Saturday, December 9, 2023

Preaching to Those That Already Know

Sometimes it can be intimidating to preach to elders. After all, they probably already know the doctrine you studied (and possibly more). How do you preach to the more spiritually mature than you?

With this knowledge: preaching does not require you know more than someone else. Preaching requires you care about what you are saying. Anyone who knows truth and cares about it can preach. The goal of preaching is to get others to care about what they already know. This requires more care, not more knowledge. If you don’t care, then you should not be preaching to anyone. If you can’t answer the question of why it matters, then it is not important enough to preach. Not everything you know is worthy of your care.

When you grow in understanding, you should also be growing in care for what others may already know: the cross, Jesus, the Bible, grace, etc. This is exactly where we need more solid preaching. The most known things in the Bible are often the most important. What is lacking is people caring enough about them to live by them and preach it.

Don’t worry about your audience already knowing what you are saying. Say it again, and this time explain why it is important and why it matters. You’ll find yourself energizing the doctrine that is already known by others. This is called preaching.

You are caring about the wrong things if you only care about teaching people what they don’t know. Care enough to preach about what they already do.

For all the preachers,

Justin "preach it!" Johnson

Grace Ambassadors 

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Ephesians | Session 29 | 6:11-24

In our final study in the series today, we find Paul giving his concluding words and greetings to the Ephesians. His final words include encouragement for them to be strong in the Lord put putting on the whole armor of God, and his final greetings are regarding Tychicus who delivered the letter and someone he considered to be a faithful minister in the Lord.


Verse 11: Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. To be strong, the Ephesians are told that they are to put on the armor of God. Paul uses the analogy of the clothing that was worn by the Roman Centurion. His warning was that it was the only way that they were going to be able to stand against the wiles of the devil

Verse 12: For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. The point was that our struggle is not against our fellow man. Yes, we are all the race of man. We are all men. (I say that for those who struggle with that concept today by politicizing this fact.) Instead, our struggle is against principalities, rulers of darkness, and spiritual wickedness in high places. All of these entities are not in the physical, but in the spiritual realm. That does not mean that our fellow man can not be our enemy, but that what drives them is ultimately in the spiritual realm. 

Verse 13: Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. With that in mind, we must take up our spiritual armor if we are to withstand them as that a spiritual enemy can not be defeated by physical means. Of course, armor implies defense and to withstand means to set or stand against. 

So, when is they evil day? Albert Barnes says that it is any day that we are assaulted. 

Verse 14-17: Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: No doubt Paul by now was intimately familiar with the attire of a Roman soldier since he found himself chained to one on a few occasions. His point was that without truth, righteousness, the gospel, faith, salvation, and the word of God, it would be impossible for them to walk worthily, circumspectfully, or to redeem the time. 

Verse 18: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; And of course, prayer is needful always. Just as a side note, I have yet to meet a Marine or a soldier who did not acknowledge a supreme power, e.g., supreme commandant, especially in times of uncertainty. Nothing like staring the possibility of death in the face to make one reach out to something bigger than himself. This is often referred to as foxhole religion. Trust me, the chapel service is always full before things are about to get interesting! 

Verse 19: And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, Now Paul asks for prayer for his own ministry in proclaiming the mystery of the gospel. What is the mystery of the gospel? It is the grace gospel which is an individual salvation compared to the kingdom gospel which was a national salvation. It will be taught until the rapture of the Body of Christ, and then the kingdom gospel will once again be taught. 

Verse 20: For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. He says that it is because of the mystery of the gospel that he is in chains. His prayer request was that in spite of his chains, he would continue to speak boldly as he should. 

It is interesting that he didn't ask to be released. He was more focused on his eternal calling than his temporary condition. He also might have been thinking of his upcoming appearance before Caesar. 

Verses 21-22: But that ye also may know my affairs, and how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things: Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that ye might know our affairs, and that he might comfort your hearts. Tychicus was the one that carried Paul's letters to the Ephesians (2 Timothy 4:12), and the Colossians (Colossians 4:7). 

