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Theme: The church is composed of those who have been born again.
Nothing is stressed more intensely in the Scriptures, than to WALK as becomes those called to Christ's Kingdom and glory . . . meaning humility, meekness and modesty, which is totally opposed to pride and arrogance. Being meek is an excellent disposition of the soul, which makes men reluctant to provoke others, and are not easily provoked or offended. There is ONE Christ in whom all TRUE believers hope, and ONE Heaven they are all hoping for; therefore they should be of ONE heart (united). We all have ONE faith, that being JESUS! We all believe the same as to the great Truths of the Gospel, and we all have been admitted into the church by ONE baptism. 1 Cor.12:12-13 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. (KJV)
We now come to a new section of the Letter to the Ephesians. The subjects of the last three chapters was the conduct of the church and the calling of the believer. We learned of the heavenly calling of the believer, and now we come to the believer's manner of life, his earthly walk. This is not a worldly walk, but it is an earthly walk. The TRUE believers, which are called the church, are seated in the heavenlies in Christ. Christ is the Head of the body (church) and He is seated at God's right Hand. But the church is to live down here on this earth.
In chapters 1 - 3 we have considered the calling, construction, and the make-up of the church. In this last section of the Letter we shall consider the conduct of the church, the confession of the church, and the conflict of the church. The church is a new man; in the future the church will be a bride; and the church is also a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
In the first three chapters we have been on the mountain peak of the Transfiguration, probably the highest spiritual point in the New Testament. In this last division we descend to the plane of living where we confront a demon-possessed world and a disbelieving mob. Are we able to walk through the world in a way that is pleasing to God? Our Lord said that we are in the world but not of the world (Jn.17:6).
We have come to the practical side of Ephesians, the earthly conduct of the church; and in this chapter the church is portrayed as a new man. The new man is to exhibit himself down here. The members of the invisible church are to make themselves visible.
What follows from here is restricted only to those who are in Christ, those who are born again. The Holy Spirit is talking to saved people. If you are not a Christian, God is not asking you to do the commands in this Letter. You must be a child of God, through faith in Christ; you must be a member of His body. What follows in this Letter is for those who have been redeemed and have heard the Word of Truth. Dead men cannot walk no matter how much you tell them to walk. The dead man must first be made alive. Paul has clearly told us that we were dead in trespasses and sins. That is the condition of ALL who are lost. They are spiritually dead!
This chapter is the start of the practical part of the Letter, and is made up, like the remaining chapters, of various exhortations (encouragements and warnings). The points of exhortation in this chapter are as follows:
#1. An appeal to unity (4:1-6), pleading with them to walk worthy of their calling.
#2. He shows them that God had made ample provision for His people, that they might stand firm in their faith and of doctrine, and should not be driven about with every wind of opinion (4:7-16). He assures them that every Christian is given grace in the Redeemer adapted to his conditions, and that the Lord Jesus ascended to Heaven to obtain gifts for His people.
#3. He urges them not to live as the heathen around them lived, but to show that they were under a better influence (4:17-24). The understanding of heathens was darkened, and they were alienated from the life of God, they were past feeling, and were given over to every form of sensuality. The Ephesians, however, were urged by Paul to lay aside everything pertaining to their former course of life, and to become completely conformed to the principles of the new man (4:22-24).
#4. He urges them to perform their Christian duties, and to put away certain evils, of which they and all others were in danger (4:25). He especially pleads with them to avoid lying, anger, theft, corrupt and corrupting conversation, grieving the Holy Spirit, bitterness, evil-speaking and malice (4:26-31). He pleads with them instead to show a spirit of kindness and forgiveness (4:32). Oh! That we may obey!
The Exhibition of the New Man (Ephesians 4:1-6)
Ephesians 4:1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, (KJV)
I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called . . . the word therefore connects us to all that God has done for the believer, which we have seen in the first three chapters of this Letter.
Paul is a prisoner of the Lord, because of his position in Christ. Paul begs us to walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called (Rom.12:1). To walk worthy of our calling is a call to walk on a plane equal with the position we have in Christ (children of God). The manner of our life style should match the Gospel of Christ.
