Reading through Ephesians Part 2.
I believe that Ephesians was written to leaders in the church on how to mature and flourish in the gifts God had given them. The Ephesians are challenged to stop being childish and fighting with each other and focus instead on living a pure life, being a witness to others, growing in the gifts God has given them,
and fighting on the battle lines with the church against the plans of the enemy. Here are my thoughts as I finished up Ephesians… See previous post for Chapters 1-3.
Read the chapters of the Bible here:
Ephesians 4-6 – Passage Lookup – New International Version, ©2010 – BibleGateway.com
Ephesians 4 –
Paul addresses Unity and Maturity in the Body of Christ
I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. (Maturity)
- Be completely humble and gentle;
- be patient, bearing with one another in love.
Key: Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
Reminded that it is the “unity of the Spirit” – We can’t always live at peace, things bother us, people offend us… what to do? Live by the Spirit, not your old way of thinking and doing things. Get peace for the situation by allowing the Holy Spirit to work on your heart and rule it. Let peace rule your mind and heart in your relationships… Remember, Satan LOVES decention. He may not be able to get you to stop following Jesus, but He certainly works overtime and succeeds in planting seeds of decention in our hearts. Just one offense, just one frustration, just one misunderstanding…. if allowed to take root in your heart can lead to a whole lot of mess. Leaders, keep short accounts, deal with conflict timely, and allow no bitter root to spring up!
Each one of us has been given grace and gifts… and leaders to encourage us and push us to use those gifts…
So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up
Unity and Maturity. “until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. ”
Maturity- “striving to be perfect in attitudes & motives” I believe here Paul is talking about not being tossed back and forth by gossip, by emotions, by people’s interpretations of the bible and also by people’s craftiness and scheming for position in the church.
Unity- speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the the church, from those in authority to the new believer. Building the church by encourging each person’s gift that God has given them. ” the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”
A Christian leader should have a new way of thinking! Those raising up leaders should insist on it!
17 “So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking… They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.”
“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness”
What does this new attitude look like?
- put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.
- Deal with Anger26 “In your anger do not sin”[d]:Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28
- Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.
- 29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 (When we talk about others, gossip, slander ect… it grieves the Holy Spirit within us and He can no longer work out Grace and Peace in our lives)
- Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32
- Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Dealing with Life;
Walk in Love, even if it is a sacrifice, after all, what good is Jesus sacrifice for us if we don’t show the same kind of love for others.
Speaks for itself: “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. 4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. 5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.[e] 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7 Therefore do not be partners with them.”
Note: This is talking to leaders in the church which is why it is so harsh… Stop pretending to be holy in the church, but it’s ok with “Christian Friends” to joke around ect. We need to understand that the harsh tone of this scripture is intended for those inside the body… Grace and acceptance is offered to those who are needing to hear the “Good News”. The harsh tone is for those taking advantage of the good news and the mercy offered. I think this makes God sooo upset.
We are then encouraged to live as children of the light… which means finding out what pleases God and then doing it!
15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.
I think the people were frustrated with each other and their own lives which is why he is again encouraging them not to run away from the issues (ie drink their problems away)… “Don’t be drunk, which leads to stupid actions, but take time to be filled up with the Spirit” so that they could get enough grace to live a wise life making the most of every opportunity.
Big key for Christian living: Stop complaining and Worship… give thanks to God!
“always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus” Christ. Sing songs of praise to God for being your help in every situation… worship your way through the tough times.
Instructions for Christian Households
For the married…It boils down to this…..
Husbands, love your wife. aka: like Jesus loves the church. Selfless.
Wives, respect your husband. period. and in all circumstances.
Guarantee if you follow this “formula” in word, tone, priorities and actions… a whole lot of problems in our marriages will end. Husbands, respect is easy to give if love is abundant, Wives, choose to respect them first, cause love comes easy after that.
Practical tips for living:
Children: the first commandment with a promise
Commandment: 1 “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. (not conditional, as long as it is not sinful.. “in the Lord” meaning doing it not by feeling but because God says so and will give you grace to do it.), 2 “Honor your father and mother”— (again…Not conditional)
The Promise: “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”
Parents: do not exasperate your children;
instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
Employees: obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. 6 Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. 7 Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, 8 because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.
Employers: And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.
How to walk in peace & grace
maturity & humility:
- 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. (It’s not our own strength or maturity)
- 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. (Action!!!! You have to PUT IT ON!... so that you can stand.) We gotta stop trying to stand against the enemy and our flesh in our own strength!
- 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (The real enemy is not the person you are irritated with… stop letting them get to ya and fight the real battle. Choose to forgive, set your will to forgive ahead of time.)
- 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.(says it twice… we must put it on everyday!!!) So what is it?
- 14 Stand firm then, (How to stand and put on the armor)
- with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, (Truth is your “core” Strength. God’s Truth combined with a truthful mouth and heart are a HUGE weapon)
- with the breastplate of righteousness in place, (being righteous or “right with God and pursuing what pleases Him” will guard your heart from following your own desires”
- 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. (Ready to preach the gospel and how it is workin in your life every where you go…If there is peace in your heart with people and situations, telling of the goodness of the Gospel will be so easy… no peace in your heart and the gospel is uneffective.)
- 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. (believe in a Big God… and all the plans and purposes for you and His church, this will stop the arrows that come to take you out.)
- 17 Take the helmet of salvation (God wants to save our thinking… helmet of salvation, he cares about your thoughts and is helping your work out your salvation by going to Him with everything…Prayer instead of analyzing too much. backsliding starts with a thought process)
- and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (What we fight with… We gotta know the Word… it is the only effective weapon to use in life, prayer, worship, decisions, relationships, ect.)
- 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. (All day long Pray for eachother, pray for everything big or small… Pray in tounges often! If we would just pray for people instead of the gossip thought pattern….)
Pray for boldness to speak and fight:
“19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.”
What ever you are going through today, God’s grace is enough for you. He has a way for you to make it through… Get your attitudes adjusted by God, Put on the Armor of God to fight against whatever the enemy has put in your path. Get Submitted to the Pastors, and leaders who have been entrusted by God to instruct you and push you into the gifts God has given you. Get plugged in, using your gifts in the church.
God’s weapons of choice: Peace, Love and Grace… All leaders need to abound in these!
Praying for ya, leading is not easy, but it is worth it!