Ephesians

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“Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers” (Ephesians 4:11 NLT).

September 25, 2018

THOSE CHRIST GAVE TO EQUIP GOD’S PEOPLE
Viewed as offices, at least one or two of these five roles would not remain active today. For instance, the office of apostle would include the qualification of having seen the resurrected Lord Jesus. Certainly, no one today could make that claim. However, viewed as “gifts,” as the NLT here translates it, the five may be considered not only active, but critical in the equipping of God’s people in the church.

Although the word “gifts” is not in the original Greek, it might be considered implied by the original, “he gave.” Viewing the five as gifts or as giftings, the characteristics of these five might be described as follows:

– APOSTLE – A gifted and passionate pioneer, who extends the mission of the church into new and healthy ways, breaking ground in new cultures, always looking to plant new churches where gospel hasn’t been heard.

– PROPHET – A gifted and passionate guardian of God’s Word, concerned with applying it to God’s people, calling for holiness and loyalty.

-EVANGELIST – A gifted and passionate proclaimer of the gospel as the core message of the church, a powerful enlister who invites people far from God to draw near.

– PASTOR/SHEPHERD – A gifted and loving nurturer and passionate defender of the flock, concerned for people care and maintaining unity in the family of God.

-TEACHER – A gifted communicator who is able to lead God’s people into deeper understanding of His Word, able to take complex things and explain them in simple, yet accurate and memorable ways, passionate about study and helping other to grow in knowledge and practice.

Viewed as “giftings,” doesn’t every church need all five in order to rightly equip the saints?

Raise Up Your Child in the Lord

July 22, 2018 | Ephesians 6:1-4 | Christian parenting, parenting

Full Transcript Available

What is your parenting approach? Where did you learn how to be a mom or dad? Was it from your parents? From friends or a book? Or are you just winging it? What is your parenting style? It just so happens that the parenting style that sociologists found to be most effective is also similar to the one the Bible teaches. God’s Word teaches the importance of balancing discipline and affection in child-rearing. The apostle Paul told the Ephesians how to raise up their children according to God’s plan. As Christians, we can follow God’s Word in the training of our children and raise them up to maturity according to God’s intent.

“Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband” (Ephesians 5:33 NKJV).

September 27, 2017

This is the summary of Paul’s instruction to husbands and wives. Husbands are to “love” their wives. This is the sacrificial love (Greek: “agape”) of Christ, which He expressed by laying down His life for us. Husbands are to be servant-leaders. Wives are to “respect” their husbands. A surprising command in light of the husband’s command to “love.” Shouldn’t the wife also love her husband? Yet, “respect” is the way most men receive love. So, respecting her husband is the best way to show her love. When the husband loves his wife with sacrificial love and the wife loves her husband with respectful love, then their house becomes a lighthouse, showing forth the “mystery” of Christ’s love for the church.

“according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him” (Ephesians 3:11-12 NKJV).

September 24, 2017

Americans may point to the First Amendment as the protection of free speech in our country. But it was revealed to the apostle Paul that it is actually those who are in Christ Jesus who have been given freedom of speech with God the Father. For those who are in Christ Jesus have been given both “boldness and access” to God. “Access” means that the curtain of separation between sinful man and holy God has been removed. Christ has opened up the “way” to God. We may enter into the very presence of God in Christ. Not only have we been granted an unlimited audience with God, we have been given freedom to speak all that we have on our hearts to Him. Yet, as Albert Barnes’s has noted, this “boldness is not rashness” and this confident access “is not presumption.” But we are able to approach God the Father with the freedom of being His children without fear of rejection.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:8-10 NKJV).

September 23, 2017

What is “grace?” Someone has said it is about “mercy, not merit.” This is true, yet grace is more than mercy. For mercy only withholds punishment. But grace forgives and adopts. Grace not only withholds what we do deserve, it gives us what we don’t deserve. For grace changes our status from rebel to righteous, from criminal against God, to child of God. Grace is the basis for our salvation (“by grace you have been saved”).

