

And perhaps others.

A very basic outline of this section of Scripture:
I.        The past alienation of Gentiles from the Lord – 11-12
II.        Gentiles brought into communion with God based upon Christ – 13
III.        The work of Christ on  behalf of Gentiles – 14-17
IV.        Communion with God by the Spirit – 18

 

EXPOSITION:

In this morning’s devotional, Paul continues to explain the standing of Gentiles during the times of the Old Testament.  Not only does this description apply to the physical Gentiles of the Old Testament times, but taken in the spiritual sense, it is a picture of a lost individual and their condition of alienation before the Lord…   

 

(Ephesians 2:12)  That at that time ye 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:
Just like the physical Gentiles during Old Testament times, the Ephesian church members rightfully could be rejected by God based upon their physical lineage.

In this description, Paul is reminding them of:
1.  “what could have been” apart from God’s grace sending the gospel to the Gentiles and accepting them into His local assemblies.
2.  But also, since the condition of OT Gentiles is illustrative of the condition of a lost person, it is also reminding the Ephesians of their alienation from Christ prior to their salvation experience.

Paul’s teachings throughout this section would hit home with the Ephesians in two ways, their physical lineage and their spiritual condition before their salvation…

 

That at that time ye were without Christ,
As Physical Gentiles – In the Old Testament times, they would have lacked a relationship with the Lord and lacked His presence in their life.

As Spiritual Gentiles – The Ephesians, just like any lost man before their salvation, who did not have the Lord or His indwelling Spirit in their lives.  (Colossians 1:21)

 

being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel,
As Physical Gentiles – In the Old Testament times, they were considered “aliens” (estranged, not linked to) the physical nation of Israel.  They were considered to be “outsiders” not entering into citizenship of the nation of Israel.

As Spiritual Gentiles – The Ephesians, just like any lost man before their salvation, are considered “aliens” (estranged, separated) and “outsiders”, not entering into membership in the family of God nor possess citizenship of the spiritual, eternal, nation of God (the Israel of God). (Galatians 6:16)

 

and strangers from the covenants of promise,
As Physical Gentiles – In the Old Testament times, they were considered “strangers” (foreign, not belonging) not being a party to the covenant made between Israel and Jehovah.

As Spiritual Gentiles – The Ephesians, just like any lost man before their salvation,  do not share in the new covenant made between The Lord and His chosen people which are made up of both believing Jews and Gentiles (Hebrews 8:7-13)

 

having no hope,
As Physical Gentiles – In the Old Testament times, they had “no hope” of acceptance into citizenship of Israel and the worship of Jehovah.  According to the law of God they were to be excluded.

As Spiritual Gentiles – The Ephesians, just like any lost man before their salvation, does not have hope of attaining salvation of their own merit or deeds.  They are hopeless apart from the gracious intervention of the Lord. (1 Peter 1:3-5)

 

and without God in the world:
As Physical Gentiles – In the Old Testament times, being alienated from the nation that possessed the truth of God’s Word, His worship and His people, the Gentiles were truly without God.

As Spiritual Gentiles – The Ephesians, just like any lost man before their salvation, is without God as well.  They do not have the indwelling Spirit of God within them.  They are separated from God due to their sinfulness and spiritually blinded, unable to come to an understanding of His Words nor seeing their great need of salvation from their sins.  (Galatians 4:7-8)

 

APPLICATION:

Certainly, the Ephesians had much to be thankful because…

By them taking a moment to remember their past they are reminded that, due to their physical lineage and their sinful condition as lost men, they were alienated from God.  Apart from His intervention in their lives, they were helpless to secure communion with Him.   But, praise be to the Lord, they have entered into a personal relationship with their Lord based upon His wondrous mercy and grace!

So too for each one of us, whether Jew or Gentile, we all can praise His wonderful name for giving us access to Himself through His work on the cross.  May the Lord bring our past into our minds and help us to realize the great grace He has shown to us on our behalf!