Phil. 1:27 Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; (KJV)
Col. 1:10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; (KJV)
1 Thes. 2:10 Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe: (KJV)
1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. (KJV)
Paul begs us to walk worthy of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. People around you are watching you! The only way they can tell if you are a TRUE child of God through faith in Christ, is by the way you walk (live) in this world. It is not only HOW you walk, but also WHERE you walk. Walking in "the light" is in the light of the Word of God, walking in the Light of Jesus (Jn.1:4-5). How much time do you spend in the Word of God?
Ephesians 4:2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; (KJV)
With all lowliness . . . humility; gentleness of mind, where we regard others better than ourselves (Phil.2;3); a virtue characteristic to Christians (Col.3:12-13). The opposite of pride.
And meekness . . . meaning we are not easily provoked or offended with the infirmities of others. This is opposite of being irritable or cranky.
With longsuffering . . . longsuffering is the opposite of a quick temper, a short fuse. It is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22).
Forbearing one another in love . . . supporting one another, bearing the infirmities or misery of others, so as not to stop loving them, and do them good. In love . . . not carnal affection, or for our own advantage, but out of godly love, which is inclined to make people patient and long-suffering (1 Cor.13:4; 2 Cor.6:6). Col. 3:13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. (KJV) . . . How do you rate?
Ephesians 4:3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (KJV)
Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit . . . the Lord Jesus prayed that we might be one: John 17:21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. (KJV)
The Spirit of God has baptized us into one body. "For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit" (1 Cor.12:13). Believers are to keep close that unity which the Holy Spirit has made. We cannot make that unity. We cannot force unity. Only the Holy Spirit unites us, but we are to maintain it. All TRUE believers in Christ Jesus belong to one body, and we should realize that we are one, only in Christ. The unity of the Spirit . . . a united spirit, a oneness of spirit. This refers to unity of affection, of confidence and of love. It means that TRUE Christians should be united in temper and affection, and not be split up in different groups and parties. Such unity can be produced ONLY by the Holy Spirit (Eph.2:14-16; 3:6).
In the bond of peace . . . they should be bound or united together in the sentiments and affections of peace. It is not just external unity; it is not a just unity of doctrine; it is not a just unity in the forms of public worship; it is the unity that just the Holy Spirit can produce in the hearts of Christians, when He fills them all with the same love, joy and peace in believing.
Now Paul goes on to list seven of those unities.
Ephesians 4:4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; (KJV)
There is one body . . . the body (church) of Christ (Rom.12:5; Eph.1:23; Col.3:15).
And one Spirit . . . the same Spirit of Christ in that body by which all the members live and act (1 Cor.12:11;13).
Even as ye are called in one hope of your calling . . . one inheritance in Heaven, to the hope of which ye are called (Col.1:12). Hope for the thing hoped for: (Tit.1:2; 2:13; 3:7; Col.1:27; 1 Thes.5:8; 2 Tim.2:10; 1 pet.1:3-5; 1 Jn.2:25; 3:2-3; Jude 1:21).
Ephesians 4:5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, (KJV)
One Lord . . . Christ Jesus as Redeemer, Head, and Husband of the church, to whom, by God's appointment, she is immediately subject (1 Cor.8:6; Jn.13:13; Acts 2:36).
One faith . . . one object of the faith of all believers, the doctrine of salvation, which is but one.
One baptism . . . both as to the outward symbol, and the thing signified by it.
1 Cor. 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. (KJV) . . . We all are baptized into the body of Christ and the family of God by the Holy Spirit.
Romans 6:3-5 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: (KJV) . . . See Romans commentary: http://www.godcannotlie.org/book_of_romans_ch.6.htm
Ephesians 4:6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. (KJV)
One God . . . God is here taken personally for the Father, the other two Persons being before mentioned (verses 4-5).