What is “faith?” It is trusting in the grace of God. Faith is the hand that takes hold of God’s gift, which is Christ Jesus, who died for our sins, was buried and raised on the third day. Yet, even this “hand” is a gift, for didn’t the God of grace also give us the “hand” of faith? So, do not make too much of your faith. It’s nothing to “boast” about. Even a child has the faith to open a gift. Therefore, if you boast, boast in the grace of God, which is Christ Jesus, our Lord!

So, if grace is the basis for our salvation and faith the means by which we receive it, then where do “good works” belong? If grace is the steam engine of salvation and faith is the coal car, then good works is the caboose. For good works follow salvation, but do not have the power to accomplish it. Good works are the evidence of salvation. They are the fruit on the branch that has been grafted into the Vine, which is Christ.

“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7 NKJV).

September 22, 2017

What is this “redemption?” When I was young my mother would collect “Green Stamps,” which were given as a bonus at most grocery stores. She would put them in a book and when she had collected enough, she would take her filled books to the Green Stamp store and “redeem” them for some desired item, usually something for the house, like silverware or a lamp. The doctrine of redemption has a similar meaning. The Greek word translated “redemption,” literally means to “buy back,” or to “buy out from.” Christ has bought us out from slavery to sin with His own blood. Redemption emphasizes that Christ has purchased us “out from” sin’s bondage and curse, which is death.

Yet, not only have we been redeemed “in Him, we have been forgiven “in Him.” This “forgiveness of sins” was accomplished by Christ’s sacrifice, which not only satisfied God’s justice, it reconciled us to God as our Father. This is the doctrine of propitiation.

So, “in Him” we have redemption, which buys us “out from” sin. And “in Him” we have forgiveness, which brings us “into” right relationship with God. All of this is accomplished “according to the riches of His grace.”

Matters of…Oneness

July 23, 2017 | Ephesians 4:15-24 | communication, family, unity

“Oneness” as it relates to the family refers to the state of being in complete unity with one another and with the Lord. Why don’t we see the oneness that God intended at creation and that Christ came to give with our salvation? Why are so many families and marriages fractured and broken? One of the main problems is poor communication.

In the apostle Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he taught them to seek oneness in Christ as the goal of their family communication. We can make oneness in Christ the goal of our family’s communication.

Matters of…the Family

July 16, 2017 | Ephesians 3:14-21 | Christian parenting, family

You matter to God and your family matters to God. After all, the family was God’s idea. Yet, today families have strayed from God’s design and intent. In the book of Ephesians, the apostle Paul prayed that believers would experience God’s blessing on the family. We can experience God’s blessing on our families.

“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11 ESV)

September 28, 2016

The apostle Paul warned the believers in Ephesus not to go out into the world unprotected from spiritual warfare. He told them to be prepared for trouble by putting on the “whole armor of God.” There are six components to this armor, five defensive and one offensive:
1) Belt of Truth
2) Breastplate of Righteousness 
3) Gospel of Peace shoes
4) Shield of Faith
5) Helmet of Salvation
6) Sword of the Spirit – which is the Word of God. Our only offensive weapon.
Have you armored up today?

“Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ” (Ephesians 4:15 ESV)

September 25, 2016

Both the goal and the means of our speech are described. The goal is maturity in Christ. The means is twofold: “truth” and “love.” The mission of the Church is to make disciples who are being conformed to the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29). The members of the Church are to speak the unvarnished, absolute truth to one another, so that they don’t fall prey to false doctrine and worldly deception. Yet, this truth should not be delivered in a harsh, judgmental way, but in a graceful and loving way. Our speech should have the goal of “building up” the hearer (Eph. 4:29). Some consider themselves truth-tellers and others are people-pleasers, but the Word calls for us to avoid both extremes. Instead, speak the truth in love.