Verses 23-24: Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen. Paul's final words to the Ephesians. 

Friday, July 14, 2023

Ephesians | Session 28 | 6:1-10

In our study today from Ephesians 6:1-10 we see Paul still addressing the issue of submission, but now focuses on the relationships between children and parents, fathers and children, servants and masters, and masters and God.

Chapter 6

Verse 1: Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Okay, wives need to be submissive to the leadership of their husbands, husbands need to love their wives unconditionally, and now children need to obey their parents. Why? - Because it is right. 

The phrase in the Lord is interpreted differently. 1. Some say that it means as long as their commandments are with those of the Lord (Albert Barnes). 2. Others will say that the phrase simply means that it is necessary on the part of the child as an act of obedience toward the Lord (David Guzik). The next verse will seem to confirm the latter. 

Verses 2-3: Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. Now Paul refers back to Exodus 20:12 and Deuteronomy 5:16 where the commandments were given.  

Interestingly, Christians usually divide the Ten Commandments as the first four are toward God and the last six are toward man while the Jews divide the first five are toward God and the last five are toward man. 

Verse 4: And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Now he turns his attention back to fathers regarding their children in relationship to their roles as leaders in their homes. His warning is about harsh leadership. This type of leadership can lead to anger which can cause bitterness and rebellion in their children. Provoke means to exasperate or frustrate. 

Fathers should be cultivating a loving relationship by example that can be emulated (Colossians 3:21), because they are the earthly reflection of their Heavenly Father. Broken homes have made this concept increasingly misunderstood. 

Verse 5: Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; Now he turns his attention to servants. The word is better translated as slaves. Despite what the liberals say, Paul was not condoning slavery, but merely speaking to it as an established institution. It was a fact of life and his encouragement to them was for them to be obedient as with the children earlier, but adds with fear and trembling. Why? - Because masters had the ability to exact retribution.

Instead, they were encouraged to obey with singleness of heart as unto the Lord. Barnes said, "Fidelity in whatever situation we find ourselves is acceptable service to the Lord." He also pointed out that it is easier to serve God than man. 

Verse 6: Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; They are encouraged to serve faithfully at all times, not just when the master if watching. Fidelity dictates obedience at all times. It was to be their testimony. Those who failed to do so were only menpleasers while God wants God pleasers. 

Albert Barnes said of this, "we render acceptable service to God when we perform the services which are demanded of us in the situation in life we find ourselves, however humble that may be." 

Verse 7: With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: The understanding here is that God is in charge and no matter where we are in life, we must trust that, and be faithful in it. Anything else, is not fully trusting Him. 

Verse 8: Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. Here is the promise for those who take heed to Paul's counsel. Of course, none of us are guaranteed reward in this life, but we are in the next (2 Corinthians 5:10). 

Verse 9: And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him. Here is the warning to masters, that while they are watching their servants, God is watching them. Colossians 4:1 says practically the same thing, Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven

Neither is there respect of persons with him means that God does not show favor regarding position or rank. The foot of the cross is absolutely level with no VIP seating (Romans 2:11). 

Verse 10: Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Final thoughts. They all need to be strong in the power of his might. I believe his point is that it would be difficult for wives, husbands, children, slaves, and masters to do without the Lord's help. Reminds me of Zechariah 4:6 which says, Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Ephesians | Session 27 | 5:28-33

Our study today comes from Ephesians 5:28-33 where we conclude Paul's discussion about the relationship between Christ and his body by way of comparison with the marital relationship.

Verse 28: So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. Remember as we are reading through this that Paul is going to say in verse 32 that he is talking about Christ and the church and is merely using the marriage relationship as the example. So, we must pay attention to the interpretation before worrying about the application. 

I believe this verse is a reference to the one flesh mentioned in Genesis 2:24 which says, Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. Albert Barnes says of it, "If a man wishes to promote his own happiness, he had better begin by showing kindness to his wife". He also said, "A man's kindness to his wife will be more than repaid by the happiness that she imparts". He that loveth his wife loveth himself means that when you love your wife, you benefit yourself. 