And Father of all . . .meaning He is a common Father to ALL who believe Him. But the fact, that the "Father of all" is mentioned by Paul as "God," does not prove that the Spirit and the Son are not also endowed with Divine attributes. That is determined by the attributes ascribed to the Son and the Holy Spirit in other places. All sincere Christians worship one God, and just one God . . . but they believe and understand that this one God consists of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, united in a very mysterious manner, and constituting the ONE God, and that there is NO other God anywhere. The Trinity: (Mat.3:16; 28:19; Mk.1:10-11; Jn.1:32-34; 14:16,26; 15:26; 16:13-14; Acts 1:4-5; Rom.5:5; 2 Cor.13:14; 1 Pet.1:2; 1 Jn.5:7).
Who is above all . . . not only in the merits of His nature, but especially in His sovereign dominion over the church.
And through all . . . by His special providence, through all the members of the church.
And in you all . . . by indwelling (Rom.8:9,11), and the unification of believers with Him. There is no TRUE believer in whose heart He does not dwell. You are His temple; and He abides in you (Eph.2:22; 1 Cor.6:19).
The list of seven of those unities:
#1. One body refers to the total number of believers from Pentecost to the Rapture. This one body is also called the invisible church, but this is not entirely accurate. All TRUE believers should also be visible.
#2. One Spirit refers to the Holy Spirit who baptizes each believer into the body of Christ. The work of the Holy Spirit is to unify believers in Christ. This is the unity that the TRUE believer is commanded to keep.
#3. One hope of your calling refers to the goal set before all TRUE believers. They will be taken out of this world into the Presence of Christ. This is the blessed hope (Tit.2:13).
#4. One Lord refers to the Lord Jesus Christ. His Lordship over TRUE believers creates unity in the church.
#5. One faith refers to the body of truth called the apostles' doctrine (Acts 2:42). When this is denied, there are divisions. There must be correct doctrine to unify TRUE believers.
#6. One baptism refers to the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which is REAL baptism. Ritual baptism is by water. Water baptism is just a symbol of the real baptism of the Holy Spirit by which TRUE believers are actually made one.
#7. One God and Father of all refers to God's fatherhood of believers. Since there is only one Father, He is NOT the Father of unbelievers. Being a child in the family of God can come only through Christ Jesus (Jn.1:13-14; 3:3-8; 14:6; Acts 4:12). The unity of TRUE believers produces a sharp division between believers and unbelievers. He is Father of all who are His by regeneration.
The church is to walk as a new man in this world. There is to be an exhibition. The church is to be outgoing, to witness, to manifest life.
The Growth of the New Man (Ephesians 4:7-16)
The church is not to remain a baby but is to mature, and God has given to each child of His grace in which to grow.
Ephesians 4:7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. (KJV)
But unto every one of us is given grace . . . I think that by grace, Paul either means gifts which are not common to all believers, but proper to some, according to their various tasks and places in the church (Rom.12:6; 1 Cor.12:11) . . . or it could consist also of those graces which are common to all believers as such, faith, hope, love, zeal, etc., which although they are of the same kind in all, and have the same object in mind, yet they are given in different degrees and measures.
According to the measure of the gift of Christ . . . in that amount in which it pleased Christ to give them, who gives to some, one kind of gift, to some another kind . . . and to some, one degree of grace, and to another a different degree. All believers do NOT have the same grace, gift or degree, but need the help of those that have what they lack. No gift is to be used only by self or for personal profit. A gift of some kind is given to every member of the body to enable him to function for a very definite reason in his position in the body. That is where we find the unity of the Spirit.
Ephesians 4:8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (KJV)
Wherefore he saith . . . the psalmist. Psalm 68:18 Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them. (KJV)
When he . . . Christ Jesus, God manifested in the flesh (Jn.1:14), and what was spoken by the psalmist prophetically in the second person, is repeated by the apostle historically.
Ascended up on high . . . Christ Jesus ascended up on high after His death, both as to place, in His human nature, into Heaven; and chiefly as to His state, in His being glorified.
