Friday, February 24, 2023

Ephesians | Session 5 | 1:13-14

Today we explain what Paul meant when he was speaking about those who had trusted after that they had heard the word of truth which was the gospel of their salvation, the sealing of the Holy Spirit, and the earnest of our inheritance which will be realized one day.
Verse 13: In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,  The whom is a reference to Christ who was trusted in the previous verse. 

The word trusted is italicized in the KJV meaning it was placed in there by the translators to make it clearer, but it was not necessary in my opinion. So, it would read "In whom ye also after that ye heard the word of truth." It doesn't change the meaning at all. Just FYI, the words trust, faith, and believe all basically mean the same thing. 

Today, our culture is being ripped apart because truth is being taught as something that is not a constant. That is why you hear people talking about 'their truth' all the time. When the Devil started teaching that in our education system, it was a direct attack of Christ (John 14:6). Man thinks that he is so smart when he does nonsense like that, e.g., evolution. Make no mistake it was the Devil that planted that idea in man's little over-educated pea brain in an attempt to deny God and cast doubt on the Bible. 

Notice after that ye heard the word of truth. Reminds me of Romans 10:14; Romans 10:17. 

What is the word of truth? - the gospel of your salvation. And where do we find the gospel of our salvation? - 1Corinthians 15:1-4. Amazing how the church has spent so much time trying to make that complicated! They do so because they do not rightly divide what Paul said from the Twelve. That's why they end up adding baptism, works, tongues, and everything else to the equation. All salvation requires is belief plus nothing. 

After that happens, we are sealed with the holy Spirit of promise. The seal being referred to here speaks of ownership. He placed his seal of ownership on us the moment we placed our faith in Him. 

Verse 14: Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.  And that sealing is the guarantee of our inheritance that will be given when we are redeemed. I believe that redemption will take place at the Rapture of the church (Philippians 3:20-21). 

Randy White points out something at this point that trust can only come about after hearing the word of truth. The gospel must be shared with words because "the gospel is not love that can be displayed but logic that must be accepted." That is point on in my opinion and aligns with Romans 10:13-14. 

Again, the word of truth for the Body of Christ today is that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:4). Again, this message must be shared with words, not just actions. 

Notice that it says ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise. The order of salvation: 1) you hear, 2) you believe, 3) you are sealed. That word sealed means to stamp for security or preservation. In the book of Revelation we see just that when the 144,000 are sealed during the Tribulation period (Revelation 7:1-8). This sealing is also mentioned in Ephesians 4:30. This is just one of many reasons that I believe in eternal security. 

Bear in mind that any argument that is made against this is the result of wrongly dividing. Obviously, if we can rightly divide, we can also wrongly divide. The primary point of the verse is not the inheritance, but the sealing which is the promise of preservation as well. This Spirit of promise is received by faith and not works (Galatians 3:18). 

Notice, that it says until the redemption of the purchased possession. What I find interesting is that the word translated redemption is apolutrosis and it is only used ten times in the KJV (three of them in Ephesians) and it is a compound word which means the act of ransom. I find it significant because who normally pays a ransom? - The one to whom it belongs. We, the Body of Christ, are the purchased possession that was redeemed or ransomed (1 Corinthians 6:20; 1 Corinthians 7:23). Redemption refers to our being delivered from corruption (Ephesians 4:30; Romans 8:23). And he purchased us to the praise of his glory?

Ephesians | Session 4 | 1:10-12

In our study today, we take a look at the dispensation of the fullness of times when God gathers all things together in him and the inheritance that we have been predestined to that we might be the praise of his glory.

Verse 10: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:  There is a lot of disagreement about when the fullness of times is or will be. By its very definition, it can't be referring to time that still needs to be least that we know about. It would seem that it must be referring to time that we don't know about it which would be beyond the 1000 year reign of Christ, i.e., beyond Revelation 22. 

So, Paul seems to be referring to what is beyond the Messianic Kingdom. The NIV translates it to be 'put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment.' It will be during this time that he will gather together in one all things in Christ. This will include both which are in heaven and which are on earth; even in him. It will be under his leadership, both the earthly promises made to Israel and the heavenly promises made to the Body of Christ. 