Verse 29: For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: We all do what is in our own best interest. Therefore, it is in our own best interest that our wives are cared for! It's like the old adage, "Happy Wife, Happy Life"! 

Verse 30: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. The Lord loves the members of his body. The application is that the man should love his wife in the same way. 

Verse 31: For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. The verse seems to be an earthly illustration of the relationship that God has with his church. 

Verse 32: This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. This verse explains the previous ones (verses 22-31). Context seems to dictate that. Keep in mind that the issue is still unity and he is just using marriage as an example. That being said, some commentaries seem to ignore this verse. 

One said, "It would be easy to think that the Genesis 2:24 passage (also quoted by Jesus in Matthew 19:5) only speaks about marriage. Paul wants us to know that it also speaks about the relationship between Christ and the church.

Another said, "This is true in regard to the pattern of the first man and the first woman. Woman was made at the beginning as the result of an operation which God performed upon man. How does the church come into being? As the result of an operation which God performed on the Second Man, His only begotten, beloved Son on Calvary’s hill. A deep sleep fell upon Adam. A deep sleep fell upon the Son of God, He gave up the ghost, He expired, and there in that operation the church was taken out. As the woman was taken out of Adam, so the church is taken out of Christ. The woman was taken out of the side of Adam; and it is from the Lord’s bleeding, wounded side that the church comes.”

Albert Barnes comes the closest when he said, "This, it seems to me, is an explicit disclaimer of any intention to be understood as affirming that the marriage contract was designed to be a “type” of the union of the Redeemer and his people. The apostle says expressly, that his remarks do not refer to “marriage at all” when he speaks of the mystery. They refer “solely” to the union of the Redeemer and his people. How strange and unwarranted, therefore, are all the comments of expositors on this passage designed to explain marriage as “a mysterious type” of the union of Christ and the church! If people would allow the apostle to speak for himself, and not force on him sentiments which he expressly disclaims, the world would be saved from such insipid allegories as Macknight and others have derived from this passage. The Bible is a book of sense; and the time will come, it is hoped, when, freed from all such allegorizing expositions, it will commend itself to the good sense of mankind. Marriage is an important, a holy, a noble, a pure institution, altogether worthy of God; but it does not thence follow that marriage was designed to be a type of the union between Christ and the church, and it is certain that the apostle Paul meant; to teach no such thing."

Verse 33: Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband. It all comes back to love and submission.

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Ephesians | Session 26 | 5:26-27

In our study today from Ephesians 5:26-27 we address the issue of who is speaking, the difference between interpretation and application, and that these verses are not talking about water baptism or that the church is the Bride of Christ.


Verse 26: That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, According to the previous verses, the he here is a reference to Christ. This brings a bit of a different interpretation to everything that he has said since verse 22. As we will see in verse 32, the entire context is Christ's relationship to his church with marriage as an example.

The point is that Christ was willing to lay down his life so that the church could be sanctified and cleansed. Of course, application can certainly be made regarding the husbands responsibility toward his wife also. It is his spiritual duty as the leader of his home to see to the spiritual well being of his bride.

How this to be done? - with the washing of water by the word. In order words, it must be done as we are saturated with the Word of God. There is no other way.

I want to make two points regarding the latter part of this verse: with the washing of water by the word. 1. It has nothing to do with water baptism. 2. These verses cannot be used to make a doctrine for the Body of Christ being also the Bride of Christ. The words Bride of Christ are nowhere to be found in the Bible. The Bible makes it perfectly clear that the New Jerusalem which will be inhabited by Israel is the bride.

