Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Ephesians | Session 8 | 2:1-5

In our study through Ephesians today, we break into chapter two where Paul reminds us that even though we used to walk according to this world in our trespasses and sins, and obeyed the desires of our flesh, now we have been made alive in Christ because of his great love toward us.
Chapter 2 
Verse 1: And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;  The word quickened means to be made alive. Just as he was made alive, so we too. However, notice what it is in italics in the KJV. It literally says, And you, who were dead in trespasses and sins. He is reminding them of where they once were. In other passages, Paul points out that we were blind (2 Corinthians 4:3-4), slaves to sin (Romans 6:17), aliens (Ephesians 2:12; Ephesians 2:19), children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3), under the power of darkness (Colossians 1:13), i.e., nothing good. Also notice that he says in trespasses and sins. Trespass speaks of willful disobedience and sins speak of simply failure to live up to the standard. 

Verse 2: Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:  The emphasis is that dead people walk according to the course of this world and according to the prince of the power of the air. His point is that people who have been made alive no longer do either (Colossians 2:13; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4; 2 Corinthians 5:17). The children of disobedience are the lost. The Greek indicates that these have no faith. 

Verse 3: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.  He is saying that all of us in time past lived according to the lusts of the flesh (1 John 2:16) and fulfilling its desires, and were just as much children of wrath as the heathen were (Isaiah 53:6; Romans 1:21-25; Romans 3:9-12; Romans 5:12-19). 

It has been said that while a dead man might feel comfortable in a coffin, a live man does not. When we were spiritually dead in our trespasses and sins, it was all we knew, but now that we have been made alive, it is no longer comfortable. Children of the day no longer feel comfortable walking in darkness (Ephesians 5:8; Ephesians 5:11). 

Verses 4-5: But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) But God has to be two of the greatest words in all of the Bible. He loved us anyway and in spite of ourselves. I have heard it said that God does not love me because of who I am but in spite of who I am. This also reveals that God's motivation was love toward us: love (Romans 5:8). 

Notice it says that he hath quickened us together with Christ. That means to be made alive. It is also used in verse 1. Paul again seems to be pointing out the power of God as evidenced in the resurrection and his exaltation to the right hand of God that he just mentioned in chapter 1:19-23. 

Mercy and Grace 
Notice that he mentions both mercy and grace meaning they are not the same thing. Mercy is not getting what you deserve while grace is getting what you don't deserve. 

By Grace are Ye Saved 
Notice also in parenthesis he says by grace ye are saved. In other words, Paul wants them to understand that their salvation was completely unmerited and was not the result of anything that they had done.

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Ephesians | Session 7 | 1:18-23

In our study today we take a closer look at Paul's prayer, break it down, and discuss what it means to us, Christ's place of honor, heavenly places, principalities and powers, and the world's future subjection to him.
Verse 18: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,  Paul's prayer that he prayed for the ones who had faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all saints (verse 15) was that through the knowledge of God they would would have the spirit of wisdom and revelation (verse 17) and that their eyes now in verse 18 would be opened to the hope of his calling and the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints. 

His first prayer was that they would be enlightened to know what is the hope of his calling. Notice that it says his calling and not ours. Many commentators seem to miss this part. Bullinger says that his calling is our sonship mentioned in verses 4-5 (Ephesians 4:4). Barnes says, "The meaning here is, that it would be an inestimable privilege to be made fully acquainted with the benefits of the Christian hope, and to be permitted to understand fully what Christians have a right to expect in the world of glory. This is the first thing which the apostle desires they should fully understand." His calling seems to not only include our sonship, but also everything that comes along with it, i.e., adoption and the riches of his inheritance is in the saints. 

Guzik says that it is a future that includes resurrection, eternal life, freedom from sin, perfected justification and glorious elevation. That is God's calling for us and Paul wants us to know this. To know God is the key to the highest form of knowledge! The writer of Proverbs says that it begins with a fear of the Lord (Proverbs 1:7; Proverbs 1:29; Proverbs 2:2-5). Pretty much explains the complete ignorance in our culture today and the abject failure of our education system! There is no knowledge without the fear of the Lord. 

