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Ephesians chapter 4 part one

DAILY DEVOTION
FOR
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.

Posted by Jeremy Witt with

Ephesians chapter 3

DAILY DEVOTION
FOR
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 16

 
SCRIPTURE: Ephesians 3
AUTHOR:  Jeremy Witt
 
Thank you for the prayers for myself, my family, and the Cooke family.  I am reminded that this world is not our home and that this is temporary.  Some days make me wish for the eternal days ahead even more.


As we begin chapter 3, Paul reminds us in verse 1 that he is a prisoner, but he changes things up by stating that he is a “prisoner of Christ Jesus.”  Yes, Paul is under house arrest in Rome for proclaiming Jesus as the Messiah.  He broke Roman law by declaring one God.  Paul knew the consequences but his allegiance was to Christ alone.  There may be times in the coming days where we must decide if we will obey the laws of man or obey the laws of God.

Many times throughout Scripture, it refers to being a prisoner or slave but has a different meaning in that it is done willingly or by choice.  In the Old Testament, a slave whose time of service was up could decide to remain with their owner by putting an earring in their ear.  This was done willingly and bound them to the owner for the remainder of their life.  The key is that it is done by choice and not forced upon the person.  Paul identifies with this mentality by stating that he is a prisoner by choice to Christ Jesus.  He is not only Savior but his Lord and Master. 

In verses 2-9, Paul addresses his call to the Gentiles, that is anyone who is not a Jew which essentially means everyone else.  That was a God-given call and Paul viewed it as a special calling or “stewardship of God’s grace which was given to me for you” (NASB). 


“As you read this chapter, you will find several references to something called a “mystery”. In the Bible, a mystery is not something that can’t be known.  It is something that is not known yet.  It is, in many ways, like a sacred secret.  But this particular mystery has been made known to us through the Holy Spirit inspiring Paul to write these words.

In verse 6, we discover that this mystery is about Gentiles.  Galatians 3:28 says that from God’s perspective there is neither Jew nor Gentile.  That doesn’t mean that He doesn’t know who has Jewish ancestry and who doesn’t.  It means that our ancestry doesn’t matter to Him.  In God, through Jesus, we have a new identity in Christ.  We are children of the one, true God.


The notion of Gentiles being included in the family of God is not actually new.  In the Old Testament, we read about how those of non-Jewish ancestry could be included in Jewish life.  What is new now, however, is that God is putting Jews and Gentiles into one body (V. 6) that we know as the church.” – written by Joe Ligon


This mystery is not only for us, but it carries over into the spiritual dimension as we see in verse 10.  Those rulers and authorities in the heavenly places are referring to angels and demons alike.  Things like grace, forgiveness, salvation, free will, transformation, and sanctification are unique to mankind.  When we gather to praise the LORD, we are watched by not only other people but also by angels and demons.  Remember in James that it read that the demons believe in God and even shudder.  However, they are not able to be forgiven or to be saved.  The idea of grace is a mystery.  How God could save people who do all sorts of wrong against God is foreign to these heavenly authorities.  They watch in amazement.  Notice how God makes known this mystery.  It is through the Church based solely on what the Lord Jesus did as stated in verse 11. 

It is by our faith in Jesus that we can have boldness and courage.  It is by Jesus that we can come to Him in prayer and praise (verses 12-14).  Even when suffering and persecution comes (verse 13), we are given far more from our Savior (verse 16 and following).  Notice verse 17 tells us that Christ dwells in our hearts through faith and keeps us strong.  Verse 18 tells us that through Jesus we can understand others and how big His love is for us.  If you look at me, you can sit amazed and wonder how could God ever love that guy?  If God can love him, He can surely love me.

How amazing is God?  We can have Christ in our hearts, we can have boldness and courage, we can be a part of His Church, we can be made complete, and we can do far more through Him and by Him in our lives than we ever could all by ourselves.  This can cause us to praise Him even more.

So, the next time you settle into your seat at church, stop for a moment.  Remember.  There literally are angels watching over you trying to figure all of this out.  That is a mystery!  Yet we can be a part of it.

Posted by Jeremy Witt with

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