God’s Marriage to Israel

Let's take a closer look since I know that many are shocked by this bit of information.

a. God made a covenant and a promise to Israel (Genesis 22:16-18, Exodus 19:5-6; 16:8, 15, 32, 60).

b. God married himself to Israel with the covenants (Jeremiah 2:2-5, 31:31-32). 

c. Israel was unfaithful to the covenant and God divorced (Jeremiah 3:8-14, 20-22).

d. A promise of restoration after the divorce (Hosea 1:9; 2:2, 5-8; 2:11-12, 18-23). 

e. No rest until Jerusalem is established over all the earth (Isaiah 62:4-5). 

f. God is faithful to keep his covenant with Israel (Isaiah 54:4-8, 12-14).

g. The re-marriage is complete in the kingdom come: the bride is the city (Revelation 21:2; 9-21).

h. Jesus came preaching the coming kingdom: be ready, prepare (Matthew 9:15; 25:1-10).

Without Blemish

Verse 27: That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. As Christ desires to present a church without blemish to the Father, so to the man should seek the same for his wife.

Trust me, a man loving his wife in this way will not have a problem with her submitting to his leadership. I have found that when I wife begins to pull away from her husband's leadership, it is because she is doubting his love for her.


Friday, June 16, 2023

Ephesians | Session 25 | 5:22-25

In our study today from Ephesians 5:22-25 we take a look at that controversial concept of submission, what it really means, why it is needed, and how God made us to fulfill different roles.

Verses 22-24: Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.  Now he begins to show what true submission looks like practically. This submission, as with any other, is to be done as unto the Lord. I find it interesting that so many decry the plight of the woman in the West in yet they live and walk in the most free societies in history. This is because Christianity has made them equals and not property. 

Women's Liberation has gone too far in my opinion in that they are now destroying themselves. God's plan for men and women are simply different and the more we pull away from that plan, the worse it will become for all of us. 

Obviously, Paul would not have mentioned this if he had not deemed it to be an issue. Actually, it started in the Garden of Eden with Eve when she decided that God and Adam were not acting in her best interest. 

Interestingly, men are never told exclusively in Scripture to submit, but to love. Why? - I can only assume that men have problems loving and women have problems submitting. In actuality, it only works when both play their parts. Of course, that notion is not popular today and the divorce rates, broken families, and single motherhood bare this out. God has established natural order whether we like it or not, and there are consequences when it is not followed (1 Corinthians 11:3-9; Colossians 3:18; Titus 2:5). Any culture that rejects this will be to their own peril whether they believe it or not. 

Verse 25: Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;  Now Paul turns his attention to husbands where he tells them to love their wives just as Christ does the church by giving himself for it. In like manner, the husband should be willing to lay his life down for his wife.

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Ephesians | Session 24 | 5:14-21

In our study today from Ephesians 5:14-21 we see Paul encouraging believers to wake up, walk carefully, and realize that the time is short and the days are evil.

Awake and Arise 
Verse 14: Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.  Who said it? - Apparently, the Lord did from the context. This must be something that Paul received by revelation because nothing is said in the Old Testament that I can find. It seems to be an encouragement to the one who is spiritually asleep. 

Verse 15: See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,  He then gives an encouragement for them to walk carefully in wisdom and not foolishness. The idea is to take special pains to guard against sins he mentioned above. 

Verse 16: Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.  Literally to rescue our time and not waste it. Why? - Because the days are evil and their are too many temptations around us everyday to do the opposite. In other words, we are to make the most of the time that we have and not squander it. 

Verse 17: Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.  Wherefore means "on account of this." In other words, he is still adding on form the previous verses about time and evil, i.e., wise up and see what the Lord is doing around us and not become distracted. 

Verse 18: And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;  Drunkeness should be avoided, but instead we should be filled with the Holy Spirit. To be drunk goes against verse 15 regarding walking circumspectly and not as fools. Drumkeness is also addressed in Galatians 5:21; Proverbs 20:1; Proverbs 23:29-33. 

Verses 19-21: Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. These verses list the things that should be the result of being filled with the Holy Spirit. They include: 1. Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. The point is that being filled with the Spirit results in a desire to worship God. 2. Singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord. The resulting worship will come from the heart. 3. Giving thanks always. It will result in an attitude of thanks. It has been said that God has not stopped being gracious, we have just stopped being thankful. 