May we all get a clearer picture of our Lord and Savior, and the great grace He has shown to us. Let us be always watchful to keep His great acts of grace on our behalf in the center of our attention… In doing so, may we be motivated to LOVE Him more, APPRECIATE Him more and SERVE Him more!  

SIH Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org
SIH Text Blog: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/
SIH Video Blog: http://youtube.com/settledinheaven/
SIH Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com

SIH’s Think On These Things: Ephesians 2:11

SIH TOTT ICON“Reflections Of His Grace”

“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”

The Gracious Salvation Of Christ: Ephesians 2:11-18

Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;  That at that time ye 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:  But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;  Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;  And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:  And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. 
For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

 

Paul now explains to the church at Ephesus (and each one of us) that the Lord has graciously included Gentiles as recipients of the gospel message, saving faith and membership into the family of God.

What is meant by the term “Gentile”?  The word translated “Gentile” is the Greek word “ethnos”, meaning “nations”.  It is from this word we get the word “ethnic”.

Generally, when the term Gentile is used in the Bible in was used in one of two ways:
1.  When used to describe a physical condition of a nation, it describes a non-Jewish nation, or a foreign nation.
2.  When used to describe a spiritual condition, it describes those who are alienated from the Lord.  Before Christ, most non-Jewish nations did not possess the truths of God’s Word, nor did they experience His saving grace. Because of this, the term “Gentile” in the Bible was related to those who were alienated from the Lord, many times indulging in false worship and spiritually separated from Him.

Please keep in mind, this condition of Gentile alienation during the times of the Old Testament is being spoken of by Paul, in generalities.  There were exceptions to this principle of Gentile alienation.  Some of the OT Gentiles who were saved and enjoyed communion with God include:
1.  Everyone saved before the establishment of the nation of Israel (Gen 1:-11:)
2.  Inhabitants of Nineveh under the ministry of Jonah (Jonah 3:)
3.  Rahab the harlot (Hebs 11:31)
4.  King Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4:)
5.  Naaman the Syrian (2 Kings 5:)
6.  Ruth the Moabitess (Ruth)
And perhaps others.

A very basic outline of this section of Scripture:
I.        The past alienation of Gentiles from the Lord – 11-12
II.        Gentiles brought into communion with God based upon Christ – 13
III.        The work of Christ on  behalf of Gentiles – 14-17
IV.        Communion with God by the Spirit – 18

 

EXPOSITION:

In this morning’s devotional, Paul begins to explain the standing of Gentiles during the times of the Old Testament…   

(Ephesians 2:11)  Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;

Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, 
Paul called upon the church at Ephesus to recall their physical lineage (Gentiles) and their spiritual condition before God.   In the times prior to Christ’s coming, Gentiles were generally excluded from the worship and communion with God.  If things had continued on, as in times past, these believing Ephesians would not have come to faith in Christ, nor would they have enjoyed the blessing of local church membership.  It was only through the gracious intervention of the Lord that they had been included into a state of fellowship with, and worship of, Him.

Paul now describes to them the spiritual condition of the Gentiles

 

who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;
In past times, physical circumcision was an outward indication of those who were a part of the Israelite nation (as a nation, they were partners in the covenant of Jehovah, possessed the truth of God and experienced His true worship).

Circumcision made the Jews “stand out” from all the Gentile nations around them.  Or if we looked at in the opposite light, the lack of Gentile circumcision made the Gentile “stand out” as those alienated from the true Lord and a relationship with Him.

Paul is reminding the Gentile Ephesian assembly that, in the past, physical Jews looked upon Gentiles as unclean, separated from the Lord and without hope of inclusion.  They pointed to the lack of circumcision on the part of the Gentiles as proof that they were aliens from the nation of the Lord and they purposefully excluded them from the worship of Jehovah based upon His instructions.

