THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 17
SCRIPTURE: Ephesians 4 part one
AUTHOR: Jeremy Witt
I am going to break down chapter 4 into two parts because there is so much here. I know that some of you prefer for it all to be done in one sitting, but I just don’t know how to leave parts out in this one.
The “one” chapter is what I call Ephesians 4. Notice in verse one that Paul again reminds the readers where he is. Paul is under house arrest for sharing Jesus. He has appealed for his case to go to Caesar, and now he is waiting to be heard. Paul is calling for the Church to be one unified body. Paul isn’t blind to what is going on, but he is calling out to the followers of Jesus to live as He lived. Notice the details that Paul gives in verses 2-3. We called to be humble and gentle. We are called to be patient, loving, and diligent to protect the unity of the Church. This is not an easy task in our world as each one of you already knows.
Paul lays it out plain and simple. He doesn’t try to complicate it as executing these things is difficult enough. God knows us far better than we know ourselves. As you read in verses 4-7, we see how simple God made things for us yet somehow we (humanity) finds it so difficult. God’s purpose was to unify us all as one into one body that worshipped and praised Him. This was and is His purpose all along. That one body being His church was created to be in relationship with God. The one Spirit is the Holy Spirit who will make having this relationship with God possible. The one hope being the calling from God for salvation by faith through Jesus Christ that God desires for all men to be saved. (1 Timothy 2:4) This one hope being the very purpose of Christ’s coming to us from heaven and His ascension taking Him back to heaven.
In verse 5, we continue through the “ones” with Lord. Here is where we make things difficult. From the very beginning, that was to be the LORD, but we have sought to be Lord of our own lives. This is not you or me. This is Jesus. Our battle of the flesh and spirit demonstrates the difficulty of this, but ultimately, our best efforts prove that we are not Lord of anything. We cannot even control how long we breathe. We can’t control the weather yet we think that we need to be in control. Not only is there a struggle for Lordship, but there is a struggle of faith. God set it up for only one faith, a faith in Him but man sought to worship other things besides God. Those being self, idols, objects, etc. We struggle with even one baptism. There is a group of Christ-followers who think that we need to be baptized more than once. We have water baptism, but they claim there to be a Spirit baptism. Do you see how a man makes things much more complicated than God ever intended? Yet God clearly tells us here that there is one baptism.
Verse 6 just comes out and tells us plainly that there is only one God, and you are not Him. That one God is also the one Father of all people and He is overall and in all. Well, hold on right there. Does this mean that all are saved because it says that God is in all? No, it does not mean that. Well, what does it mean? It means that God made us all. Not only did He made us, but He made us in His image! Because we are born sinners, we are at odds with our Creator. Yet God sent Jesus to pay for our sin debt, and when we repent and believe in Jesus, we are changed. This letter to the Ephesians was written to Christ-followers. It means that “God is in all” it is referring to born-again, repentant believers. By stating that God made us all and in us all, this shows us that God is active and personal. Some philosophers of the day believed that God may have made everything, but He did not care about how we lived our lives. Paul addresses this mentality directly by stating how personal and active our Father is.
In verses7-13, Paul addresses gifts that He gives to His people as Paul did in another letter (1 Corinthians 12:12-27). Remember that Paul is addressing Christ-followers and not all men. These spiritual gifts and abilities are given to us when we choose to make Him Savior and LORD. We can spend a whole lot of time on spiritual gifts, but I am sure many of you are wondering about verse 8 and 9.
There is much discussion on this. Many believe that this is Jesus’ ascension (verse 8) after the Resurrection. Verse 9 has more debate. When He descended, does that mean when He was born and came down to earth as a man, or does it mean when Jesus died? Is it Hades? Hades is viewed as the resting place of souls between death and resurrection. Is it the grave? However, it is meant, this shows us that Jesus is LORD of all including the past, present, future. Nothing is hidden from Him. We know that Jesus died a physical death and was laid in the tomb for 3 days. We know that He resurrected and overcome death and the grave. He defeated Satan and the penalty of sin by being the pure and perfect Lamb, and that His blood being shed was the payment for sin for those who believe in Him. This is why in verse 10, we can say with certainty that He ascended higher than the heavens and fills the universe with Himself because He has done what none other could ever do.
We will pick up tomorrow in verse 13.