Lastly, Paul says something that is very controversial in our society today that balks at the idea of submission. 4. Submitting yourselves to one another in the fear of GodThe word submit means to accept or yield to a superior force or authority. It is really what I call deference. Deference refers to a certain amount of respect or esteem that we give to others. Our culture is quite honestly not very good at it today and I believe it is one of the reasons our society is failing. He will continue to build on this principal in chapter 6. 

Notice that he concludes the verse with all of these things need to be done  in the fear of the Lord. One commentator puts it this way, "a believer's continual reverence for God is the basis for his submission to other believers." Proverbs 9:10 says that the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.

Friday, June 9, 2023

Ephesians | Session 23 | 5:5-13

In Ephesians 5:5-13 Paul continues to address how followers of Christ should walk, the vices and sins that they should stay away from, and how to respond to those who are not doing so.

No Inheritance 
Verse 5: For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.  Paul seems to be making a reference to verse 3. He is not questioning their salvation, but their behavior.

The verse gets a little confusing at nor covetous man, who is an idolater for me. Barnes says of this, "the covetous man bestows on money the affections due to God" and uses Colossians 3:15 where Paul said almost the same thing, Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatryThe point is that the worship of material wealth is just as idolatrous as the worship of a piece of wood or block of stone. And of course, idolaters have no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of GodThe reasoning is that you either worship God or the god of this world. Jesus said that no man can serve two masters in Matthew 6:24. 

Be Not Partakers 
Verse 6-7: Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them.  This verse seems to be targeted at someone specifically that was spreading this stuff. Paul has dealt with the issue before in  when he said to the Romans Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them (Romans 16:17). He wrote to Titus A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself (Titus 3:10). And finally to the Thessalonians And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother (2 Thessalonians 3:14-15). We in the Body of Christ need to stay away from confront, rebuke, and stay away from these people. 

Sometimes in Darkness 
Verses 8-9: For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)  He now reminds them that at one time they, Gentiles, were in darkness, but no longer as they have now come to the light and need to walk as such. Notice that verse 9 is parenthetical. He seems to be referring to the fruits of the Spirit that he is going to list in Galatians 5:22-23. 

What is Acceptable 
Verse 10: Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.  When we walk in the light we are proving or showing what is acceptable which are the things that are good, righteous, and true. The verse is similar to Romans 12:2 when he wrote And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Verse 11: And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.  Albert Barnes said, "Instead of fellowshipping with the darkness, we need to reprove it." This verse does not mean necessarily verbally, but with our lives and influence. That only happens as we are walking in the light. Our lives should be a standing rebuke to the sinful world around us. Paul wrote of this to the Corinthians Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty (2 Corinthians 6:14-18). 

Done in Secret 
Verse 12: For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.  It is a shame to even talk about the things that are done in the dark. I have heard far too many testimonies that did just this. The miracle is not what He saved us from, but that he even saved us at all. 

Verse 13: But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. The things that are reproved are the works of darkness mentioned in verses 8-12. The light is whatever is used to manifest it.

Thursday, June 8, 2023

Ephesians | Session 22 | 4:31-5:4

Our study today is taken from Ephesians 4:31-5:4 where Paul continues to speak of practical matters for the believer regarding how not to grieve the Holy Spirit in our relationships with others and ourselves.

Put it Away From You 
Verse 31: Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: This verse presents a bit of challenge because of the last three words, with all malace. Is he saying that the ones before it should not be done with malice or simply listing malice as another vice? Malice by definition is to do something with ill-will or with the intent to hurt the other party. Well, how can any of the afore be done without malice? (Clamour speaks of brawling). Or is it saying that the last vice of evil speaking (slander) should not be done with ill intent? Can you speak evil or slander someone without ill-intent? I don't think so. 

Even as God Hath Forgiven You 
Verse 32: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. Instead, Paul says that it is better to be kind to one another, tenderhearted, and forgiving just as Christ has forgiven us. Which leads right into the next chapter.

