Sunday, June 4, 2023

Ephesians | Session 20 | 4:12-21

Our study today is from Ephesians 4:12-21 where we see the Apostle Paul talking about the reason for the temporary ministry gifts were to bring unity into the Body of Christ until the revelation of the mystery was completed and how that it should bring not only unification, but also maturity to the Body.

Perfecting of the Saints 
Verse 12: For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: The stated goal of these gifts was for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. Those who hold that these were given to the Kingdom church only will use the word saints as proof. Again, the view would be that God gave these gifts to the kingdom church to lay the groundwork for the Body of Christ. I do not agree with that view. It means exactly what it says in my opinion. 

Unity of the Faith 
Verse 13: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:  Again, the point of the gifts was unification of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man which would have been accomplished at the completion of the Paulene epistles which describes exactly what the new man/creature is (2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 2:15; Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10) It was only after Paul had written the last of his letters to Timothy that the Body of Christ had the completed word of God. I believe that this is what unto a perfect man is referring to. The perfect man or complete man is a mature believer who correctly understands the teaching of Scriptures, especially those written by Paul for the Body of Christ as that he was the only one who addressed the Body of Christ. 

No More Children 
Verses 14: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;  As such, we be no more children, tossed to and fro and confused by every wind of false teaching that comes our way. And of course, these false teachings are brought by men who use sleight of hand and craftiness, for the purpose of deceiving the untaught. I believe in context, the men were and still are mixing Law and Grace, i.e., confusing the Body of Christ with spiritual Israel, etc. In 1 Timothy 4:1, Paul says that these men are giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. 

Truth in Love 
Verse 15: But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:  Instead, as mature believers, we should speak truth to the lies in love and continue grow in our walks and relationship with Christ who is the head of the body. Christ is the head and we are his body (Colossians 1:24). That's right, we are the Body of Christ. Many say that the Body of Christ is also the Bride of Christ. Unfortunately, those words are not even found in the Bible. 

Fitly Joined Together 
Verse 16: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. As his Body, we are fitly joined together and supported by every joint as we effectively work together, which leads to edification for everyone in love. 

Walk Not As Others 
From verses 17-32, Paul gives practical instructions regarding how believers should walk in this knowledge. 

Verse 17: This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,  Now he focuses on the believing Gentiles and warns them, in lieu of all that he has previously stated, they should not walk as other Gentiles, in the vanity of their mind. Vanity means inutility or of no use. 

Alienated From the Life of God 
And he goes on to say of the unbelieving Gentiles...
Verses 18-19: Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.  He goes on to describe these Gentiles as doing so because their understanding has been darkened, and consequently, they have been alienated from the the life of God because of their ignorance and blindness to the truth. The latter part about giving themselves over to lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness is a reference to sexual sins and other vices and reminds me of what Paul spoke of in Romans 1:18-25 when he said For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. 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.  

No So Learned 
Verses 20-21: But ye have not so learned Christ; If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: He is now comparing those who are vain in their thinking (verse 17) with those who have learned Christ. The NIV translates it come to know Christ that way. In other words he is speaking to those who heard him, and have been taught by him. Of course, this today happens through the Word. As such, we know that truth is in Jesus. He said as much in John 14:6.

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