Examining Ephesians-Part 20-Theology In Doxology

"Theology" is a word not to be afraid of, because it simply means the study of God. Doxology has to do with praise and usually is expressed in a hymn of praise. Much truth about God can be conveyed in this kind of hymn. Such is the case in Ephesians 3:20-21. In Verse 20, God is addressed. Paul (and we can and should, too) is honoring God and speaking of His ability. God is able! (This, by itself, is truth! God is able!)  Able to do, in what way?  "..above all that we ask or think.."  We can ask a lot of things. Just because He is able doesn't mean that He will do all that we ask. He will always act in harmony with His Word and Character. We can think of a lot but His thoughts are higher than ours and He thinks beyond our present thoughts. His thoughts are always right. Ours aren't!  He is able to do "abundantly above all that we ask or think,…". Wait a minute! He "is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think,…".  By what means? "..according to (by means of) the power…" God's Power!  "The Word of God is quick (living; alive) and powerful…" (i.e; full of power. God's) This power, in the Person of the Holy Spirit, is working "in us,…" (Those who are His). Paul heaps on some more praise, in these words: "Unto Him be glory.." (exaltation, honor) "..in the Church.." "..by Christ Jesus throughout all ages,.."  He adds this:  "world" (ages) "..without end.  Amen."      Selah!  For endless ages, He will be glorified, in the Church! That's us who are truly born again. This is, most certainly, something to engage our minds.  Ron

Examining Ephesians-Part 19- A Profound Prayer

Paul lets us see into a very private part of his life. We are going to see some of what he talks about with God, in Ephesians 3:13-19. He takes them right into his heart and motivation in Verses 13-14. Don't lose heart, he says, because of my tribulations. These troubles are for your glory. This is the reason that "I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,…". The reason is to fulfill his comission to the Gentiles. In Verse 15, he tells them (and us) that we are named after Jesus Christ. We are "Christ"ians, Christ's ones!  What an honor! Never bring discredit on that Holy Name! Turning to Verses 16-19, Paul asks that they would be strong by the might of the Holy Spirit, in proportion to the riches of His Glory. He asks that Christ will "be at home" (dwell) in their hearts, by faith. He desires that they be "rooted and grounded in love,…". He adds to his petitions, that they "may be able to comprehend, with all saints,…" all the dimensions of and the knowledge of His love. But then he says that Christ's love is beyond knowledge. This simply means that it is not enough to know it. We need to be conscious of and sensitive to His love. He winds down, but with intensity asks that they and us "might be filled with all the fullness of God". Wow!  Again, I say, wow! Selah! Think of this prayer being prayed for you who are His. Then let your heart echo this thought: "My God, How great Thou art!"     Ron

Examing Ephesians-Part 18-God’s Showcase

Ephesians, Chapter 3, Verses 1-12, gives us a little glimpse of a Glorious Plan and future. In Verse 1, we hear Paul describe himself as "the prisoner of Jesus Christ for…Gentiles". This remarkable letter was sent from a prison cell! In Verses 2–6 (Do, please, read it carefully), Paul refers to a mystery. It is not a mystery in the commonly accepted sense that the word is used today. It is something that has been hidden but is now revealed. It is that the Gentiles and Jews, who receive Jesus as their Savior and Lord, are now one in a most astonishing living, breathing, pulsating, entity, His Body, the Church!  Paul, in these verses, informs his readers (that includes us who have come to Christ) that this marvelous revelation was given to him. Further, he is comissioned to preach it to Jew and Gentile. Still further, it was revealed "unto His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit". They had a role to play in this God-given drama. However, Paul's role was to major in reaching out to Gentiles. This was done by God's Grace and His effective power, according to Verse 7. The great Apostle's subject matter and responsibility is stated in Verses 8-9. He is to proclaim the unsearchable riches of Christ and he is to open their eyes so that they understand the mystery that has been hidden in God. This is the "God, who created all things by Jesus Christ,..". God's reason for this stunning plan is given in Verses10-11. The Church, saved Jews and Gentiles, of this age in which we live, are trophies of His Grace in Christ. They are now being, and will be, showcased for all of creation to behold. Only God could transform ruined sinners into saints and make them a temple meet for His dwelling! He eternally purposed this in Christ before He created the earth. Verse 12 tells us that, in Christ, we have wonderful access to the Father, with confidence, by faith! Selah! Let your mind and heart be filled with praise for our loving God.   Ron

Examining Ephesians-Part 17-The Thrill Of Being “In The Church”

