Sunday, August 28, 2022


 In summary, Paul listed several things that are part of being filled with the Spirit:

1. singing to the Lord;

2. giving thanks always; and

3. submitting to each other out of reverence for Christ. 



These verses are a specific application of the call to submit to one another. However, although Paul’s call is for mutual submissiveness in the church, he does not call for it in the family. 

There are no spiritual or moral distinctions among believers. We are all one in Christ. (Galatians 3:28) But God has created distinctions in matters of our roles and functions. 

First, Paul calls for wives to submit to their husbands, as to the Lord. (22) As the wife would submit to the Lord, she is to submit to her husband out of reverence for the Lord. 

The reason for this is that the husband is the “head” of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, which is his body. (23) Headship means authority and leadership. God has appointed the husband to be the head of the wife. The wife’s submission to the headship of her husband is part of her obedience to Christ. 

In verse 33, Paul changed the instruction somewhat, saying the wife should see that she respects her husband. It is really uncomfortable to be in a group where a wife disrespects her husband in front of other people. In the home, disrespect not only destroys the husband-wife relationship, it also hampers the ability of the husband to discipline children and demand their respect. It is also a fact that husbands want their wives to be proud of them. Disrespect hurts them.

This goes both ways. The husband’s love for his wife, discussed in the next section, would include respect as part of his duty to love his wife. Demeaning comments are not loving. 

The command for the wife to submit to the husband does not mean the husband can beat the wife into submission, figuratively or literally. The command is to the wife. 



Paul’s instruction to husbands is much longer than his instruction to wives. Husbands are to love their wives. This is not talking about having warm feelings, but actions that manifest love. He is to love her in the same way that Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. That means a sacrificial love that has the wife’s well being in mind. 

The husband is not to be a dictator or tyrant. This is not about making the wife get a refill for the husband’s glass, or bringing him his pipe and slippers. This is about his doing what is necessary and appropriate for the wife’s spiritual growth and well being. 

Christ sought to sanctify the church to present it to himself as holy and without blemish. (27) The husband should lead the wife in spiritual matters with her sanctification in mind. For example, the husband should lead in taking the wife and family to church. The wife should not have to nag him or drag him to church. The husband should lead in making Christ and his church the priority of the family to teach the children what is important. 

The husband should also work to make the home a safe place and an enjoyable place for the wife. She should not be afraid or stressed out at the prospect of his coming home. 

Paul describes this love a second way, that husbands should love wives as  they love their own bodies. Jesus had already said that the second greatest commandment was to love others as we love ourselves. (Leviticus 19:18; Matthew 22:35-40; Mark 12:31) So, it should be no surprise that husbands are to love their wives as they love their own bodies. 

It is just a specific application of a general commandment. All of the things the Bible says should govern our relationships with others should be applied to our relationship with our spouse. 

Paul also make the comparison to Christ and the church, again, saying Christ loves and nourishes the church because we are members of his body, the church. (30) So, the husband should love and nourish his wife. Nourish means to provide whatever is necessary for growth, health, and good condition.

Paul then quotes Genesis 2:24, the conclusion to the story of the first marriage. (31) After Moses wrote that God made the woman from the rib of the man, and presented her to Adam as his helper, Moses concluded the story by explaining marriage. He said a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife and they shall become one flesh. So, when the husband loves his wife as his own body, or flesh, he actually is loving his own flesh in accordance with Paul’s instruction in verse 29. 

Verse 32 speaks of a mystery. The mystery is the teaching of Genesis 2:24 and verse 31 of this chapter, concerning the man and woman becoming one flesh. Paul sees this as profound. It takes great wisdom and discernment to figure it out. Paul thinks he has done so. He says this is about and refers to Christ and the church. So, way before Christ came, lived and died, right after the creation, this event between a man and a woman was meant to refer to the relationship of Christ to the church. It was also to be a testimony to it and a prophecy of it. 

Every Christian marriage is to be a witness to the relationship of Christ to the church. He lived and died for it so that he could sanctify it and present it to himself as holy on the last day. This very picture appears at the end of the book of Revelation, when John saw the new heaven and the new earth, and saw the New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (Revelation 21:1-2)

We, as believers, should live in our marriages with more than our own self satisfaction as the goal. Certainly, we should seek the best for our spouse. But we should also consider that the quality of our marriage reflects on Christ and the church. 