He led captivity captive . . . captivity is here put for captives, and means all our spiritual enemies, who brought us into the captivity of sin. Jesus conquered those who had conquered us . . . sin, the devil and death. He prevailed over these on the cross; but the triumph was fully completed at His ascension, when He became Lord over all, and had the keys of death and hades put into His Hands (Rev.1:18). And He gave gifts unto men . . . in the Psalm it says, He received gifts for men . . . He received them . . . from Whom? From God the Father . . . so that He might GIVE them to us! Jesus received a large measure of gifts and graces, and above all, He enriched His apostles with the Gift of the Holy Ghost (Jn.14:16-18,26; 15:26). The apostle Paul, speaking of the ascension of Christ, takes notice that He first had to descend (verse 9). When Jesus ascended, He obtained the Gift of the Holy Ghost for the church. The gifts of the Holy Ghost are many: some people have greater, others have less . . . but they all are for the good of the church.
Ephesians 4:9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? (KJV)
Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first . . . Paul interprets the psalmist’s words, and determines that David, when he foretold Christ's glorification (His ascending up to Heaven), did also foresee His humiliation and descent to the Earth. When David speaks of God in the flesh ascending up on high, he implies that Christ should first descend to the Earth.
Into the lower parts of the earth . . . the lowest part of the visible world, and the opposite of Heaven, from where Christ came down (Jn.3:13; 6:33,28,41-42.50-51) . . . or the grave and state of the dead, or maybe both, implying the whole of His humiliation, the opposite to His ascending to glory.
Heaven stands opposed to Earth. One is above; the other is below. From Heaven, Christ descended to the Earth; and He came not only to the earth, but He stooped to the most humble condition of humanity here (Phil.2:6-8). Some understand this as the grave; others say it is the region of departed spirits.
Psalm 16:10 For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. (KJV)
Acts 2:27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. (KJV)
Acts 2:31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. (KJV) . . . See Acts 2:27-31. http://www.godcannotlie.org/book_of_acts_ch2.htm
Abraham’s Bosom, Hades, Hell, Paradise, Sheol:
Others say these interpretations do not seem necessary, because is the earth itself that stands in contrast with the heavens; and the idea is, that the Redeemer descended from His lofty prominence in Heaven, and became a Man of humble rank and condition. You decide.
Ephesians 4:10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) (KJV)
He that descended is the same also that ascended . . . to show that the Son of God did not by His descent (Jn.1:14), become other than what He was, nor that His assuming the human nature added anything to His Person, for a man is NOT made another person by the clothes he puts on. Christ descended without any change of His being God, but He ascended by changing place as Man, yet, the WHOLE Jesus is said to have ascended, for Jesus was BOTH God and Man! The Son of Man is the Son of God, He is BOTH God and Man (Mat.9:6; 12:8; 13:37,41; 16:27028; 19:10,28; 20:28; 26:64; Lk.19:10; 21:36; Jn.1:51; 3:13; 6:27,53; Acts 7:56).
His Second Coming . . . He IS coming again: (Mat.10:23; 24:27,30,37,39;44; 25:31; 26:64; Mk.8:38).
Far above all heavens . . . all visible heavens, into the third heaven, or paradise (Acts 3:21; Heb.9:24).
That he might fill all things . . . (Eph.1:23) all the members of His church, with gifts and graces. This fulfilling began at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-47), and shall continue to be fulfilled to the end of the world (Jn.7:39; 16:7).
Ephesians 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; (KJV)
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers . . . Jesus appointed some to be apostles, and others prophets (Rom.12:6; 1 Cor.12:28; 14:1), according to His Father's appointment, who is said to set in the church what Christ is here said to give. There is nothing said here of gifts, only of offices . . . BUT . . . Christ never gave offices without enabling the person to fulfill it. Apostles are extraordinary officers, with a personal call from Jesus. Disciples are learners of Christ! Prophets are extraordinary officers who did by immediate revelation from the Holy Spirit to interpret the Scriptures. Evangelists are also extraordinary officers, for the most part chosen by the apostles, as their companions and assistants in preaching the Word, and planting churches in the several places where they travelled, such as Timothy, Titus, Apollos and Silas. Pastors and teachers imply the distinct duties of teaching.
Ephesians 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: (KJV)
For the perfecting of the saints . . . properly refers to restoring, of anything to its place; putting in order, making complete. Here it means that these various officers were appointed in order that everything in the church might be properly arranged, or put into its proper place; or that the church might be complete. Paul wants Christians to have every possible advantage to become complete in love, knowledge and order. (1 Cor.1:10).