Philippians 2:9-11 seems to be referring to this time because it will only be then that this will be fulfilled. Colossians 1:16 may be referring to this as well. Hebrews 2:5-8 seems to be describing this future event as well. The writer is referring to Psalms 8:5-6. Again, this seems to be describing a time after the 1000 reign of Christ. 

The Word Dispensation 
Interestingly, other than the NKJV, all of the other translations avoid the word dispensation in this verse and I believe so for obvious reasons, i.e., the subject would have to be dealt with otherwise, and most have rejected it, i.e., the Reformed types. 

Verse 11: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:  Inheritance concerns place, possession, and position that are received by heredity. Some hints as to this inheritance are found in Ephesians 3:6-8. 

Paul goes on to say that we have an inheritance as joint-heirs now because we have been predestined to it by the counsel of his own will. We have this inheritance because we are now children of God and joint-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:14-18). 

Again, the word predestined is not referring to heaven or hell, but to the things He has for us who have been called, responded, and chosen as we mentioned earlier. It is all about destiny and purpose (cf. Romans 8:28; Ephesians 1:9; Ephesians 3:11; 2 Timothy 1:9). 

What is the counsel of his own will? A council is in essence a meeting of the minds. We also see it in Acts 2:23. It is speaking of a time in eternity past when the Godhead set everything in motion (Genesis 3:15). In other words, it was all predetermined by God. So, God not only knows everything that it going to happen, but He also has predetermined everything that is going to happen. 

Notice also according to the purpose of him. What is the purpose of God? 2 Timothy 1:8-9 used the same language. It all happened in the predetermined counsel of God before the world began (Acts 2:23). He also mentioned this in Ephesians 1:4. 

Verse 12: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. Why has God determined all of this for us? - That those of us who have trusted in Christ might be to the praise of his glory!

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Ephesians | Session 3 | 1:7-9

In our study today we find Paul telling the Ephesian believers that they have been redeemed through the blood of Christ because of the richness of God's grace and that his ministry since his salvation was to make all men see the revelation of the mystery that was revealed to him.  
Verse 7: In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; In Christ, we have redemption through his blood. The redemption that we have in Christ results in the forgiveness of sins and it is all by his grace. 

The concept of redemption was not new because Job spoke of in Job 19:25. By definition, redemption means to lose control of something and to buy it back, e.g., the garden and Calvary (Isaiah 59:20; Romans 3:23, 25). By the way, we were not redeemed from the Law because we were never under it, but the fall (Hebrews 9:12-14, 22; 1 Peter1:18-19; Revelation 5:9). 

Verse 8: Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Grace made it possible. He did it in his wisdom and prudence. It is not saying that he gave us some kind of spiritual insight as some would suggest. 

Verse 9: Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: What is the mystery of his will? I believe he is referring to the Paulene mystery because it has now been made known. He is referring back to verses 4-5 when he said that we have been chosen in him before the foundation of the world and have been predestined for adoption. It is almost verbatim. 

This is the mystery that was revealed to Paul (Romans 16:25). The Twelve and Jesus did not preach this gospel, period. In Ephesians 3:8-9, Paul said that it was unsearchable because it was purposefully hidden until it was revealed to him. 

The mystery was not just that Gentiles would also be saved. It also included: 1. the grace gospel offered salvation apart from the Law (1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Romans 16:25); 2. redemption through his blood by his sacrifice, not from the Law, but sin; 3. justification as a result of our faith in that completed work; 4. our baptism into the Body of Christ; 5. the postponement as a result of the setting aside of the nation; 6. the Rapture of the Body of Christ, etc. 

The Scripture saw the Second Coming, but it couldn't have seen the Rapture because it did not see the postponement (Colossians 1:23-26). Yet, today as then, Paul has been rejected. Most in the organized church today do not believe in the Rapture, and far too many reject the writings of Paul.

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Ephesians | Session 2 | 1:1-6

Today we take a look at Paul's introduction to the letter and some of the spiritual blessings that believers have in Christ.

