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Ephesians 4





SCRIPTURE: Ephesians 4

As is the case with a lot of the books/letters that Paul wrote, Ephesians has a section of theology and then a section of application.  The application begins in chapter four.  It is marked by the word “therefore” in verse 1.  It is as though Paul is saying to us, “Based upon what I just taught you, here is what you need to do.”  

Don’t be too legalistic about this.  As Paul writes application for us, he often throws in a little theology.  And it is not uncommon to find a little application in his theological sections.  Nevertheless, the focus on the rest of Ephesians really is how should we live in light of what we have been taught.

For example, we are to live in a way that is worthy of our salvation.  This simply means when we are saved, our lives should change.  Indeed, when we are saved, our lives will change.  In verses 2-3, Paul says our saved lives should be characterized by things like humility, gentleness, patience, love, and unity.

This unity thing is such an uncommon thing Paul stops his application and reminds us of some important theology.  Think about this.  We humans are prone to disunity not unity.  We are prone to finding things that separate us not connect us.  We want to choose up teams instead of all of us being on one team.  We want there to be winners and losers.  

Instead Paul points to the unity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  In fact, look at how many times the word “one” is repeated in verses 4-6.  

All of this means disunity is a very disruptive thing.  Our disunity always dishonors God.  The divisions that separate us give the enemy an easy target for his fiery darts.  Even the smallest of problems in the local church can ulcerate and become gaping wounds that hurt God and destroy our witness in the surrounding community/communities.

If you will skip down to verse 11 you will read where God gives different people different spiritual abilities/gifts.  The purpose of these gifts is those with them are supposed to equip or prepare others for the work of the ministry.  Verse 13 says that is supposed to happen until we all attain to the unity of the faith.  There’s that unity thing again.  

So what is the big deal about this unity thing?  In John 17:20 Jesus said our unity was proof of His identity to an unbelieving world.  That’s pretty powerful and it is most important.  Unity is in such limited supply among us humans that when we actually see it, it is always bigger than itself.  Unity in the church points to the reality of Jesus.

We are blessed to have a lot of unity on all three of our campuses.  But we must never take it for granted.  We must guard it.  We must promote it.  We must be willing to submit when necessary to maintain it.  We must stay in the Word of God which will produce it.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

Ephesians 3




SCRIPTURE: Ephesians 3

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 the Gentiles.  A Gentile is anyone who is not a Jewish person.  The mystery is that God is bringing Jew and Gentile, Jew and non-Jew, alike into His family.  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 a 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.

If you will look at verse 10, you will see something most surprising.  The mention of rulers and authorities in heavenly places is a reference to angelic beings, both holy angels as well as demons.  Paul says that God uses the church to show His manifold wisdom to both holy angels as well as demons.  

In other words, this means that when the church gathers to worship God, there is an unseen crowd of holy angels and demons that gathers to watch us.  The reason they do that is to better understand the manifold wisdom of God.

Remember that angels, neither holy ones nor evil ones, are omniscient.  They only know what they have seen and what they hear God say.  In other words, they are fully aware of the reality of the creation because they were there when God spoke the universe into existence.  But since the church was held as a divine secret throughout all the other generations (v. 5), they did not know about and did not understand what God was doing through the church.

So when we gather, they gather to watch.  I suspect they are trying to figure out grace.  I suspect they are trying to figure out being born again/saved.  I suspect they are trying to figure out how folks like us can call God Father.  I suspect they are trying to figure out what God is doing.

Verse 11 offers us this encouragement.  All of this – the Jews and Gentiles being one family and the church of the redeemed – are all part of God’s eternal purpose.  

Today, we can be grateful that God’s plan has always been God’s plan and will always be God’s plan.  He is not caught off guard or unaware and then has to come up with a new strategy.  Because He is omniscient, He has always known exactly what He was going to do and how we were going to be involved.

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.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

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