Ephesus was a major Greco - Roman seaport on the west coast of Turkey and was one of the seven churches addressed by John in the book of Revelation. The city was devoted to the Roman goddess Artemis (Athena), and was a chief location for the worship of the goddess in Asia Minor.
Luke in the book of Acts records that Paul preached in Ephesus when a man named Gallio was the proconsul (regional governor) of the province there. The local Jews (out of jealousy as usual), stirred up the populace there claiming that Paul was there to destroy worship of Artemis. They dragged Paul before Gallio who refused to prosecute Paul and let him go.
A letter from Claudius Caesar to Gallio has been found and dated to 52 A.D. and it is also known that Gallio ruled for only one year, thereby anchoring the date of Paul's visit.
It is believed that Paul wrote this letter in 62 A.D. while imprisoned in Rome awaiting his first trial before Nero Caesar concerning false charges brought before Roman Governor Felix by the High Priest, elders and scribes in Jerusalem.
1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus:
2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,
4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,
5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,
6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.
Paul briefly identifies himself as an apostle to Jesus Christ, as most of the church in Ephesus knew him from his prior visit, and if any had questions about him they could ask the elders of the church about Paul.
Paul reminds his audience of our inheritance in Jesus, in that we were chosen and pre-destined before the world was created to become sons of God through faith, and we will inherit God's kingdom as sons through adoption through faith and obedience in Jesus Christ.
7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace
8 which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence,
9 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself,
10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth--in Him.
11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will,
12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.
Paul explains the purpose of Jesus' death and resurrection and that it was foreordained by God from the beginning for our eternal salvation and has been revealed to us when He determined that the timing was right.
Paul also confirms that Jesus alone is the eternal mediator between God and Man, bridging both the physical and the spiritual in one person. As it has been said of Jesus: God's Man, and Man's God.
13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,
14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
Jesus promised us that He would never leave us alone, yet he has to remain in Heaven until the Father gives Him permission to return. So in order to keep his promise, the Holy Spirit was sent to us to be with us until He is given permission to return for his kingdom.
Paul uses an analogy very much like buying a piece of property. The Holy Spirit is the down payment used to hold the property until full payment can be made. Therefore Jesus, being God, can simultaneously be with us as He promised and still remain in Heaven with His Father until the time comes for Him to claim His kingdom.
15 Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints,
16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers:
17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him,
18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,
19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power
20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,
21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.
22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church,
23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
In this passage, Paul mentions that he is praying for the church members in Ephesus that they might receive wisdom and knowledge of Jesus and God's purposes through Him in order to better fight Satan and to lay up for themselves treasures in heaven which are far greater than those of the world.
Among the greatest treasures God has given us is wisdom and knowledge of both Himself and His Son Jesus Christ. For through this knowledge we can understand God's plan of salvation, what is required of us to please Him, and through knowledge and understanding we have hope in this increasingly dark and sinful world.
Wisdom is priceless, and riches can be taken away in a moment, but wisdom is a lifelong treasure. For which is better, a wise, poor man or a rich fool?
1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,
2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience,
3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
Paul reminds the church that we are all sinners before the Lord, and it doesn't matter who we are here on Earth, we appear equally as sinners before God. And Paul subtly reminds them that just because they have been cleansed of sin by Jesus, they're not to despise or look down on others who are still in their sins, for they did the same sins before accepting Jesus.
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,
5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
We tend to forget that Jesus finished His works on the seventh day of Creation, then patiently waited for time to pass until events He had created for the future came about. He chose us, knowing who would accept Him and who would not before the Universe was created, and laid out His plans for our salvation from the very beginning.
Even though He knew that we would accept Him, He has shown His love and grace to us by having pre-destined those who would believe in and accept Him to eternal life and freedomfromthe corruption of sin before we were even born. Then He patiently waited as we walked in sin until the time came for us to believe in Him, having sealed our citizenship in Heaven after His resurrection and now waits for us to join Him.