For the work of the ministry . . . which is to perfect the saints, and edify the body of Christ.
For the edifying of the body of Christ . . . the same as perfecting the saints, the building up the church, both in bringing in new members to it, and strengthening those that are already in, in faith and holiness (2Cor.13:9). The body of Christ . . . the church (Eph.1:23).
Ephesians 4:13 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: (KJV)
Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God . . . all believers, both Jews and Gentiles, in perfect unity where faith is the bond, that perfect uniformity of faith, until all Christians arrive at a state of complete unity, and to entire perfection and the same confidence in the Son of God (Jn.17:21-23; Eph.3:19).
Unto a perfect man . . . Paul compares the spiritual body of Christ (church) to a man, who hath his several ages and degrees of growth and strength, until he come to the height of both, and then he is a perfect man, or a man simply in opposition to a child (1 Cor.13:11). The church hath its infancy, its childhood, its youth, and is to have hereafter its perfect manhood and state of consistency in the other life, when, being arrived to its full pitch, it shall be past growing.
Unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ . . . the full measure of knowledge, love and holiness, which the Gospel of Christ requires. Many preachers, and millions of professing “Christians” study to find out how many imperfections and infidelities, and how much inward sinfulness, is consistent with a SAFE state in religion . . . BUT . . . how many study to find out if they are fit for the heavenly army? The measure of the stature of the fullness is seldom seen; but the measure of the stature of littleness and emptiness, is often exhibited. 1 Cor.11:31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. (KJV)
Ephesians 4:14 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; (KJV)
That we henceforth be no more children . . . weak in the faith, unstable in judgment. Children, here, are opposed to the perfect man in the preceding verse; and the state of both is well explained by the apostle's suggestions. The man is grown up strong and healthy, and has attained such a measure or height as qualifies him for the most respectable place; while the child is ignorant, weak and unsteady, tossed about in the confusions of youth.
Tossed to and fro . . . like a ship with no cargo, tossed with every wave.
And carried about with every wind of doctrine . . . not only shaken and staggering as to faith, but carried about to errors for lack of judgment and wisdom, by false doctrines, here compared to violent winds.
By the sleight of men . . . their dishonesty, whereby they easily seduce those that are untrained, just as men easily cheat children in playing games, from whence this symbol is taken.
And cunning craftiness . . .their skillfulness in finding ways to deceive, whereby they can make anything of anything.
Whereby they lie in wait to deceive . . . as in ambush. The apostle desires that they be have them fenced in with the whole armour of God, and seems to signify a laying in ambush, or assaulting a man behind his back; a laying wait to draw them that are weak from the truth. Eph.6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. (KJV)
Ephesians 4:15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: (KJV)
But speaking the truth in love . . . following the truth in love. We should not only not be seduced by the craftiness of men, but constantly stick to and persevere in, the belief of the Truth, and always uniting love with it. This would show our growing up, and being no more children.
May grow up unto him . . . again, this is opposed to being children. We are not to stand still, but grow to maturity (Heb.6:1).
In all things . . . in knowledge, faith, love and all the parts of the new man.
Which is the head, even Christ . . . our growth must be with reverence to Christ our Head, as the end of it. We must grow in our acknowledgment of Him, and dependence upon Him, for it is He by whom we are influenced, and from whom all our ability and strength proceeds. Whatever increase we make, we must never magnify ourselves, but exalt our beloved Head.
Ephesians 4:16 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. (KJV)
From whom the whole body . . . the church, is compared with the human body. Just as the head in the human sends vital influences, rigor, motion, etc., to every part of the body, so too Christ is the source of life, and rigor, and energy, and increase, to the church. Every member contributes to its healthful and harmonious action. The whole body is the spiritual body, or church of believers, where every TRUE saint is a member (Rom.12:4-5).
Fitly joined together . . . in the right place and order, both in respect to Christ the Head, and of the members in that order. Some are eyes, some ears, some hands, some feet (1 Cor.12:15-16).
And compacted . . . firmly knit together, so as not to be separated.