So once again, Paul is reminding the Ephesians of God’s great grace shown to them in allowing them (who were once, purposefully, excluded from His worship) to now be equally accepted with believing Jews.

In our next devotional, Paul will continue to remind us of God’s grace being shown to those who are spiritually alienated from Him.

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.  For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.  And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:  In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:  Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with [him] through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.  And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;  Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;  [And] having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.”   (Colossians 2:8-15 XE “Colossians 02\:08-15)

 

APPLICATION:

God’s great grace is shown in His acceptance of those who were once alienated from Him (Gentiles) to now being accepted into His beloved through faith.  Whether we are of the Jewish or Gentile lineage, we all can thank Him for accepting us who were once spiritually separated, into an eternal relationship with Him.

May we all get a clearer picture of our Lord and Savior, and the great grace He has shown to us. Let us be always watchful to keep His great acts of grace on our behalf in the center of our attention… In doing so, may we be motivated to LOVE Him more, APPRECIATE Him more and SERVE Him more!  

SIH Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org
SIH Text Blog: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/
SIH Video Blog: http://youtube.com/settledinheaven/
SIH Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com

SIH’s Think On These Things: Ephesians 2:10

SIH TOTT ICON“Reflections Of His Grace”

“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”

The Gracious Salvation Of Christ: Ephesians 2:1-10

And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;  Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:  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, even as others.
But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,  Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 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.  For 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.

Paul begins to remind the church at Ephesus (and each one of us) the greatest grace that we can receive from our Lord… the wonderful grace of salvation from our sins.   The more we come to understand His gracious salvation, the more we should appreciate Him and the more we should be motivated to serve Him out of a heart of love and appreciation.

A very basic outline of this section of Scripture:
I.        The proof of our spiritual death – 1-3
II.        The gracious God of mercy and love – 4
III.        The gracious blessing of spiritual life and its results – 5-7
IV.        The gracious giving of faith – 8-9
V.        The gracious privilege being chosen to service for Him  – 10

 

EXPOSITION:

In this morning’s devotional, as a summary of his prior teachings, Paul emphasizes that our salvation is a gracious gift of God…  

 

(Ephesians 2:10)  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Although our good works did not save us, nor do they keep us saved, Paul now explains why good works are very important for our lives…

 

For we are his workmanship,
The word translated “workmanship” is the Greek word “poiema”, it is from this word that we get the English word “poem”.   In other words, our lives are a poem that He has written to reveal Himself to the world.  All of His gracious workings in our lives reveal His person, attributes and workings to those who are touched by our lives.  This same principle is also found in 2 Corinthians 3:1-3.  In this scripture we find the Christian described as the letter (epistle) God has written “known and read of all men”…

Do we begin again to commend ourselves? or need we, as some [others], epistles of commendation to you, or [letters] of commendation from you?  Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men:  [Forasmuch as ye are] manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.”   (2 Corinthians 3:1-3)

 

created in Christ Jesus unto good works,
The poem of our lives are brought into existence and shaped in Christ Jesus for the purpose of performing good works that bring honor and glory to our Creator and Lord.

Please note that our “creation” described here involves both:
1.  our physical life (received at our conception in our mother’s womb)
2.  our spiritual life (received at our salvation experience)

We received both our physical and spiritual life for the purpose of doing good works to bring honor and glory to Christ.

And have put on the new [man], which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:  Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond [nor] free: but Christ [is] all, and in all.”   (Colossians 3:10-11)

 

which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Before the world began, God “ordained” us, in other words, we were “prepared in advance” to a ministry of service (good works) for Him.  Before we were given physical and spiritual life, God had already planned for us to perform good works in His honor.

What a wonderful thought!  All of His workings in our lives had a purpose behind them…. He made us, and then prepared us, for His service!  This is a clear declaration of the fact that the bearing of spiritual fruit (which is seen as good works in the eyes of others) is a very, very important purpose for the lives of God’s people.