Paul also reminds them that our salvation comes from God's grace alone, as there is nothing we can say or do to earn it ourselves. God will not allow anything imperfect into His kingdom, so sinful flesh cannot enter. But our spirits are made perfect in Jesus after death and those that die in faith in Jesus are allowed to enter His kingdom.
11 Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh--who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands--
12 that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
Paul was well aware that the unbelieving Jews looked down on the Gentiles using the derogatory term "Uncircumcision", meaning You Are Not One Of Us, considered :unclean" and doomed to Hell as they did not know God nor did they follow the Law of Moses.
Paul reassures them that the way of salvation was opened to Gentiles as well by the sacrifice of Jesus and through His blood ALL who believe in Him are made clean in His sight, regardless of nationality.
14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation,
15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace,
16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.
17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near.
18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.
The Law of Moses commanded that Jews remain separate from unbelieving Gentiles except in case of necessity. This led to extreme prejudice by the Jews, and in some cases twisted interpretations of the Law as reflected in the Talmud, in which one such man-made commandment taught by one Rabbi. Johanan said: "A heathen who studies the Torah deserves death, for it is written, Moses commanded us a law for an inheritance; it is our inheritance, not theirs." (The Torah is the collection of the five books written by Moses (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy) which constitute the Law of Moses). However this Rabbi ignored God's commandment that if a Gentile wanted to serve the Lord they could. He said:
6 "Also the sons of the foreigner who join themselves to the Lord, to serve Him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be His servants--everyone who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, and holds fast My covenant--
7 Even them I will bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on My altar; for My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations."
With the death and resurrection of Jesus however, the Law was fulfilled and there was no longer a separation between Jews and Gentiles, as God now had one Law for salvation for all men. Thus through His death, all of mankind was brought together in one group in God's eyes.
19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,
20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone,
21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord,
22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
Paul confirms the hope of the Gentile believers that in Jesus they too have a place in Heaven as part of God's household and compares us to stones used to build a spiritual Temple as a dwelling place for God. Every building starts with a cornerstone and the foundation is laid in reference to and is supported by this stone.
As Jesus is the Foundation of our faith He is compared to a building's chief cornerstone which the foundation of apostles and prophets is built upon. And we, as parts of the spiritual house are in turn built upon this foundation.
Paul may have borrowed this analogy from Peter who said;
1 PETER 2:4-10
4 Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious,
5 you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
6 Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame."
7 Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, the stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone,
8 and, A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense. They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed.
9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.
Peter reveals the riches of the mercy of God in the fact that through His grace we are not only saved from sin and Hell, but He has made us ALL, both Jew and Gentile royal priests to Him, with Jesus as our High Priest. The majesty of His grace and mercy are shown in that He has adopted the Gentiles into His family just as He did with the Jews, giving us the same promises He made to Abraham.
1 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles--
2 if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you,
3 how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already,
4 by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ),
5 which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets:
6 that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel,
7 of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power.
Paul explains that the Gospel he preached was not taught to him by Man but was revealed to him directly by Jesus Christ Himself, so that they would understand that this was first-hand information, quoted directly from the Source.
Paul also confirms that God specifically chose him to minister to the Gentiles, even as the eleven apostles were assigned by God to minister to the Jews.
8 To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ,
9 and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ;
10 to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places,
11 according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord,
12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.
13 Therefore I ask that you do not lose heart at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.
Paul shows his humility and humbleness in ensuring that there was no pride in his being an apostle, and the immeasurable grace and mercy of God who chose him to preach the faith he once so rabidly tried to destroy.
He also informs his readers that the Gospel he preaches is not of his own devising, but has been kept hidden in God from the very beginning, and was revealed by God through His Son Jesus Christ when He determined that the time was right and was revealed to both men and spiritual powers at the same time.
14 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man,
17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height--
19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,
21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Paul emphasizes that the fullness and power of God is spiritual in nature, not physical and is rooted in love and fellowship with God and with each other. And we can only understand the greatness of God and the fullness of His love, mercies and attributes of both Him and His Son Jesus Christ through His Spirit.