Thursday, August 25, 2022

The Trinity in the Birth of Jesus

The Father sent the Son.“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed…(Luke 4:18)

The Holy Spirit put the child in the womb of Mary. (Matthew; 1:18-20; Luke 1:35)

The Son was born of the Virgin Mary. (Matthew 1:45; Luke 2:7,13; John 1:14)

The Trinity In The Baptism of Jesus

Mark 1:9-11 (ESV) In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son;with you I am well pleased.”

All three members of the Trinity are involved in this event. The Son is baptized. The Spirit descended on him. The Father spoke to him with approval and love.

Sunday, August 21, 2022


 Redeeming The Time


Having listed behaviors that Believers must avoid, Paul continues his instruction by telling Believers to look carefully how we walk, not as unwise, but as wise. In context, he is saying to pay attention to how we are living and what we are doing. We live “intentionally” as believers. 

If we are to walk as children of the light, as imitators of God, as those taught by Christ, and worthy of our calling, (all things Paul has told us to do in this book), we must pay attention to what we do and be wise about it. “Wise” in this context would be discerning the will of God in all situations and doing it. 

Part of that wisdom is not placing ourselves in situations where we are tempted to sin. Another part is to be mindful of our attitudes, so that they are holy and reflect Christ and the change he has brought about in us.

How do we do this? We focus on God. We make our relationship to him a priority. Proverbs 1:7 says “the fear of he LORD is the beginning of knowledge”; fools despise wisdom and instruction”. 

We focus on God through diligent study of his word. Psalm 1:2 says the blessed man delights in God’s word and meditates on it day and night. 

We also focus on God by constant prayer. Paul instructed us to “pray without ceasing”. (1 Thessalonians 5:17) 

When you make the Lord the focus of your life, you will take care to live in a way that is pleasing to him. You will grow in faith and in Godly character. You will be wise in your actions. You will be a witness to the people around you. 

Many people, including Believers, live on auto pilot. The go with the flow no matter who they are with or where they are. They do not examine their attitudes and behaviors in the light of Scripture. They assume they are doing well because they act and think like those around them. Scripture calls us to do more than that, actively seeking to live wisely. 

We are to make the most of the time allotted to us. We do not know when our earthly lives will end. We do not know when someone we need to witness to will become unavailable. We also do not know how long we will be free to worship and witness freely. Just as the Roman Empire periodically persecuted Christians, our culture may turn on us at any minute. There is some evidence that is already happening in America. It is certainly happening in many countries.

Paul sensed this in his time. He had a sense of urgency. He said the days are evil (16) The devil still works and will continue until Christ returns. Evil men and women attempt to suppress Christianity because they see it as a threat to the State. As the culture becomes more secular and openly sinful, more pressure will be put on us to conform. 

Instead of conforming, we are to reflect on God’s word so we can know an do his will. (17) We are not to be controlled by alcoholic spirits, but by the Holy Spirit. He has been given to us so that we have the power to live for Christ. We do not surrender that power for drunkenness, which impairs judgment and is, therefore, not wise. 

Drunkenness can lead us to lose control of ourselves. But the Holy Spirit brings power, love, and self control. (1 Timothy 1:7) Sometimes people claim they are filled with the Holy Spirit and seek to prove it by acting strangely, laughing uncontrollably, barking, rolling in the floor or doing the chicken dance. That is not the picture of the Spirit filled life in the Bible, as shown very clearly here in Ephesians. The Spirit filled person lives a life of intentional holiness and love that reflects the character of the Lord they serve. 

People who are drunk are often loud and boisterous. They yell and scream. They may even sing drinking songs. In contrast, Christis are to seek and sing words that build up the lives of their fellow believers and which bring glory to God. 

Paul says to address each other with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing to the Lord (19) When we gather together, we sing songs from Scripture that let us worship together (singing and making melody together) and encourage each other. This happened in the early church and it happens today.

Two more things are mentioned in this passage as being part of wise living. First, we give thanks for everything to God. (20) We recognize that the blessings we have are from God. Every good and perfect gift comes from God. (James 1:7) And we thank him for it regularly, both individually and corporately. 

We cannot be thankful if we feel that we earned all of our blessings or that we deserve them. Instead, we realize they come to us as a matter of God’s grace. 

Thankfulness leads to contentment. Thankfulness destroys covetousness. Thankfulness leads us to enjoy God. The Westminster Shorter Catechism’s first question is “what is the chief end of man?”. The answer is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever. Thankfulness allows us to do  both. 

