Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Ephesians Recap

Since it has been a while since I have done any recording, I have a new laptop, and upgraded software, I decided to just do a bit of a recap with where we are in Ephesians. We will jump into chapter 1, verse 1 next time.

Ephesians | Session 7 | 3:11-21

In our study today we see Paul praying that the believers would have boldness by building up the inner man so that they may be rooted and grounded in love in order to comprehend the breadth, length, depth, and height to be filled with the fullness of God.

Verse 10: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, Many commentators infer that this is speaking about earthly rulers and powers. However, it clearly says in heavenly places or the heavenlies. Paul will mention it again in Ephesians 6:12 when he says that 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. Again, he is simply saying that now they all know, both those on earth, and those above it (cf. 1 Corinthians 2:6-8).

Peter said something similar in 1 Peter 1:10-12, Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into. (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:10).

F.F. Bruce said, "The accomplishment of this eternal purpose of God’s has not in view only those who enter into the good of it on this earth. The triumph of his grace in overcoming an otherwise insurmountable barrier and uniting the two sections of mankind in Christ holds instruction for the inhabitants of the celestial realms."

Verse 11: According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: The dispensation of grace has always been in God's eternal purpose. That doesn't mean that God overruled man's will, but that he knew. Again, the message of the Twelve was always known, but the message of Paul was unique, but in God's eternal purpose.

Verse 12: In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him. Notice the boldness and access that we now have is the result of the faith of him. It is our faith in his faith that brings about salvation (cf. Philippians 3:9; Romans 3:22; Galatians 2:16; Galatians 2:20)

If it were not for his faith, ours would not matter. Sadly, other translations totally miss this. The ESV translates it our faith in him, the NIV translates it as through faith in him, and the NASB translates it as through faith in him, and believe it or not, the NET gets it right when it accurately translates because of Christ's faithfulness.

Verse 13: Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory. This is a reference back to verse 1. In other words, he is saying, "Do not feel sorry for me." The verse literally means, don't faint, or be discouraged by my trials for you, because they are to your glory. In other words, all that he went through was for them. He said something similar to the Colossians in Colossians 1:24.

Verses 14-15: For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, For this cause implies that since Paul now knows the manifold wisdom of God (verse 10) and his eternal purpose (verse 11),  he bows his knees in prayer to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whome the whle family in heaven and earth is named and asks the following in verses 16-19.

David Guzik points out that our prayers are much more effective when we know what we are praying for according to the purpose and will of God.

On a side note, the Bible has enough prayer not on the knees to show us that it isn’t required, but it also has enough prayer on the knees to show us that it is a good thing as well.

Verse 16: That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; His prayer was that they might be strengthened with might, but according to the riches of his glory in the inner man by the Holy Spirit (cf. 1 Corinthians 16:13).

So, his desire is that they are continually strengthened abundantly according the working of the Holy Spirit in the inner man (Romans 7:22; 2 Corinthians 4:16).

The inner man is said to be the heart, mind, and soul, as compared to the outter man. Just as the outer man needs to be cared for, so does the inner. Albert Barnes said of this, "the innner man needs a constant supply of grace. Every Christian needs grace given each day to enable him to bear trials, to resist temptation, to discharge his duty, to live a life of faith."

I believe this requires action on our part as that it does not come naturally just as he told the Galatians in Galatians 5:16, This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 

This reminds me of an old illustration that I learned as a young pastor: An old Indian Chief, of an American Indian tribe, had just come to a new faith in Jesus, because of the regular visits to his tribe by an early American preacher. As the preacher continued to make his visits to the tribe, he continued to instruct the Chief in the workings of his new faith. One day, as the preacher came to visit, he asked the new Believer, "Well, Chief, how's it going?" The Chief replied,.. "... Two Dogs inside, a Small Dog & a Big Dog, always fighting." So, the preacher asked, "Well, which dog is winning?" To which the Chief replied, "The one that I feed."

Verse 17: That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love. This is a continuous thought from verse 16 implying that if you they did verse 16, Christ would dwell in their hearts by faith. As a result, they would be rooted and grounded in love, and be able to...

Verse 18-19: May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. In other words, it is only then that they would be able to understand (comprehend) with all the saints the breadth, length, depth, and height of the love of Christ. If anyone understood this, it would have to be the Jewish people. Of course, none of us can attain to that in this life, but it is no reason not to try. After all, it is necessary if we would ever desire to be filled with the fulness of God which is to be filled to capacity with Jesus. Who wouldn't want that? Well, it doesn't come by osmosis!

Verses 20-21Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen. This is a doxology which is a spontaneous exclamation of praise. Apparently, Paul got a little beside himself. 

Interesting that the words exceeding abundantly is one word and only used by Paul. It literally means to an extent which cannot be expressed.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

2022 Project Completed

 Our mission project for this year was a home for our director in Nicaragua and his family. We so appreciate each of you who support our business, because without you, this would not be possible. Moises and his family are very happy with their new home! 

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Are We Justified by Works?

Paul wrote to the Galatians in 2:15-16: We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. The phrase we are Jews by nature simply refers to those who were born Jews including Paul. As for the rest of us, we were the sinners from among the Gentiles. 

However, please understand that Paul was not saying that the Jews were not sinners as well. He had said as much in Romans 3:23 when he said that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.  It also needs to be understood that Paul here was not addressing all Jews but only those who know that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ. The language makes it clear that he is addressing those Jews who had placed their faith in Christ and not the Law. This would mean that they were grace believers. 

Again, he said that by the works of the law shall no flesh by justified. This has to be referring to the new dispensation of grace because under the old dispensation of Law they were justified by the works of the Law. Paul said in Romans 2:13, For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. This verse is clearly not referring to this present dispensation of grace. 

Also, James 2:20-26 also said the exact opposite when he said, But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also

It is pretty apparent that Paul and James are contradicting each other in these verses. What gives? The men were obviously saying two different things because they were addressing different audiences. Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles and James was writing to the Jews who were still under the Law. Like many in the church today, I spent years trying to harmonize the glaring contradictions until I came to realize that.

Still There

Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. - Romans 1:24-27

Well, what do you know? These verses are still in the Bible even during the month of June. 

Saturday, June 4, 2022

A Good Reminder

person can be incorrect regarding many biblical doctrines, yet still a Christian.

When I first got saved, all I knew was that I was a sinner and Jesus was my only hope. I didn't yet know Jesus was the son of God, about the Trinity, about baptism, or any number of any other deep and important doctrines.

The bottom line is that we can rebuke and correct bad ideas without calling into question the state of someone's soul in relationship to Christ.

Laying on of “Hands”!

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Directional Devo - 5.17.22

 Today we take a closer look at Ephesians 4:1-6.

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Ephesians | Session 7 | 3:11-21

In our study today we see Paul praying that the believers would have boldness by building up the inner man so that they may be rooted and grounded in love in order to comprehend the breadth, length, depth, and height to be filled with the fullness of God.

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Friday, April 29, 2022

Directional Devo - 4.29.22

Today we take a closer look at Ephesians 3:17-19 where Paul prescribes how believers could know the love of Christ that passes knowledge.

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