By that which every joint supplieth . . . the word joint here means anything which binds, fastens, secures; and does not refer to the joint in the sense in which we commonly use it, as meaning the joining of two or more bones; but rather that which unites or fastens together the different parts of the frame: the blood, vessels, cords, tendons, and muscles. The meaning is that every part of the body (church) is connected with another, to minister nourishment and support, and that in this way the body is sustained. One part is dependent on another; one part gets nourishment from another; so all become mutually useful as contributing to the support and harmony of the whole.
According to the effectual working . . . the power of Christ, who, as a Head, influences and enlivens every member in sharing with others the gifts it hath received.
In the measure of every part . . . each part contributes to the production of the whole result, or labors for this. No one is idle; none is useless. But none are overtaxed or overworked. This is a beautiful account of the anatomy of the human frame.
Maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love . . . how can we grow more and more like Christ? The answer is that Christ forms us into a body . . . into a group of individuals who are united in their purpose and in their love for one another and for the Lord. If one person stumbles, the rest of the group is there to pick that person up and help him or her walk with God again. If a person sins, he or she can find restoration through the church (Gal.6:1). As part of Christ's body (church), do you reflect part of Christ's character and carry out your special role in His work?
The Bans of the New Man (Ephesians 4:17-32)
Ephesians 4:17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, (KJV)
This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord . . . I beseech or adjure you by the Lord (Rom.12:1; Phil.2:1).
That ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind . . . as other Gentiles walk . . . showing that the mass of converts in the church at Ephesus were from among the heathen, and Paul regarded them as Gentile converts. Intellectual pride and many different excuses keep people from God. We should not be surprised if people cannot understand the Good News of the Gospel. It will seem like foolishness to those who forsake faith and rely on their own understanding (1 Cor.1:18-25).
Ephesians 4:18 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: (KJV)
Having the understanding darkened . . . means their minds cannot see spiritual things.
Being alienated from the life of God . . . not only strangers to it, but separated from it; meaning, that before Adam’s sin, it was not so. The life of God . . . is a spiritual life; one which God orders and approves, and whereby God lives in believers, and they live in Him (Gal.2:19-21); both to the principle of life, and the actions of it.
Through the ignorance that is in them . . . that ignorance which is naturally in them is the cause of their alienation from the life of God. Only that life of God brings in light and knowledge.
Because of the blindness of their heart . . . blindness = hardness of heart. Either this is set down as another cause of their estrangement from the life of God, or as the cause of their ignorance. Although in part it is natural to them, it is increased to further degrees by their own hardness and stubbornness, shutting their eyes willingly against the light.
Ephesians 4:19 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. (KJV)
Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness . . . had lost all sense and conscience of sin: a higher degree or effect of the hardness before mentioned (1 Tim.4:2). They had willingly yielded themselves to the power of their own lust and lasciviousness, and were commanded by it, without resisting it.
To work all uncleanness with greediness . . . they not only burned with inward lusts, but fulfilled those lusts in the outright acts . . . just like people today. All uncleanness . . . is all sorts of uncleanness, even the most monstrous (Rom.1:24,26-27; 1 Cor.6:9; Gal.5:19). BEWARE!!! It is all around us, and getting worse and worse with each passing day. With greediness . . . this means those that prostituted themselves for gain; with a never ending desire of still going on in their filthiness.
Ephesians 4:20 But ye have not so learned Christ; (KJV)
But ye have not so learned Christ . . . TRUE Christians have been taught a different thing by Christ Jesus . . . that being, that faith in Him demands that you abandon such a coarse of life.
Ephesians 4:21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: (KJV)
If so be that ye have heard him . . . Christ Jesus SPEAKS to you in the Gospel (Heb.12:25), and when you HEAR Him, you had better obey, or you are not a TRUE Christian, but instead a hypocrite.
And have been taught by him . . . or taught in Him; in or by (Col.1:16; Heb.1:2). This relates to the power of the Word, and the impression made by it upon the heart. If you have not only heard of Him by the hearing of the ear, but have been effectively taught by the Holy Spirit to know Him, and receive His doctrine (Isa.54:13; Jn.6:45) . . .