The call to thankfulness is all through the Scripture. The Psalms repeatedly call for God’s people to thank him. For example, Psalms 107:8 says “Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of men”. In contrast, Paul presents the lack of thankfulness as evidence of the darkened and ungodly mind: “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened”. (Romans 1:21)

Thankful people also tend to sing to the Lord. Our hymnal has several songs of thankfulness. One is “Count Your Blessings”. The refrain says:

Count your blessings, name them one by one;

Count your blessings, see what God hath done;

Count your blessings, name them one by one;

Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.

The second thing is for us to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. (21) Self assertiveness is touted as a virtue in our culture, but the Bible tells us we should not insist on getting our way. 

We are to be humble and count others as being more significant than ourselves. We are to look out for the interest of others. Christ is our example! He gave up the glories of heaven to take on the form of a servant for our benefit. (Philippians 2:3-8) So, we do it our of reverence for him. What a wonderful thing church would be if we all did this!

Monday, August 15, 2022

Things To Do: From Psalm 105

 Here is a list of things this Psalm tells us to do:

1. give thanks (1);
2. call upon his name;
3. make his deeds known;
4. sing praises to him (2);
5. tell of his wondrous works;
6. glory in his holy name (3);
7. rejoice;
8. seek the Lord and his strength (4);
9. see his presence continually;
10. remember his wondrous works (5).

Get started today! 

Sunday, August 14, 2022



Imitate God


In this passage, Paul continues to tell the Ephesian Christians how they should live in Christ. The first principle is to imitate God. Given that the context of the discussion is what is good Christian behavior and bad behavior, the implication is to imitate God’s holiness. 

That command was given to Israel in the Old Testament. For example, God told Israel “For I am the LORD who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy”. (Leviticus 11:44) Peter applied this command to the church, writing “…as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, You shall be holy, for I am holy”. (1 Peter 1:15-16)

What does it mean that God is holy? He is totally sinless and separated from sin. Paul call us imitate God in avoiding a sinful lifestyle. God gave Israel the law so that they would be separate from the sinful lifestyles of the pagans. He called them out of Egypt and did not want them to live as the Egyptians did, nor like any of the pagan nations that would surround them in the Promised Land. 

Similarly, God called us out of the world and wants us to imitate him, not the world. We are to do this as children who adore their Father, not as unhappy slaves. I love a picture of a little boy with a toy lawn mower following his father as the father mows the law. He wants to be like his father. We, having believed, should be the same way.

Not only should we imitate the Father in holiness, we should imitate Christ, the son, by walking in love. Jesus expressed his love to us by sacrificing himself for us. (2) 

Paul demonstrated this principle of imitation in this own life. He urged believers to imitate him as he imitated Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1) Since most of the people Paul led to the Lord had no experience with holy living, it was imperative for him to not only teach the principles of holiness, but also to live them. 

We are at that point today also. The increased secularization of the world has resulted in many people not knowing what it is to be holy. If Christians do not model holiness, they cannot see it. When Christians fail to live according to God’s standards, it just convinces people that our faith has no value. 

Things To Avoid


Paul goes on to list specific behaviors and attitudes that must be avoided. They are: (1) sexual immorality & impurity; (2) covetousness; and (3) corrupt speech. 

Sexual immorality is any type of sexual sin. Sexual sin is to be avoided. Your culture’s standards are irrelevant. The Roman and Greek culture allowed for certain types of immorality. Worship in some pagan temples included sex with temple prostitutes. All of that was acceptable. But, God designed marriage as the sole vehicle for sex. Anything else is sexual sin. God wants our marriages to reflect his holiness. His will is captured in the 4th commandment: “you shall not commit adultery”. (Exodus 20:14)

Jesus took the commandment further. He said “You have heard it said, ‘you shall not commit adultery. But I say to  you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away.” (Matthew 5:27-29) He wants us to have a pure mind as well as pure outward actions. 

Covetousness is a strong desire to have something that belongs to someone else. That could be the desire to have someone else’s house or car or even their spouse. It shows a lack of contentment with what God has given you. This is prohibited in the 7th commandment, which says “you shall not covent your neighbor’s house, you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s”. 

Covetousness is also a form of idolatry. (5) That is because the person who covets worships a created thing rather than the Creator. 

Paul also addressed or speech, saying there should be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place in a Christian fellowship. (4) Much crude talk is degrading to other people. It also leads us to think about things we should not think about. 