Verses 19-22 of Ephesians, Chapter 2, give us a picture of what being "in the Church" is all about, for those who have been placed in this Glorious organism (i.e; His Body, Spiritually). We can and should be involved in a local church but many who are unsaved do that. Only those who are born again are part of His Body. Those who are truly saved and are part of a local church give visible expression of His Spiritual Body to the world around them. Verse 19 reveals that "we" (See yesterday) are "no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God;…". Verse 20 enlarges the picture to show that we "are built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets,…". This foundation is Jesus, Himself! (See I Corinthians 3:11.) He is also "the chief corner stone". (See I Peter 2:6.) He is the stability and strength of His Body! Verse 21 enlarges the picture even more. "In whom (Christ) all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord;…". What a picture! This unique edifice is well built and is comprised of living stones (true believers). (See I Peter 2:5.) This building, alive with the Resurrection Life of Jesus, "grows unto an Holy Temple…" Jesus is adding living stones, even today, from all over the world to His Body, which is a growing temple. Verse 22 fills out the picture with this reminder: "In Whom ye also are built together for an habitation of God through the Spirit". God is dwelling in His Temple!! We are that Temple, individually and collectively! God dwells in His children. Selah! Has it gripped you, if you really know Him, that He Lives–in you?!  Is your Temple clean?  Is He comfortable, living in you?    Ron

Examining Ephesians-Part 16-The Rift Has Been Healed!

We learned yesterday, in Ephesians, Chapter 2, that those (mostly Gentiles) spoken of in Verses 1-10 are the ones brought close to God. In Verses 11-13, God, through Paul, explains that, in Christ Jesus, Gentiles are brought near to God. Continuing, in Verses 14-18, Paul says, in Verse 14, that Christ, "hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us" (i.e; Jew and Gentile). The prejudice is dissolved in the Church, when Christians are compliant with the Holy Spirit's teaching. We are told, in this same verse, that "He is our (Jew and Gentile) peace, who hath made both one." We learn how in Verse 15. Jesus, "abolished in His flesh (i.e; His human body) the enmity". This enmity is: "the law of commandments contained in ordinances,..". All of  the Law's demands were satisfied in His atoning death on the Cross. The Law was (and is today) our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. ( See Galatians 3:24 ) The Law was given to Israel but is now superseded by " law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus" so that now "the righteousness of the Law is fulfilled in us, who walk…. after the Spirit" (See Romans 8:2, 4). With the Mosaic Law abolished, the Jews share the new Law (mentioned above) with the Gentiles, when both embrace the peace that Jesus made on the Cross ( Chapter 2, Verse 16 ). Verse 16 goes on to say why he did all of this. It was "to reconcile both unto God in one Body" (i.e; the Church, His Spiritual Body). Verses17-18 remind us that Jesus "came and preached peace to" both those who were close and those far off. Verse 18 also tells us that we both "have access…unto the Father.." "by one Spirit". All this through Jesus and what His Sacrifice accomplished! Selah! In the Church, His Body, how wonderful it is to our hearts and minds that we are simply "Christians", if we have taken Him as Savior and Lord!   Ron

Examining Ephesians-Part 15-Only God Could Do It! (Cont’d)

(It would make today's study much more effective, if you reviewed blog for 9/24/08.)

Returning to Ephesians 2:11, we are reminded that "in time past" we were "Gentiles in the flesh" and were "called Uncircumcision". We were called that "by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands". Uncircumcision was a term of derision. "Circumcision" was, almost always, a term that gave, the one who used it, a feeling of superiority. But it was "made by hands". It was a sign given to Jews, of God's Covenant. This sign was performed by human beings. God now does a Spiritual circumcision. (See Colossians 2:11.) When we are baptized, Spiritually, into His Body, the Church, we are, as it were, cut away from our "Adamic" body and transplanted into His Body. We are removed from the old Adam and become incorporated into the Last Adam, Jesus.  Verse 12 of Ephesians 2, drives home the change, from the time when we were "without Christ,…aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world." What a drastic condition; what a dramatic change! Verse 13 describes the profound difference. "now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes (i.e; once) were far off are made nigh (i.e; near) by the blood of Christ." Selah!  As you think on this, recall that all of this has to do with us, who are Gentiles, who have opened our lives to Jesus. Tomorrow, Lord willing, we will examine where Jews, who come to Him, fit in. The mystery continues to be revealed.  Ron

Examining Ephesians-Part 14-Only God Could Do It!

Note: Sorry to be late posting today.