1 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called,
2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love,
3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling;
5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
6 one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
In ancient times certain gods were assigned to specific events, such as storms, planting, harvest, the ocean, the sky, various creatures, etc. This resulted in many gods being worshiped. Or like in India, they have over 1 million gods that they worship.
Paul is careful to point out that there is only one God who created and controls all of these things. As such all Christians are to worship one God, and be baptized with one baptism, and believe with one faith.
In fact when Alexander the Great conquered Judah in 329 B.C. he was astounded when the Jews met him and presented to him a single invisible God, and not idols associated with multiple gods as in other countries.
We are each called for a specific purpose by God and are assigned to do specific tasks. Not all assignments will be visible or glorious but all are crucial all the same. Paul compares us to the Body of Christ, which is one, even though composed of many parts. Some parts are more visible and seemingly more important than others, like an eye, whereas our toes are more hidden and we seldom think of them in our daily lives.
Yet toes are essential to the body, for without them it is extremely hard to balance ourselves when we walk. So in this fashion, toes are vital to the performance of the body as a whole. And just because your ministry may not seem important to you or others, it is of great importance to God. And who would you rather receive praise from, men or God? No matter what you may be assigned to do, do it the best you can before God and He will honor you openly at your Judgment.
Part of the cost of discipleship is being willing to do whatever the Lord requires of you, no matter how great or small. As Paul said:
23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men,
24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.
7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift.
8 Therefore He says: "When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men."
9 (Now this, "He ascended"--what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth?
10 He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)
Through the grace of Jesus Christ after his resurrection, we were given spiritual gifts according to the determination of the Holy Spirit. At first the gifts were given only to the apostles to magnify their ministry. But then as Christianity began to spread the gifts are given to all who believe.
Unfortunately there are many who believe that the gifts of the Spirit died out with the apostles or shortly afterward, but there is nothing in Scripture to support this. We are each given one or more gifts to support the type of ministry that the Spirit has chosen for us. We receive the gifts when we accept Christ and they grow within us as we grow in Christ, making their appearance as the Spirit determines that we are mature enough and trained enough to use them.
Not everyone will receive the same gifts, as all of us do not have the same ministry. There are
some churches who teach that unless you speak in tongues, you don't have the Holy Spirit. This
is totally and completely wrong, for tongues have a purpose, and not everyone is chosen for
Unfortunately there is much confusion over the gifts of the Spirit, and there is so much abuse and misuse that many churches don't allow any demonstration of the gifts at all. People either tend to try to display gifts that they don't have, (tongues is one of the easiest to counterfeit, people can babble anything they want and is no way of checking to see if it's real or not), whereas prophecy, working of miracles, healing, etc. can easily be proved. However Paul lays out how tongues are to be used, and many frauds can be spotted by how the gifts are being used. (For more information on the uses of the gifts, please see the study in this site)
Up to Jesus' death and resurrection, everyone who died went to one of two places: Sinners went to Hell and the righteous went to Paradise to await their redemption. Both were in the same location, commonly called "The Pit" in the Old Testament. In Luke chapter 15 Jesus told a story about a nameless rich man and a poor man named Lazarus who ate the crumbs from the rich man's table.
They both died and the rich man went to Hell and the beggar went to Paradise to be with Abraham. The rich man and Abraham could see each other and communicate, but there was a huge gap between them with Hell on one side and Paradise on the other.
The righteous waited in Paradise even though they were righteous according to the Law of Moses, the animal sacrifices they made could only cover the sins of the sinner they could notremove them. Therefore they were still sinners in the eyes of God.
But with Jesus' sacrifice and resurrection, their sins had been removed and they were now perfect and were allowed access to Heaven. So when Jesus was resurrected He gathered all of the righteous out of Paradise and took them with Him to Heaven when He ascended to the Father. So now when someone dies they either go to Hell or to Heaven to await the Great Judgment.