His Exceeding Greatness 
Verses 19-20: And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, His prayers continues in that he wants us to know God's exceeding greatness of his power that he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in heavenly places. 

His greatness can be found in what He brought about in Christ by raising him from the dead and setting him at his right hand and he wants us to know that kind of power. How can we know it? Perform miracles? or just know that God can do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us as he will say in 3:20. He wants us to know that that same God is working on our behalf! The same God that raised Christ from the dead is also working in and through our lives! Again, he will expand on this in Ephesians 3:16-20. F.F. Bruce said of this, “If the death of Christ is the supreme demonstration of the love of God… the resurrection of Christ is the supreme demonstration of his power.” 

Place of Honor 
Notice that after God raised him from the dead, he then set him at his own right hand. The right hand is the position of honor (1 Peter 3:22). Clarke adds that the right hand is historically the place of not only honour, but friendship, confidence, and authority. Heavenly Places Interestingly, Ephesians is the only book that uses the term heavenly places and that four times, here and Ephesians 1:3; Ephesians 2:6; and Ephesians 3:10. Paul's point is that we who are in Christ are also in heavenly places. Understand that our promises as the Body of Christ are celestial while those made to Israel are terrestrial. We are not them and they are not us. 

Far Above Everything Else 
Verse 21: Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:  He mentions these principalities and powers three times in this letter. These are referring to angelic beings, both good and bad. The statement also seems to be referring to a ranking system that we do not totally understand. But what is clear, is that Jesus has been raised above them. One commentator said, "We do not need to know all of the officers of the king's court to know who the king is." 

Head of All Things 
Verses 22-23: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,  As such all things are under his feet. Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all. This means that all things are in subjection to Christ. Of course, one day it will be subdued completely (Psalms 2:6-9; Revelation 2:27; Revelation 12:5; Revelation 19:15). 

Words in Italics 
Also notice that there are a lot a italics in this verse. Remove them and it clearly says And hath put all under his feet, and gave him the head over all to the church. It clearly states that he is the head of the church. The church is the mystery that was revealed to the Apostle Paul (Ephesians 5:32) and Christ is the head of it, not the groomsman as many say. He is not going to marry his own body. I will speak to this more later, but for the moment, the words Bride of Christ are no where to be found in the Bible. The Bible makes perfectly clear in Revelation 21:2 that the holy city, new Jerusalem is the bride. If you need further evidence, read the next verse. 

Is The Church Israel? | Session 1

Many teach today that upon salvation, we the church (Body of Christ) become part of spiritual Israel. Not physical Israel, but a spiritual one. The question that I pose today is does the Bible truly teach that? Is God really through with the physical nation of Israel? Has He really given all of the promises that He gave to Israel to us now? Some will go on to say that Israel in the Old Testament is merely an allegory for the church, i.e., the church is the true Israel. What does the Bible say?

Monday, March 13, 2023

Ephesians | Session 6 | 1:14-17

In our study today we take another look at verse 10 regarding the fulfillment of times, and Paul's specific prayer for the Ephesian believers.
Verse 15: Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,  Paul is pleased by their faith and love for each other. 

Verse 16: Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;  As a result he is thankful for them and prays for them. 

Verse 17: That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:  His prayer is that the Ephesian believers would have a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him. Wisdom is by definition just good sense. Revelation is a revealing or enlightenment. Knowledge is the fact or condition of being aware of something, i.e., information. 

His prayer is that we would have a spirit of good sense and enlightenment that comes only through a knowledge of him. Man, that explains a lot in the wicked world in which we live! They have no wisdom or revelation because they do not know him (Proverbs 1:7; Proverbs 9:10; Psalms 111:10; Proverbs 2:1-5; etc).