Chapter 5 
As Dear Children 
Verse 1: Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; Paul continues to be practical. The word followers means imitators. In other words, we are to be imitators of God as dear children. Just as a child would imitate their earthly fathers, so they should imitate their heavenly Father. 

Walk in Love 
Verse 2: And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.  Notice that the believer is to walk in the love that Christ had for us. Christ is to be our standard (2 Corinthians 10:12). 

The rest of the verse demonstrates how much Christ loved us in that he and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God. We are to walk in that same love. That is a tall order for sure. 

As Becometh Saints 
Verse 3: But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;  Now he lists sins that should not be named among believers. Fornication includes all sexual sins. Other translations translate it as immorality. Uncleanness speaks of impurity. Covetousness means holding or desiring more or greed. These things should not be named among them as becometh saints. Becometh can be translated as fitting or proper. Believers should not be involved in these things, period, full stop. 

Giving of Thanks 
Verse 4: Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.  Filthiness is obscene and speaks of the portrayal of sexual matters. Foolish talking  is just silly talk or buffoonery. Jesting is turning words in a negative sense or twisting in a vulgar sense. We would call it today innuendo which is very prevalent. Not convenient simply means appropriate. In other words, we should not be doing the afore mentioned things because they are inappropriate for one who professes to believe in Christ. Instead, of doing those things, we should be giving thanks. Barnes says of this, "Instead of filthiness, foolish talk, and jesting, we should be using that time in the service of God.

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Ephesians | Session 21 | 4:22-30

In our study today we find Paul continuing with practical application for the Body of Christ. This includes how we are to put off the old man that walked in his former lusts, put on the new man that walks in the Spirit, and the results that should follow.

Put Off the Old Man 
Verses 22-23: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;  His point is that the believer who has learned Christ, heard him, taught by him, and come to the understanding that the truth is in him, should live differently and not according to their own deceitful lusts (1 John 2:15-17). Notice that the lusts are deceitful because they cause us to do things that we would not otherwise do. His point is that we we should not live like we used to armed with this newfound knowledge Instead, we are to be renewed in the spirit of our minds. Why? - Because the former was corrupt. The word renewed is to be renovated or reformed (2 Corinthians 4:16; Colossians 3:10). 

Put On the New Man 
Verse 24: And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.  I can't help but notice that the renewing and the putting on of the new man requires action on our part. I have found that nothing in this walk merely happens by osmosis. Osmosis is the process of gradual or unconscious assimilation of ideas, knowledge, etc. Our walks with the Lord does not happen like that at all. It must be acted upon or predetermined. 

Members of One Another 
Verse 25: Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.  Wherefore means in lieu of the afore mentioned. Having put on the new man, we must put away lying, speak the truth, because we are members of one another now. To be honest, I do not see a lot of the latter today; i.e., speak the truth. 

Let Not the Sun Go Down 
Verses 26-27: Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.  This verse is not saying that we are not to be angry, but to not let it lead us into sin by letting the sun go down on it, thereby giving place to the devil in our lives. The verse follows verse 25 which spoke of speak truth to every man because we are members of one another. The point is that we are not to let our anger boil over and get worse. Instead, we are to put away lying and speak every man truth with his neighbor. 

Do That Things Which is Good 
Verse 28: Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.  Paul uses the example of thievery to make his point about the change that should have taken place in the believer. This is encouraged so that help can be extended to others instead of theft. Again, the context is the body that is fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth (verse 16). 

No Corrupt Communication 
Verse 29: Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.  Another example of how we as believers should act. Again, these actions do not save us, but they should be the biproduct of our salvation and our putting on the new man (verse 4:24). 

Also, our words to others should be edifying and not destructive, and I know that this can be done if we are walking in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16) and putting on the new man. 

Grieve Not the Spirit
Verse 30: And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.  In 1:13, it speaks of a sealing as well. There is also a sealing mentioned in Revelation 7 that protects against physical harm. This sealing is obviously not necessarily from physical harm because it is a spiritual one and speaks of eternal security. Anyone who tells you that you can lose your salvation is not rightly dividing. You can't justify that teaching reading the Paulene epistles.