11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,
12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,
13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;
14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,
15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head--Christ--
16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
Paul mentions some of the greater gifts, such as prophets, pastors, teachers and evangelists and these are the greater gifts as they edify the Church, the body of Christ as a whole, whereas the other gifts usually edify a single person.
Paul says the gifts are given to us to help us come to unity of faith in Jesus, and maturity in the doctrines of Christ which will keep us from falling for Satan's counterfeits and the deceitfulness of men.
Paul again expresses that the members of the church are like the members of a body in which each part supports the body as a whole so that all may benefit, with Jesus Christ as the head of the entire body. And just as the body cannot function properly unless all of its members are working in harmony, even so is the Church.
17 This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind,
18 having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart;
19 who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
20 But you have not so learned Christ,
21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus:
22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts,
23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind,
24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.
If we claim to be Christians, we must always strive to live according to God's commandments, so that we may please him and that by our conduct others might see and be drawn to Christ when they see our happiness and joy in Christ. When people find out we are Christians, it is like living in a fish bowl with everybody watching you to see if what you do and what you say match. An expression used to go "Don't talk the talk, if you can't walk the walk." We need to show them that what we have is not of this world, but has rewards in both this world and the next.
The whole concept can be expressed as "if you're going to profess to be a Christian, act like one!!!"
25 Therefore, putting away lying, "Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor," for we are members of one another.
26 "Be angry, and do not sin": do not let the sun go down on your wrath,
27 nor give place to the devil.
28 Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.
29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.
30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.
32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
Paul admonishes his hearers with sundry instructions for Christian living. We can be angry and still not sin in what is labeled "righteous anger". This is usually being angry at the hypocrisy and evil works of men. Jesus showed an example of this while He was on Earth:
1 And He entered the synagogue again, and a man was there who had a withered hand.
2 So they watched Him closely, whether He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him.
3 And He said to the man who had the withered hand, "Step forward."
4 Then He said to them, "Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?" But they kept silent.
5 And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other.
6 Then the Pharisees went out and immediately plotted with the Herodians against Him, how they might destroy Him.
If at all possible, don't let the sun set on your anger. Holding onto wrath will allow it to fester overnight and allow it to root itself deeper into your spirit. It is a spiritual poison that grows continually stronger the longer it is not dealt with.
The tongue is the hardest thing in the human body to control. James, Jesus' physical brother speaks of this when he said;
1 My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.
2 For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body.
3 Indeed, we put bits in horses' mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body.
4 Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires.
5 Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles!
6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.
7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind.
8 But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
9 With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God.
10 Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.
11 Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening?
12 Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh.
People listen to Christians' language and I have heard people who were shocked if a Christian told a crude joke or cursed for whatever reason. We are held by non-believers to a higher standard and they immediately notice when we slip. Our conduct in this world is a huge witness to the power of the Holy Spirit and people indeed notice. And Christian conduct is one of the main reasons why people come to Jesus, because if people see us walk according to our beliefs, it gets them thinking that they maywant what we have for themselves.
And by the same token, "Christian" hypocrites are why many people turn away or become cynical of Christianity. Prime-time preachers are a good example, always begging for money as they travel around the world in private jets, wear expensive clothes, have chauffeured limousines and huge bank accounts. Jesus walked everywhere He went, and the only things He owned were His clothes, and even those were taken from Him at the cross.
1 Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.
2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.
3 But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints;
4 neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.
5 For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.
7 Therefore do not be partakers with them.
We are to show that we are followers of God, which means we are to follow His rules for conduct and not follow the evil practices of the world. For how are we to bear witness of Jesus and exhort others to follow His righteous acts when we act no differently than anyone else?
Remember, actions speak louder than words!!!
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light
9 (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth),
10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.
11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.
12 For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret.
13 But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light.
14 Therefore He says: "Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.
15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise,
16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Paul exhorts us to act in a worthy manner, avoiding any form of sin, seeking what is acceptable behavior before the Lord, and following the things which are pleasing in His sight as an example to sinners and to each other.