Instead, Paul said there should be thanksgiving. Thanksgiving certainly counteracts covetousness. It also promotes healthy thoughts and actions.  When we are thankful, we reflect on the goodness and generosity of the Creator. 

Since one’s coming to Christ involves a change in character, becoming a new creation, actions and attitudes that belong to the old self may indicate the lack of regeneration, that one is not actually in Christ although he claimed to be. Paul says that people who practice these things have no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. (5) That is a scary thought, is it not? Paul said this to the church at Corinth also. He said “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? He goes on to list some of the acts of the unrighteous, including the ones named here in Ephesians. 

So, if you do these things, at a minimum you are not acting according to God’s will and are acting like the unbelievers. At the maximum, you are not a believer, not in Christ, even if you claim to be. Either way, repentance is necessary. 

In verse 6, Paul acknowledges that there are people who will try to deceive you in this matter. They will tell you these things are not important and God is not concerned with them. They will often begin with the question “doesn’t God want you to be happy?”. Or they will tell you God is not concerned with small things. But, Paul makes it clear that these are not small things to God and are, in fact, very important to him.

Those things are so important that the wrath of God comes upon those who disobey him. (8) Those who are not in Christ will certainly face God’s wrath at the final judgment. But they will also experience God’s wrath in the present, even if it is only God turning them over to their sinful way of thinking so that they have no hope in him, as Romans 1 sets out.

Do Not “Partner” With Them


Believers should not join with those who practice these things (sexual immorality, covetousness, filthy talkers). We may have relationships with non-believers, may even be friends with them, but we cannot join them in their sinful behaviors. 

They are of the darkness, but we have been brought into the light. (8) Darkness represents sinful thinking alienated from God. It represents evil. Light represents the life and truth of Christ. 

Those who walk in the light do what is good, right, and true. (9) Enlightened by Christ and empowered by the Spirit, we continually seek to discern what pleases the Lord. (10) 

Rather than partner with the disobedient in their actions, we are to expose sin. If it is sin, we call it sin. We do not explain it away. We explain how it violates God’s commands. We expose it to the light by shining the word of God upon it. And we address it within the church if it occurs. 

Paul recites a phrase in verse 14 about the light of Christ shining on a person. There is no Old Testament passage that says exactly matches the quote. It could be a baptismal hymn since it uses the symbolism of dying (sleeping) and rising to live for Christ. The point is that the old self of the believer has died with Christ and the new self lives in Christ's light, not darkness. 

Sunday, August 07, 2022




Out With The Old & In With The New

In this passage, Paul returns to the subject of how the believer should live. He is expanding his discussion from verse 1 of chapter 4, where he said they should live a life worthy of their calling. 

He emphasizes the fact that a change should and must occur when one comes to faith in Christ. Therefore, he begins with saying that the Ephesian believers should not continue to walk as the Gentiles do. By “Gentiles”, he means the unbelieving, those who have not come to Christ. Conversion, salvation, should initiate a change in the believer. 

This is a word for believers today, also, because Christians are constantly tempted to show to the world that we really are not different from everyone else. This is an effort to gain the world’s “respect” or approval. It happens to individuals and institutions. 

A good example is the desire of Christian colleges and seminaries to be accepted by other schools as intellectual equals. The school liberalizes its theological stance in exchange for secular respect.

Paul says that believers cannot act like non-believers, not just because of what they do, but what they are. They do what they do because of what they are.

What they are is darkened in understanding and futile in their thinking (17-18). Darkened means they do not think rightly because they do not have the light of God in them. Mankind, because of sin, no longer thinks correctly. Their thinking often becomes the exact opposite of God’s thinking. 

Paul addresses this concept in many of his writings. For example, in Romans 1:21-22, he says the failure of mankind to honor God caused them to become futile in their thinking. Their thinking does not lead them to the correct conclusions. Their hearts are darkened as they hardened themselves agains God. They become alienated from the life of God. They are hostile to him. (Colossians 1:21)  

Once this happens, they give themselves up to sensuality and impurity. They celebrate sin. (19) 

In contrast, believers learn to live a different way in Christ. That is why Paul said “this is not the way you learned Christ”. (2) Upon being saved, believers want to live in a way that pleases and honors the Lord. We learn what that is by studying the Bible and being taught by other believers. 