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”  (Romans 8:29)

 

APPLICATION:

Although the performance of good works will not cause us to receive, nor retain our salvation, it is still of utmost importance for the Christian.   We were created and saved to perform these good works and it is through these good works that we can honor and glorify the One who has graced us in such wonderful ways.

May we all get a clearer picture of our Lord and Savior, and the great grace He has shown to us. Let us be always watchful to keep His great acts of grace on our behalf in the center of our attention… In doing so, may we be motivated to LOVE Him more, APPRECIATE Him more and SERVE Him more!  

SIH Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org
SIH Text Blog: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/
SIH Video Blog: http://youtube.com/settledinheaven/
SIH Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com

SIH’s Think On These Things: Ephesians 2:9

SIH TOTT ICON“Reflections Of His Grace”

“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”

The Gracious Salvation Of Christ: Ephesians 2:1-10

And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;  Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:  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, even as others.
But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,  Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 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.  For 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.

Paul begins to remind the church at Ephesus (and each one of us) the greatest grace that we can receive from our Lord… the wonderful grace of salvation from our sins.   The more we come to understand His gracious salvation, the more we should appreciate Him and the more we should be motivated to serve Him out of a heart of love and appreciation.

A very basic outline of this section of Scripture:
I.        The proof of our spiritual death – 1-3
II.        The gracious God of mercy and love – 4
III.        The gracious blessing of spiritual life and its results – 5-7
IV.        The gracious giving of faith – 8-9
V.        The gracious privilege being chosen to service for Him  – 10

 

EXPOSITION:

In this morning’s devotional, as a summary of his prior teachings, Paul emphasizes that our salvation is a gracious gift of God…

(Eph 2:9)  Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Following Paul’s clear statement that.. ”For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:”… following this, he then states that the saving faith that we exercise is …

Not of works, lest any man should boast.
This is a very important point indeed.  Paul is telling us that if we simply “make a decision to trust Christ” for our salvation, apart from His intervention and granting of faith to us, it is something we can boast about.  Why is this?  It is because the exercise of that saving faith would be based upon US…  The decision we made would be due to:
1. our ability to understand the Scriptures on our own
2. our wisdom to apply the Scriptures to our lives
3. our decision, which was made solely of our own ability
4. our faith which we possessed of ourselves and which we simply decided to place in Christ.

Truly, our salvation would be a display of our many attributes and abilities… we would be recognized as “smarter” than others who heard the Word but rejected it!  This would be because we acted upon the gospel rather than rejecting it like many others do.

But what is the truth about the receipt of the gospel by lost mankind?
1. We were blinded to the truth and must have our eyes opened by the Lord. (2 Corinthians 4:3-6)
2. We could not seek the Lord, nor did we want to.  The Lord had to draw us to himself (John 6:44-45,65)
3. We could not turn from our sins, but the Lord must intervene and turn us. (2 Timothy 2:25)
4. We could not trust in Him of ourselves but must have saving faith granted to us through Christ. (Phils 1:29)

We can in no way brag about what took place in our lives at our salvation.  All we can do is cry “thank you my Lord”, for it was only by His divine intervention that we can to a saving faith in Him.

 

APPLICATION:

This basic principle can be applied in another way as well…
If we being to think that we are saved by grace, but kept saved through our good works…. The truth is, if that is so, we have much to brag about.  We can pat ourselves on the back and say that we are better than others due to our good works and the retaining our salvation (compared to those who are saved and then lose that salvation).

But what is the truth?  We are kept by the power of the Lord, in His hand protected and secure in Him.  Once again we are not to look to ourselves, but we are to praise and honor Him realizing His death on the cross accomplished the work necessary to keep us secure in Him apart from our good works.  (2 Timothy 1:8-10, John 10:27-30)

Our good works can add nothing to the reception or retention of our salvation.  His grace is sufficient to meet our every eternal need!…

Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency [is] of God;  Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.”  (2 Corinthians 3:5-6)

May we all get a clearer picture of our Lord and Savior, and the great grace He has shown to us. Let us be always watchful to keep His great acts of grace on our behalf in the center of our attention… In doing so, may we be motivated to LOVE Him more, APPRECIATE Him more and SERVE Him more!  