As the truth is in Jesus . . . as it really is, and hath been taught by Christ Himself, both in His doctrine and His lifestyle. That is the true way of a Christian's living; as in the following verses: (Jn.17:17; Tit.1:1). If you have listened attentively to His instructions, and learned the true nature of His doctrine.
TRUE Christians: http://hisservants.org/christian_workers_h_s.htm
Ephesians 4:22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; (KJV)
That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man . . . a common image, taken from clothing, suggesting a total abandoning, and casting away, like a filthy garment not to be put on again. It opposes putting on (verse 24), and is the same as mortifying (Col.3:5), and crucifying (Gal.6:14). Eph.2:2 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: (KJV) Paul shows how they (and us) should put off their old man, by abandoning their old ways; the same as putting off the old man with his deeds (Col.3:9). The old man . . . the corruption and depravity of nature.
Which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts . . . our old nature corrupts and leads us to destruction (Gal.6:8), which daily grows worse and more corrupt when its lusts are fulfilled.
A TRUE Christian is to cast away, put off, lay aside, reject, and renounce our old ways.
Ephesians 4:23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; (KJV)
And be renewed in the spirit of your mind . . . we are told in Romans that the old man has already been crucified in the death of Christ. "Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin" (Rom. 6:6). Because of this truth, that the old man has already been crucified with Christ, we are to put it off by the power of the Holy Spirit. This does NOT mean that the old nature, is ever eliminated in this life. We do NOT get rid of the old nature, but we are NOT to allow it to control our lives. We are given power to control it.
On the other hand, we DO have a new nature. This is the result of regeneration by the Holy Spirit. Any man in Christ is a new creature (Gal.6:15; 2 Cor.5:17). We are to live in that new nature, that new man. This repeats the great message of Romans.
Since we have been declared righteous and we are in Christ seated in the heavenly places, our walk down here should match our position.
Ephesians 4:24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. (KJV)
And that ye put on the new man . . . this is the same image of a garment as before, to show the closeness of the new man with us, and its being as clothing to us. The new man is a new nature of the whole man, called the new creature (2 Cor.5:17), and a divine nature (2 Pet.1:4).
Which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness . . . we are created after God's image (Rom.8:29; Col.3:10). True holiness is that which denies any and all corruption in our duty to God and man. True . . . is sincere and sound. Just as righteousness and holiness are opposed to lusts (verse 22), so true here is opposed to deceitful there.
Ephesians 4:25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. (KJV)
Wherefore putting away lying . . . all dishonesty, falsehoods, lies . . . and whatever is contrary to truth.
Speak every man truth . . . not only speak as things are, but act and speak honestly, sincerely and openly.
For we are members one of another . . . therefore we must be helpful to one another.
Ephesians 4:26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: (KJV)
Be ye angry and sin not . . . the TRUE believer is commanded to be angered with certain conditions and with certain people. No believer can be neutral (sit on the fence) in the battle of truth. He must hate the lying and gossiping tongue, especially of another Christian . . . BUT . . . he must NOT hate the person with a hatred or malice (1 Pet.2:1). What is malice? It is an “I will get even with you” attitude! When the wrong is corrected, there should be NO hostility. Forgive and forget is the answer. Harboring hatred and sinful feelings gives the devil a huge advantage in our lives. The Lord Jesus showed anger, righteous anger! He went into the synagogue, and there was a man with a withered hand. What angered Him was that the Pharisees had planted that man there just to see what He would do. "And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other" (Mark 3:5). Our Lord was angry at the Pharisees for doing such a thing. Also we are told that God is angry all day long with the wicked, but that the minute they give up their wickedness and turn to Him, He will save them. That should be the attitude of TRUE believers. Do we always do right? NO! We have failed in the past and we shall again fail in the future. But, God does forgive us (1 Jn.1:8-10).
Let not the sun go down upon your wrath . . . IF your anger is excessive, Paul cautions here that we be reconciled before the sun go down.