The fruits (works) of the Holy Spirit produce peace and joy in our lives, whereas the fruits of sin can be seen in watching the news every night; murder, deceit, envy, hatred, greed, arrogance, theft, violence, fear, etc.
Exposing evil behavior can be done in many ways, Bible studies and preaching are two big ones. But you'd be surprised how your personal behavior in Jesus can effect people!
When I was in the Navy my Christian beliefs were well-known. When we went on patrol, sometimes we'd be out at sea for long periods of time (109 days straight was the longest time between ports) and after working hard for 12-15 hours a day, seven days a week, we had a lot of steam to blow off when we hit port!
Most of the sailors immediately headed for the bars, but the greatest tribute I've ever received came when a bunch of my friends came to me and said, "We want to go out withyou, because we know we won't get into trouble."
17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,
19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,
20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
21 submitting to one another in the fear of God.
While in the Navy, many times I have seen and heard sailors holding their pounding heads after a night of drunken revelry vowing to never do THAT again, yet the next night they'd do it again anyway. They acted like idiots when drunk, made themselves miserable afterward, spent lots of money, but they had a good time!!!! Right............
We Christians are constant targets for Satan and he usually attacks when we're most vulnerable or weak, like the coward that he is. Remember that he confronted Jesus when Jesus was physically weakened and at the edge of starvation after having not eaten for 40 days straight. He was tempted the entire 40 days with every temptation we will ever have to face, but did not sin.
And when He was at the end of His 40 day fast and was physically at His weakest point, Satan tempted Him with food;
1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
2 And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry.
3 Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, "If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread."
Jesus could have easily done so, but He would not give in to Satan's demands, and neither should we.
As such, we must always be diligent to keep our wits about us, and we can't do that if we're drunk or engaged in active sin! Fellowshipping together, singing, praying together and praying for each other will keep us strong and will provide a united front against Satan and his servants.
And always remember to thank God for all things, big or little, remembering that every breath we take is a gift from Him and we live only by His express grace and permission.
22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.
24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,
26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word,
27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.
28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.
29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.
30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones.
31 "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh."
32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
Husbands have an awesome responsibility before God, for they are the heads of their houses and therefore responsible for teaching, protecting, and providing for their families and are responsible before God for their conduct. Remember, Eve sinned first in the Garden of Eden and led Adam into sin, but God held Adam responsible for not rebuking and stopping his wife from sinning.
Husbands are not to be absolute tyrants over their households either, but are to treat their wives as partners. The biggest thing to remember in the "chain of command" is that the husband and wife are equal, the husband is the "senior partner" and therefore has the final say in all decisions. BUT, husbands are also accountable before God for their decisions and conduct toward their families!!!!
Wives are also to respect their husbands and are to support them, remembering that they, too, will be held accountable before God for their conduct.
Above all, husbands are to remember to treat their wives like Jesus treats the Church even being willing to give up their lives for her. And as Paul said to Timothy;
1 Timothy 5:8
8 But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
One important thing to note! Scripture says husbands are to love their wives, but there is no command for wives to love their husbands. There is a definite reason for this.
Back then (and in some cultures today) wives were chosen for husbands by the parents of the man, in what is called "arranged marriage" This was used extensively in royal families to cement alliances, or to perpetuate royal bloodlines within royal dynasties and used to a lesser extent in non-royal families.
It is assumed that if a husband treats his wife well and strives to make her happy, she will come to love him in time. But she is required to respect him at all times.
1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
2 "Honor your father and mother," which is the first commandment with promise:
3 "that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth."
4 And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.
Paul admonishes both parents and children as to Christian behavior and expectations. God is very serious in this, promising that those who honor and respect their parents will be given a long life. By the same token, He demands strict punishments for disrespect.
9 For everyone who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death. He has cursed his father or his mother. His blood shall be upon him.
18 "If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and who, when they have chastened him, will not heed them,
19 then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city, to the gate of his city.
20 And they shall say to the elders of his city, 'This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.'
21 Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death with stones; so you shall put away the evil from among you, and all Israel shall hear and fear.