The metaphor that Paul uses to describe the change that happens with conversion it putting off the old self and putting on the new. The old self represents the sinful life we are content with before we are saved. The new self includes a renewed mind and spirit, once that seeks to be fully a new creation that is the image of God in righteousness and holiness. (24) We must constantly focus on this renewed state of being so that we can resist the old way of thinking and acting as the world does. 

Paul told the Roman christians “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind”. (Romans 12:2) This is not always easy to do in the midst of the constant barrage from the world about the way to think and to live.

In Colossians 3:2, Paul wrote: “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”

There are two truths to consider here. First, upon conversion, you become a new creation whose old life is put away and replaced by the new that has come (2 Corinthians 5:17) But, we must constantly seek to keep the old self away and to keep the new self in play. 

Paul goes on to give specifics. Interestingly, the first thing he tells us to avoid is lying. Christians are to speak the truth to each other. (25) This is a reflection of Zechariah 8:16, which says “These are the things you are to do: speak the truth to one another…”

Second, we are to avoid letting anger lead us to sin. This seems to be a quote of Psalm 4:4, which says “be angry and do not sin”. It is not necessarily a sin to get angry, but anger can lead you to sin. Jesus told us that anger can make us subject to judgment. (Matthew 5:22) 

Many people have said and done terrible things under the influence of anger. Paul advised that we do not stay angry into the night and that we do not give the devil the opportunity to lead us into sin through our anger. Anger should be replaced with reconciliation. And, if reconciliation is not possible because of the other party, you may have to forgive and consign the person to the Lord to deal with. 

Third, we are not to steal. Rather we are to work and to share with others who are in need. (28) We do not take from others and we do share with others that need it. Stealing is replaced by working and giving. 

Fourth, we are not to engage in corrupting talk. This includes gossip, slander, grumbling, and being harsh with people. Instead, we are to speak in a way that builds up others. (29) Corrupting talk grieves the Holy Spirit, as does any sin, and we must avoid that. (30) He is the one who seals us for our final redemption and we should not grieve him. He is holy and is not pleased by sin. 

The summary of things we are to avoid is in verse 31: bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, slander, and malice. All of these are attitudes which cause us to use corrupting talk, or are themselves corrupting talk. 

The things we are to embrace are in verse 32: kindness toward each other, tenderheartedness (the opposite of bitterness), and forgiveness toward each other, since God forgave us in Christ. 

The grace and love of God toward us is the pattern for us to follow. 

Tuesday, August 02, 2022

The Purpose of Spiritual Gifts

 "Amid many debated questions regarding spiritual gifts in the New Testament, three certainties stand out. First, a spiritual gift is an ability to express, celebrate, display, and so communicate Christ in a way that builds up and strengthens the faith of other Christians and enlarges the church.

New Geneva Study Bible, p 1867.

Monday, August 01, 2022



Diversity of Gifts


This section begins with the word “but” to show us a contrast with the previous section. The previous section stressed the unity of position of believers: they are all equal in Christ. This section is about the diversity of gifts given. There is unity, but diversity.

Christ gave each believer a gift by grace as he determined. (7) Paul referred back to Psalm 68:18 to say that, when Christ ascended to heaven after his resurrection, he gave gifts to believers. (8) He determines which gift he will give. We do not determine which gift we receive. All of the gifts are a matter of grace and Christ’s sovereignty.

In verse 9 and 10, Paul inserted another parenthetical statement. He explained that, since Christ ascended, it means he also descended from heaven to earth. He was in heaven with the Father before he took on human flesh. That is why he could pray “And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed”. (John 17:5) 

Jesus descended from heaven to earth when he was born to Mary. He was born in the likeness of men. (Philippians 2:7) He became flesh. (John 1:14) In that flesh he lived, was killed, and buried.  Then God raised him from the grave. (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)

After 40 days, Jesus ascended to heaven. (Luke 24:51) He ascended into the heavenly realm that he might fill all things. (Ephesians 4:10) He is present all through the universe. And he holds all things together. (Colossians 1:17) 

Although the gifts come to individuals for use, they are ultimately given to the church. Therefore, the gift should be recognized by the church. A person may claim they have a particular gift because they see it as more valued or respected and not because they actually have it. 

There are other lists of gifts in Paul’s writings: Romans 12:6-8 and 1 Corinthians 12:8-10. In addition, 1 Peter 4:10-11 speaks of the gifts but does not list them specifically. We can assume, therefore, that the list in our passage are not exhaustive. The gifts in our passage seem to be centered upon the proclamation of the gospel.