Verse 1: Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: Notice that he says that they are in Christ Jesus. In this book, Paul's focus is who we are in Christ. Some have made an attempt to prove that Paul is addressing two different group of people in this letter, i.e., the saints in Ephesus and the faithful in Christ Jesus. I have ran that route to its logical conclusion and disagree. Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles and wrote to the Body of Christ in his epistles, and we he does address the Jewish nation specifically, he makes it obvious. Also, I have found that those who go down that rabbit hole will find themselves in a ditch very quickly when they carry that method into Paul's other letters. 

Verses 2-3: Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: Notice that our blessings are spiritual and in heavenly places. When do we get these spiritual blessings? - At the moment of our salvation (1 Corinthians 12:12-13). 

This chapter lists nine spiritual blessings. In 1:3-6, the Father chose us, adopted us, accepted us. In 1:7-12, the Son redeemed us, abounded toward us, gave us an inheritance. And in 1:13-14, the Holy Spirit reveals to us, sealed us, earnest of our inheritance. 

Verse 4: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: We can still have free will and God can still know who will and who will not. He is God, right? That we should be holy: Just like the tools in the temple, we have been set aside (made holy, consecrated) for His purpose. Without blame. 

How are we without blame? Paul mentioned the concept in 1 Corinthians 1:7-8. We are justified from all things simply by our faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross and nothing more. The result is that we are truly blameless. 

Verse 5: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, Keep in mind that adoption speaks of coming into full rights as an heir. It has nothing to do with anything that we have to work for. It happens at the moment of salvation. At that moment, we become joint-heirs with Christ in heavenly places (verse 3). 

Regarding predestination, sad how it has been so distorted in the church today. It is not referring to whether someone is predetermined to go to heaven or hell. Instead, it speaks of our position in Christ as a joint-heir. The root of the word is destiny. It is our destiny now that we are in Christ. We have been predestined (destined) to be adopted (Romans 8:17-18) and it will be complete at the rapture. 

And he says that it is according to the good pleasure of his will. The same way that Paul was called in 1:1a. John also references this in John 6:44. Also, an example of it is seen in Acts 16:14. The Lord opens the eyes of our understanding but the choice is still ours, e.g., he calls, we respond, and he chooses. Not that difficult in my opinion. Augustine and John Calvin have made a mess out of this issue. 

Verse 6: To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In the beloved means in Christ. It is by grace and grace alone as he has already established.

Ephesians | Session 1 | Intro

Before we begin our study through the book of Ephesians, I think that it is important that we talk about why we should even study it at all. One such reason is what Paul told young Timothy when he said that he was to study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15). This is the most basic and compelling purpose for Bible study. The fact that he admonishes him to rightly divide means that it is possible to wrongly divide, and I submit to you that many, if not most, struggle with right division. With that in mind, today, I am going to introduce the book and explain why I feel the need to study the book and discuss when and where Paul wrote the letter.

2 Timothy was Paul's last personal epistle and Ephesians was his last doctrinal epistle and it seems that both were written at the same time and that both were delivered by the same person: Tychicus. 1 Timothy 1:3; Ephesians 6:21-22; 2 Timothy 4:12 all indicate this fact. 

Another possible proof of this is that Paul gives his salutations at the end of 2 Timothy and not at the end of Ephesus. Why would he do it in one, but not the other as his custom was? It might have been because they were going to the same place and there was no need to repeat himself. You can see this with a quick comparison between 2 Timothy 4:19 and Ephesians 6:21-24. 

Another proof is Onesiphorus who is mentioned in the final greetings of 2 Timothy 4:19. Where was he? According to 2 Timothy 1:16-18, he ministered to Paul at Ephesus.

Another proof is Aquila and Priscilla who were also in Ephesus according to Acts 18:24-26 

The bottom line is that there is a lot of evidence that Ephesians and 2 Timothy were written at the same time and delivered by the same person. 

With that established, that means that Ephesians was written while Paul was awaiting execution in Rome. We see proof of this in Ephesians 3:1 where he said that he was a prisoner for you Gentiles, Ephesians 4:1 where he described himself as a prisoner of the Lord, and in 2 Timothy 4:6-8 where he said that he was ready to be offered, and that his departure was at hand. 

With that said, the most basic of outlines for the letter is that chapters 1-3 specifically concern doctrine and chapters 4-6 specifically concern duty.