 

SIH Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org
SIH Text Blog: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/
SIH Video Blog: http://youtube.com/settledinheaven/
SIH Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com

SIH’s Think On These Things: Ephesians 2:8

SIH TOTT ICON“Reflections Of His Grace”

“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”

The Gracious Salvation Of Christ: Ephesians 2:1-10

And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;  Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:  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, even as others.
But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,  Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 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.  For 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.
Paul begins to remind the church at Ephesus (and each one of us) the greatest grace that we can receive from our Lord… the wonderful grace of salvation from our sins.   The more we come to understand His gracious salvation, the more we should appreciate Him and the more we should be motivated to serve Him out of a heart of love and appreciation.

A very basic outline of this section of Scripture:
I.        The proof of our spiritual death – 1-3
II.        The gracious God of mercy and love – 4
III.        The gracious blessing of spiritual life and its results – 5-7
IV.        The gracious giving of faith – 8-9
V.        The gracious privilege being chosen to service for Him  – 10

 

EXPOSITION:

In this morning’s devotional, as a summary of his prior teachings, Paul emphasizes that our salvation is a gracious gift of God…

(Eph 2:8)  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
 
As a way of helping us to recognize the great grace that God has shown towards His people, Paul now presents three truths related to our initial salvation experience…

For by grace are ye saved 
It is only through the gracious workings of the Lord that we are the recipients of His salvation.  This salvation, based upon the prior verses, is a deliverance from the penalty, power and in the future the presence of sin.
Here, we find highlighted the principle of our needy condition before the Lord.  We cannot do enough good works to deserve this divine deliverance, nor can we merit this salvation based upon our riches, authority, social status, or personhood.  We are absolutely destitute of any possible way to rescue ourselves from the sin that is in our lives.
Understanding this principle leads us to understand that our salvation is not gained through our labors but through the work  of Christ…

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;  Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:  Whom God hath set forth [to be] a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;  To declare, [I say], at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.  Where [is] boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.”   (Romans 3:22-27)

 

 

To stress this principle further, Paul centers our attention on the saving faith exercised at our salvation experience…

through faith; and that not of yourselves: 
This gracious salvation is granted to man as he exercises faith in the Lord…
He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.   And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.  He that hath the Son hath life; [and] he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.  These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”   (1 John 5:10-13)

But Paul takes this truth a step further and explains that the faith we exercise when we are saved is not a faith that comes from within ourselves.  In other words, it is not something we can “work up” of our own efforts…
“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name:  Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.  (John 1:12-13)

 

 

If our saving faith does not come from within us, nor from our efforts, where does it come from?

it is the gift of God:
What great grace!   Even our acceptance of the truth and the saving faith that we exercise is given to us by God …
Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.  Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.  Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?  Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”  (John 6:26-29)

It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, [they] are spirit, and [they] are life.  But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.  And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.”  (John 6:63-65)

And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard [us]: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.”  (Acts 16:14)

And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.  For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;  Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear [to be] in me.”  (Philippians 1:28-30)

And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.”   (1 Timothy 1:14)

The Bible makes it very plain that our saving faith originated with the Lord and given to us as another gift of grace to those who are undeserving and unable to obtain it of their own merit.

 

APPLICATION:

Our salvation is a wondrous act of the grace, kindness and love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  May we all come to a clearer understanding of our inability to obtain salvation for ourselves.  But especially, may we all come to recognize that even the faith we exercise in the Lord is an undeserved gift that was absolutely necessary to receive deliverance from our sins…

Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”  (Galatians 2:16)

May we all get a clearer picture of our Lord and Savior, and the great grace He has shown to us. Let us be always watchful to keep His great acts of grace on our behalf in the center of our attention… In doing so, may we be motivated to LOVE Him more, APPRECIATE Him more and SERVE Him more!  