Christ gave the following gifts: apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds(pastors) - teachers. (11)

The apostles were the 12 plus Paul. The word “apostle” means one who is sent on a mission. Certainly the original apostles were commissioned by Jesus and given a mission. Jesus told them “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:29-20) The apostles proclaimed and explained the teachings of Jesus.

The prophets were those who spoke special messages from God to the church.  They did not speak new revelation as Scripture as the Old Testament prophets did. For example, Agabus told through the Spirit that there would be a severe famine in all of the Roman Empire. The famine happened during the reign of Claudius. In response, the church in Antioch gathered and sent aid to the church in Judea. (Acts 11:27-30) There is also a list of prophets in the church at Antioch. (Acts 13:1) Agabus is mentioned again in Acts 21, as are the four daughters of Phillip. 

Evangelists are those who specifically proclaim the gospel to those who have not come to Christ. We see that many of those who left Jerusalem when persecution began after the execution of Stephen proclaimed the Gospel to those they met. Phillip, one of the Seven, went to Samaria and preached Christ. (Acts 8:1-5) 

The pastor-teacher explains God’s word to others. While it could be that pastor and teacher are separate rolls, the conjunction between them seems to tie them together into one roll. Therefore, teaching and shepherding the members of the body is all part of one gift and one role.

The purpose of the gifts is to equip the saints for the work of ministry. (12) The saints are the believers, the members of the body, the church. Paul’s idea is that the saints all participate in ministry, not that a special group does. 

The church does not seem to do this well. Instead, we often have a group that is expected and paid to do ministry. They are call the clergy in some circles, church staff in others. They do the ministry and the other members of the church give money to pay their salaries. All should be involved in ministry. 

The gifts are also to be used for building up the body of Christ (the church). By building, Paul means bringing all believers to spiritual maturity. (13) That maturity will be evidenced by the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God. We grow in faith, knowledge, and unity as we mature. The ultimate goal is to be like Jesus, as much as is humanly possible. (13)

Jesus does not want or expect us to make a profession of faith and stop there. He does not want us to remain as spiritual infants. Infants have no discernment. Jesus wants and expects us to mature. 

The end goal, and the sign of, maturity is that we are not carried away by new doctrines, human cunning, or deceitful schemes. (14) This is a maritime image: a boat at sea may be tossed around by the waves or driven off course. The waves are false doctrines and deceitful schemes. 

 We see those abound today around the world. One of these is the prosperity gospel, which teaches that every believer can be wealthy and well in this life. Usually, that requires a seed gift, which is money given to the minister. That is why we see so many preachers of this false gospel become exceedingly rich.

Another is the demonology endorsed by several groups of Pentecostals. There is a demon for everything. If you lust, you have a demon of lust. It is a great way to avoid personal responsibility for sin. Certainly the devil tempts. But we sin in our weakness and in our rebellion against God. Demons do not make us sin. 

New revelation, in the guise of God giving a person a new truth, is another false doctrine. Gave gave us the Bible to know the truth he is willing to reveal. There are no new spiritual truths in addition to the Bible. 

As Paul says, instead of embracing every new idea, we are to grow up in every way into Christ, who is the head of the church. Instead of embracing secret ideas or trying to get rich in this life, learn to know Jesus through his word, serve him, and minister to others in his name. (15) 

Jesus holds the whole body together. (16) When the body is properly equipped, and each believer works properly, the body will grow and build itself up in love.  



Ephesians 4


It is common for Paul to set out theological matters at the beginning of his letters, then move to the practical application of that theology in the life of the church and the individual believer.  For example, Romans 1-11 discuss Paul’s theology of the gospel. Romans 12 begins the practical application. Ephesians 4 begins Paul’s application. Our knowledge of theology through study of the Bible is not an abstract matter. What we learn propels us to live according to what we know. Martyn Lloyd-Jones says the weight of our practice must equal the weight of our knowledge.  

Living A Worthy Life


Paul begins this chapter with a plea, saying I “urge” you. This is similar to the beginning of the practical application in Romans 12:1, where he said “I appeal to you”. 

He also adds his designation as “prisoner for the Lord” to give weight to his authority and the seriousness of the plea, so they will take it to heart and act accordingly. 

The plea, then, is for the Ephesians (and us) to walk, or live, in a manner worthy of their calling. The “calling” here is the call to come to Christ in salvation. It is not a call to an office or ministry. 