Verse 11, of Ephesians 2, opens up a truly remarkable work of God. Something new has shown up on the horizon of our thoughts. A whole new entity has been created! Israel (speaking nationally) has been put on hold since her rejection of Jesus as her Messiah. This new entity, referred to as a "body", is the Church. This is the people described in Verses 1-10 who were "dead in trespasses and sins;". Now, as we will discover, all who come to Christ in genuine saving faith, Jews and Gentiles alike, have their Spiritual identity changed. Nationally, ethnically, they remain Jew or Gentile. Spiritually, they are neither. They are now "Christians" (i.e; the Church). They are "the one new man" of Verse 15. In the Church, His (Jesus') Body, there should not be labels such as Jewish Christian or Gentile Christian but rather just "Christian". He is the head of this "Body". Let's focus and center on Him, not on our national heritage. This Church was begun on the Day of Pentecost and will reach its' completion at the Rapture. Then God will resume His dealings with Israel as a nation. The nations have a place in all of God's planning. However, the creation of the Church is a special, parenthetical ( i.e; between Israel's 69th and 70ieth "week" [See Daniel 9:24] ) work of God. We will deal with this new creation, more directly from the Word, over the next two or three days, Lord willing.  Selah!  Invest time and prayerful thought in these great prophetic truths. It will reward you richly! We, who are His, are a very significant signal that God is right on schedule.  Ron

Examining Ephesians-Part 13-Grace In Salvation

"Familiarity breeds contempt."  So says some wise sage from the past. This danger could rob you of the depth of these next three verses of Ephesians, Chapter 2.  Beginning at Verse 8, think thoroughly on truths that could be missed, simply because we are so familiar with these verses. In Verse 8, we are told that we are saved "…by Grace.." and we are further told that the channel for that Grace is "..through faith;..".  Grace is many faceted! Here, it is God's favor, that we don't deserve, granted to us just because He loves us. Faith is not some feeling! Faith is a decision to take God at His Word! Salvation is a gift! Salvation is in no way, something that happens by something that we do. We do not contribute to it in any form. Our only responsibility is to receive the gift. Then Verse 9 emphasizes and elaborates on this. It is "..not of works (i.e; of righteousness),…". Why? "lest any man should boast.". If we did one thing to merit salvation, we would, in one way or another, boast (even if we only boasted, maybe only a little, to ourselves). Verse 10 conveys more vital truth. "…we are His workmanship,..". He does the work!! What is He working on, creatively,  in us who are His? We are "created in Christ Jesus.."  We are, you will remember, in Him and He is in us! Because He is in us, His nature being present in us and the expressing of that nature being, more and more, accomplished, we will discover that we are created, in Him, "unto good works…"  In fact, "God hath before ordained (i.e; ruled, determined) that we should walk in them." Good works are the inevitable products of His nature. Selah!  Please go back over and think deeply on this article.   Ron

Examining Ephesians-Part 12-Accomplishments Of Grace (Cont’d)

 Yesterday,we left off with "But God". Today, let's return to Ephesians 2, Verse 4, for a closer look. This God is rich in mercy!  How rich?  Infinitely!  Limitless!   Where would we be, if it were not for God's mercy? The verse goes on to speak of "His great love with which He loved us,..". Verses 5-6 show some of what His love accomplishes. "…when we were dead in sins,…" (we were spiritual corpses, completely separated from God's Life!) "hath quickened us  (i.e; made us alive; reconnected us to His Life) together with Christ…". We became sharers in Jesus' Resurrection Life! We had His Life imparted to us! Wonder of wonders! Then, Paul goes on to remind us that "(by grace ye are saved)". The wonder continues! In Verse 6, we read "..and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in Heavenly places (i.e; in the realm of Heaven) in Christ Jesus..". Because we are in Him, we are already seated with Him, where He sits. This is our exalted position and our guarantee that what we now enjoy, positionally, we will one day experience in actuality! Verse 7 tells us why He has done all of this. "That in the ages to come (i.e; eternity) He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus." Selah! Can we ever comprehend the fullness of His love and Grace? No! Because it will be more and more displayed, on and on, forever!  Ron

Examining Ephesians-Part 11-Accomplishments Of Grace

Chapter 2 of Ephesians brings home to us the wonders of "Saving Grace". The sweep of this chapter is astonishing! As we look at Verse 1, we are informed that, spiritually, we "were dead in trespasses and sins;…". Moving to verse 2, Paul, under inspiration, directs our thoughts back to the time when we were lost and reminds us that we "in times past…walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, (i.e; Satan), the spirit that now (i.e; still) worketh in the children of disobedience…". Paul adds, in Verse 3, that it was among the children of disobedience that we "also…all had our conversation (i.e; lifestyle), in times past in the lusts (i.e; strong desires) of our flesh, fulfilling (i.e; giving in to) the desires of the flesh (i.e; our sinful human nature, inherited from Adam), and of the mind (i.e; the unregenerated mind, the one we were born with), and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others." In plain English, we were headed for hell! "But God". These opening words of Verse 4 open up insights into the wonders of redemption and the miracle of the New Birth. What if nothing happened to change the whole course of our life? Selah! Have you ever considered what it would be like, if God hadn't intervened?  Ron