Ephesians 4:27 Neither give place to the devil. (KJV)
Neither give place to the devil . . . this has respect most likely to Paul's advice in the former verse. We should never yield to the suggestions and temptations of Satan, who would take every opportunity to persuade you to cherish unkind and angry feelings, and to keep up a spirit of resentment among brethren. Many times, we think we are merely defending our rights, and securing what is our own, BUT they are produced by the temptations of the devil. The heart is deceitful (Jer.17:9); and seldom more deceitful when a man is trying to vindicate himself from injuries done to him person and his reputation. Words of wisdom: No man sins by restraining his anger.
Ephesians 4:28 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. (KJV)
Let him that stole steal no more . . . stealing is seeking your own gain by any way, defrauding others, whether by taking away, or unjustly keeping back what is theirs.
But rather let him labour . . . persistently and industriously, as the word imports. Idleness is condemned as leading to theft.
Working with his hands the thing which is good . . . as the only instrument by which most arts and trades are exercised . . . not in any unlawful way, but in an honest calling. Idle hands are the devil's workshop!
That he may have to give to him that needeth . . . that he may have not only enough to live on, and prevent stealing, but some to help those in want (Lk.21:2).
I have a hard time with all these able-bodied people on welfare! That is NOT what the Bible teaches. Many so-called “Christians” are in this category, They are not TRUE Christians! 2 Thes.3:10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. (KJV) . . . Also see: (1 Ki.4:25; Mic.4:4; Zec.3:10). It will NOT be like this in the Millennium!
Ephesians 4:29 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. (KJV)
Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth . . . aggressive, unprofitable, distasteful, offensive.
But that which is good to the use of edifying . . . speech that is good, tending to build up faith and purity, that it may give grace to those who hear it.
That it may minister grace to the hearers . . . by which grace may be communicated to or increased in them, by instruction and exhortation.
Ephesians 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. (KJV)
And grieve not the holy Spirit of God . . . by corrupt communication. The Spirit is said to be grieved when anything is done or said by us, which might cause grief to Him; or when we so offend Him with our sin, as to make Him withdraw His Presence from us (Isa.63:10). BEWARE!!!
Whereby ye are sealed . . . or set apart or marked, and secured unto the day of redemption (Eph.1:14; 2 Cor.1:22). They are so sealed so that they shall be safely delivered one day.
Unto the day of redemption . . . full and final salvation at the resurrection (Lk.21:28; Rom.8:23).
Ephesians 4:31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: (KJV)
Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger . . . these all seem to mean the inward affection, as the two following mean the results of it. Bitterness might suggest a secret displeasure at another, or a confirmed and permanent one; wrath is the boiling up of the passion, and anger a desire of revenge (Col.3:8).
And clamour . . . an excessive loudness as men in anger are prone to break out into in their words.
And evil speaking . . . with respect to God or man, although man seems especially meant here; railing (1 Tim.6:4), reviling (1 pet.2:23), reproaching (2 Cor.12:10), the ordinary effects of excessive anger.
With all malice . . . maliciousness (Rom.1:29), or malignity of heart (Rom.1:29), which opposes kindness and tenderness (Rom.12:10; 1 Cor.13:4; 2 Cor.2:10; 6:6; Col.3:12-13; 2 Pet.1:7).
Ephesians 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. (KJV)
And be ye kind . . . sweet and friendly in words and conversation (Lk.5:35).
Tender-hearted . . . merciful, quickly moved to compassion: so we have bowels of mercies (Col.3:12).
Forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you . . . be ready to forgive, imitating God, who for Christ's sake has forgiven you, more than you can ever forgive to one another (Mat.6:12).
TRUE Christianity makes us courteous, polite, NOT rough, grumpy, and bitter. We are not to violate the proper rules of our spiritual association. The secret of true politeness is compassion, kindness and mercy and a desire to make others happy; and a TRUE Christian should be the most polite of men. We are to imitate our Lord Jesus, He was not bitter, crabby, doubtful, rude, repulsive or hot tempered. We are supposed to let the Holy Spirit work in our lives, NOT grieve Him. Gal. 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. (KJV)
Book of Ephesians
Eph. ch.1 . . Eph. ch.2 . . Eph. ch.3 . . Eph. ch.4 . . Eph. ch.5 . . Eph. ch.6 . . Ephesians Special Comments