Romans 8:28 says “we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Then, verse 30 says those whom he predestined he also called. 2 Thessalonians 2:14 says we are called through the gospel. 

The church is composed of the “called out” ones, those who are called out of the world and into the kingdom of our Lord. 

Having been called to Christ, and coming to him in faith in response to that call, we are to live for Christ. (Luke 9:23) Our life should be worthy of our call. We do not come to Christ and then live for the devil. 

Paul gives us a few attributes that will characterize a worthy walk. First, is that we live with all humility and gentleness. (2) We have seen in most of our previous studies that God condemns pride and values humility. Paul told the Ephesians when he met with them in Miletus that they saw that he lived among them “with all humility”. (Acts 20:19) Humility is not thinking more of yourself that you should and not holding yourself out as being better than others. It is not insisting on your rights & putting others before ourselves.

Humility helps you avoid pride and the disfavor of the Lord for it. It also keeps you from feeling entitled to receive more from your church than other people. You will also be more willing to serve in a role that is not publicly acclaimed if you are humble.

Humility is not weakness. Moses was humble. (Numbers 12:3) But he was a strong leader who stood up to Pharaoh and led a nation across the desert. 

Paul also says we should walk with gentleness. Gentleness is a fruit of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22) Jesus said he was gentle. (Matthew 11:29) Gentleness is a great relationship builder. We need to be gentle with each other rather than harsh. No one enjoys having someone be harsh with them. Those who are suffering particularly need gentleness. 

Gentleness does not mean we do not stand for correct doctrine or that we are not firm on moral issues. But even in these circumstances we can be gentle rather than harsh. I have a preacher friend in Louisiana USA who is the model of this. He has been confronted with many theological issues and some ethical ones in organizations in which he has been involved. He has always stood for truth and the Bible. But he has always been a gentleman about it. 

Paul also tells us the walk in patience, bearing with one another in love. (2) Patience is the ability to face delay, inconvenience or even trouble without getting angry. We must exercise patience with those who are less spiritually mature than us and realize they may not always get it right. Sometimes we must be patient because our facility has an issue and it takes time to repair, causing discomfort. Sometimes we must exercise patience waiting for God to act.

And Paul says to bear with one another in love. This is another way to say be patient with each other. Our motivation is love. Since God loves us, we must love each other. We express our love for each other with patience, gentleness, and humility.

All of these behaviors are listed in Galatians 5:22 as fruits of the Spirit. Therefore, if you are a believer, you have the Holy Spirit in you and are able to develop these attitudes and behaviors. 

The goal of these behaviors, in addition to pleasing the Lord, is to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. We have unity because Christ has reconciled us to each other as well as to himself. So, we do not create it. But we do need to preserve it. It is difficult, if not impossible, to be a good witness to Christ if we do not show love for each other. Fighting with each other, being harsh, critical, prejudiced, and demanding makes us look like the worst of humanity, not the best. 

 A Confession of Faith


Paul transitions here from exhortation to recitation of a creed (statement of belief). The emphasis is on oneness. There are 7 “ones” in this section. The number 7 in the Bible usually symbolizes perfection or completeness. 

There is one body. That body is Christ’s body, the church. There are not two bodies, one Jewish and one Gentile. There are no characteristics that create more than one body. There can be only one. 

There is also one Holy Spirit. He dwells in us and among us. When we live in submission to the Spirit, we will live in unity. 

There is also one hope to which we are called. That hope is eternal life. There are not different hopes for different believers. 

There is also one Lord, the Lord Jesus Christ. As the apostle Peter said, “there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) Or, as Jesus said, ““I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

Since there is only one Lord, there is only one faith, faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It is not true that it does not matter what you believe as long as you believe something. Only Jesus saves. Whoever believes in him should not perish but will have eternal life. (John 3:16)

There is also one baptism. We are baptized in the Holy Spirit when we are saved. We are baptized with water as a symbol, being buried with Jesus and raised with him to a new life. 

There is one God and Other of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (6) He is sovereign and transcendent over all. He is omniscient and omnipresent. 

Notice the Trinitarian statement here: there is one Spirit, one Lord (the Son), and one God the Father.  


There is perfect love and unity in the Trinity. The Trinity worked in love and unity to bring us to salvation. The Trinity worked in love and unity to demolish divisions and create one body - the church. The members of the church must work in love and unity to accomplish the mission of the church and reflect the Trinitarian God we worship.

We do not honor the Lord by fighting and dividing.