SIH Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org
SIH Text Blog: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/
SIH Video Blog: http://youtube.com/settledinheaven/
SIH Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com

SIH’s Think On These Things: Ephesians 2:6-7

SIH TOTT ICON“Reflections Of His Grace”

“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”

The Gracious Salvation Of Christ: Ephesians 2:1-10

 
And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;  Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:  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, even as others.
But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,  Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 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.  For 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.

 

Paul begins to remind the church at Ephesus (and each one of us) the greatest grace that we can receive from our Lord… the wonderful grace of salvation from our sins.   The more we come to understand His gracious salvation, the more we should appreciate Him and the more we should be motivated to serve Him out of a heart of love and appreciation.

A very basic outline of this section of Scripture:
I.        The proof of our spiritual death – 1-3
II.        The gracious God of mercy and love – 4
III.        The gracious blessing of spiritual life and its results – 5-7
IV.        The gracious giving of faith – 8-9
V.        The gracious privilege being chosen to service for Him  – 10

 

EXPOSITION:

In this morning’s devotional, Paul continues to explain the blessings bestowed upon His people us by His grace …

(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.

Not only does God bestow upon us spiritual life together with Christ (vs 5), but He also….
 
And hath raised us up together,
He also “raised us up together” holds the meaning of “awakens us together” or “rouses us up together”.  This is a plain reference to the future resurrection and glorification of our bodies.

Please keep in mind, at death, the condition of the body of the saved individual is described as sleep (1 Corinthians 15:51-57, 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17, Ecclesiastes 9:5,10).  When a saint passes away their fleshly body is placed in the grave it is no longer active but, simply, lies awaiting its future resurrection and glorification, much like a person who lies down to sleep, is at rest, and then arises the next morning.  This is why when our text makes the statement that, our Lord “raised us up together”  it is a clear reference to this future resurrection of our body.

If this is the case, why is this phrase in the past tense, as if it is already been performed?  In the counsels of God, this future resurrection is an absolute certainty.  In God’s counsels it has already been performed (please note the past tense used throughout this verse)…

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.  Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”   (Romans 8:29-30)
In the mind of God, the resurrection/glorification of our body is already complete.

 

and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
Another wonderful grace that is bestowed upon the people of God is a promise of future honor and an exalted position sharing in the inheritance given to Christ. (John 17:21-26, Revelation 3:20-21)…

And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with [him], that we shall be also glorified together.  For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”  (Romans 8:17-18)

 

That in the ages to come
Vs 1-5  Why does the Lord give spiritual life to those who are spiritually dead and undeserving?
Vs 6   Why does He give to His people the guarantee of a future resurrection/glorification of their fleshly body?
Vs 6   Why does He give to the saved a promise of the inheritance given to Christ and a future position of honor?

 

he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace
That He would place on public display the extreme value of His grace that He grants to the people of God.

 

in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
All of these are undeserved blessings of great value are given to us and motivated by His great kindness.  This kindness is reflected in His love, mercy, and forgiveness that He shows to His people.

All these gracious kindnesses flow from the work of Christ on the cross….

 

But not as the offence, so also [is] the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, [which is] by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.   And not as [it was] by one that sinned, [so is] the gift: for the judgment [was] by one to condemnation, but the free gift [is] of many offences unto justification.”  (Romans 5:15-16)

 

APPLICATION:

Let us all praise and honor our Lord who has done the work necessary for us to receive that which we do not deserve….eternal spiritual life, a resurrected glorified body and a share of the inheritance of Christ.  All of these flow from the heart of a loving God who has shown us to us grace to the undeserving.

May we all get a clearer picture of our Lord and Savior, and the great grace He has shown to us. Let us be always watchful to keep His great acts of grace on our behalf in the center of our attention… In doing so, may we be motivated to LOVE Him more, APPRECIATE Him more and SERVE Him more!  