Considering the antics of youth today (especially gangs and college students) an you imagine the population reduction that we would have if these laws were still enforced?
Parents are also warned not to be tyrants to their children either, remembering that we are God's children as well. Children hold a special place in God's heart, as Jesus expressed:
13 Then they brought little children to Him, that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them.
14 But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.
15 Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it."
16 And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them.
5 Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ;
6 not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart,
7 with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men,
8 knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free.
9 And you, masters, do the same things to them, giving up threatening, knowing that your own Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.
Servanthood is not forbidden by God, but He has strict rules about how servants are to be treated. Servants are to serve their masters faithfully as they would serve the Lord, and masters are to treat them humanely, remembering that their Master sees all they do and will avenge any mistreatment of them.
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness,
15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;
18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints--
19 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel,
20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
Here we come to an extremely important part of Scripture, namely Spiritual Warfare. Satan is a spirit and must be fought in the spirit, with spiritual weapons. Unfortunately not many Christians understand Spiritual Warfare even though it rages all around us each day. (For those wanting to know more about Spiritual Warfare, please see the Spiritual Warfare section of this site)
Unfortunately some Christians don't believe in Spiritual Warfare, but they overlook the verses above in which God gives us His armor to protect us from Satan's attacks. And if Spiritual Warfare isn't real, why would God give us His armor?
Each part of the armor has a purpose:
HELMET OF SALVATION - This is to shield our minds from attack. The mind is the gateway to the soul and spirit, and if a temptation is perceived as desirable, the gateway opens and sin enters our lives. Continued indulgence in sin will eventually open the door far enough for demonic entry and possession.
BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS - This protects our spirit from direct spiritual attack. This protects our heart (in the spiritual sense). This keeps Satan from attacking our emotional center with such things such a depression, anger, impatience, bitterness, hatred, despair, etc., things which can drag us down or separate us from the joy of the Lord.
BELT OF TRUTH - This surrounds us with the truth of God's Word, allowing us to see through Satan's deceptions. Satan cannot stand against the truth which counters many of Satan's strategies and weakens his power.
SHOES OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE - Jesus promised that we would be able to tread on serpents and scorpions through His power (in the spiritual sense NOT literally) and over all the power of Satan. Remember this is referring to spiritual beings and events.
One time the Lord allowed me to see a demon in it's natural form. I saw it from behind and it was humanoid from the waist up and like a serpent from the waist down. It had long, thin arms and hands that were tipped with long, sharp claws.
It had shoulder-length scraggly hair like hog's bristles, and it's skin was gray-green and scaly like that of a serpent.
SHIELD OF FAITH- This, like a literal shield, further protects us from Satan's attacks. Satan prefers long-distance attacks rather than direct up-close battles, much as armies prefer long-distance weapons (arrows, guns) to take out a target with little risk to themselves. Satan's arrows can include doubt, depression, wrath, envy, jealousy, fear, hatred, despaie, etc. We are to use our faith to counter these negative emotions, which will force Satan to fight us directly or withdraw.
SWORD OF THE SPIRIT - This is a devastating weapon in the spirit world. Remember, when Jesus was confronted by Satan during His Temptation in the wilderness, Satan attacked with twisted Scripture references and doubt. Jesus fought back with only weapon that Satan cannot stand against - the truth, replying "It is written...."
People scoff at the Armor as it seems medieval (sword, shield, etc.), and too many are unaware of it, or know its purpose. But Paul was making an analogy to the weapons of his time. Angels in Scripture have been described as having swords, so it may not be an analogy at all.
In our war with Satan it is best to ask God for the armor twice a day, in the morning to protect us through the day, and in the evening to protect us at night.
21 But that you also may know my affairs and how I am doing, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, will make all things known to you;
22 whom I have sent to you for this very purpose, that you may know our affairs, and that he may comfort your hearts.
23 Peace to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
24 Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.
Paul closes with the fact he is sending a trusted friend to fill the church in on events concerning him and to find out how things were going with them. In this way he could watch over the churches he founded while imprisoned.
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