SIH Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org
SIH Text Blog: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/
SIH Video Blog: http://youtube.com/settledinheaven/
SIH Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com

SIH’s Think On These Things: Ephesians 2:4-5

SIH TOTT ICON“Reflections Of His Grace”

“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”

The Gracious Salvation Of Christ: Ephesians 2:1-10

And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;  Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:  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, even as others.
But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,  Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 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.  For 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.

Paul begins to remind the church at Ephesus (and each one of us) the greatest grace that we can receive from our Lord… the wonderful grace of salvation from our sins.   The more we come to understand His gracious salvation, the more we should appreciate Him and the more we should be motivated to serve Him out of a heart of love and appreciation.

A very basic outline of this section of Scripture:
I.        The proof of our spiritual death – 1-3
II.        The gracious God of mercy and love – 4
III.        The gracious blessing of spiritual life and its results – 5-7
IV.        The gracious giving of faith – 8-9
V.        The gracious privilege being chosen to service for Him  – 10

EXPOSITION:

In this morning’s devotional, Paul continues to explain the lifestyle of those who are spiritually dead…

(Ephesians 2:4-5)  But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,  Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)  
After looking at the condition of God’s people prior to their salvation, their condition looked grim indeed.  If you remember the previous verse ended with the statement… “and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”  If our text ended there what a horrible condition we would be in, but by God’s grace our text continues…
 

But God,
What a glorious thought….. even though we all were under the condemnation of eternal judgment, God stepped in!

 
who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,  
By intervening on our behalf, when we deserved only His judgment for our sins, He was showing Himself to be….
1.  overflowing with compassion and tender graces
2.  possessing a plentiful self-sacrificial love for us

What a wonderful Lord that we serve!  By intervening in our lives working salvation in our hearts, He put on display His great love and kindness on our behalf….

For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, [and] hating one another.  But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,  Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;  Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;  That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”    (Titus 3:3-7)

 

Even when we were dead in sins,
Our Lord displayed to us His eternal mercy and love towards us while we were still dead in our sins.  In other words, when we were separated from Him and could do nothing to bring salvation to ourselves, His love and mercy were shown to us as He ….

 
hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
gave us spiritual life by His grace alone!

What does it mean to be quickened “together with Christ”?

1.  The giving of spiritual life to the man who is dead in sins is a joint work of both the Father and the Son…
Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.  For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel.  For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth [them]; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will. 

For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:  That all [men] should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.  Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”  (John 5:19-24)

2.  The physical resurrection of Christ is the guarantee of our spiritual resurrection and the  the physical resurrection and glorification of our bodies that is to come. Without Christ’s resurrection we have no reason to believe that we have been spiritually resurrected or that we will share in Christ’s physical resurrection in the future…
Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?  But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:  And if Christ be not risen, then [is] our preaching vain, and your faith [is] also vain.  Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. 

For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:  And if Christ be not raised, your faith [is] vain; ye are yet in your sins.  Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.   If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.  But now is Christ risen from the dead, [and] become the firstfruits of them that slept.”  (1 Corinthians 15:12-20)

 

APPLICATION:
“But God”… if it were not for our wonderful Lord we would yet be in our sins.  But, now, because of the grace, mercy, love and kindness of our Lord we will share in the resurrection of Christ by being resurrected spiritually now and physically resurrected in the last day.

Let us all thank our Lord for His grace in giving us the promise of the two-fold resurrection!
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.  Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.  For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;  And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.  Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,  And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.”   (John 5:24-29)

May we all get a clearer picture of our Lord and Savior, and the great grace He has shown to us. Let us be always watchful to keep His great acts of grace on our behalf in the center of our attention… In doing so, may we be motivated to LOVE Him more, APPRECIATE Him more and SERVE Him more!  

SIH Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org
SIH Text Blog: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/
SIH Video Blog: http://youtube.com/settledinheaven/
SIH Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com