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NEW TESTAMENT - EPHESIANS Chapters 4-6

EPHESIANS PART 2

The letter to the Ephesians has two parts. Part 1 presents God’s message on doctrine, or right beliefs, the believers' spiritual blessings in Christ. The last three chapters which I’ll review this morning focus on the church's responsibility for right living in unity, maturity, purity, and victory.

In Chapter 4, Paul encourages his readers to walk in a way that is worthy of their vocation, what they do where they work. They also deserve their wages. Let’s consider pastors in their vocation (1 Corinthians 9:13-14; 1 Timothy 5:17-18). The terms “elder,” “pastor,” and “bishop” mean the same. 

The believer’s walk should be characterized by humility, meekness, longsuffering, and zeal, to promote spiritual unity and peace.

Ephesians 4:2–3

The church is one. It is one body, has one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father, who is over, through, and in all its members (verses 4–6). The Holy Spirit is the life and breath of that body. He was instrumental in the regeneration of each member and now maintains a vital connection of each member with the other members and with the head.

Ephesians 4:4-10

Each member of the body receives grace from the Sovereign Lord. Each has their own value, place, responsibility, opportunity, and duty. No one should be idle, for each one has a place to fill which no one else can fill. This unity is consistent with great diversity of gifts which Christ distributes according to his own will (Ephesians 4:7).

Ephesians 4:11  

The gifts which Christ bestows on His church are the various categories of ministers, evangelists, and pastors, who are teachers. The purpose of the ministry is to build up the church while we spread the good news of Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 4:12–16

These directions are designed to bring all its members to unity of faith and knowledge, and to the full stature of Christ. They should no longer have the instability of children, but be a firm, compact, and growing body in living union with Christ its head so we can spread the gospel with good knowledge.

Maturity is defined in relationship to the corporate Christian body. Maturity is an ongoing process of being "joined and held together" in relationship with the body of Christ. About this growth, the apostle says:

1. It is from Christ. He is the cause from whom all life and power are derived.

2. It depends on the intimate union of all the parts of the body with the head, by means of appropriate links.

The next section beginning with Ephesians 4:21 is very practical and challenging. Paul focused on holy living. Believers are to walk in purity as well as unity. The apostle provided positive aspects of Christian conduct.

Ephesians 4:21-25  

Sanctification includes dying to sin and living to righteousness; or, putting off the old self and putting on the new self. The obvious comparison is to a change of clothing. To put off is to renounce, to remove, like clothes that are set aside. To put on is to adopt, to make our own.

As we are called to put off our corrupt nature as a ragged and filthy garment, so we are required to put on our new nature as a garment of light. The former old self was pictured as decrepit, deformed, and tending to corruption, so the new self is described as fresh, beautiful, and vigorous, like God.

Ephesians 4:26-29

Unwholesome or corrupt speech comes from a corrupt heart, and pure speech comes from a pure heart. Corrupt speech is like rotten fruit tainted with moral decay. Corrupt speech will contaminate the thoughts of others.

Ephesians 4:30

The Holy Spirit is a very sensitive person. Paul says stop having the habit of offending the Holy Spirit by rebellious deeds and grievous words. Being sealed with God’s stamp marks you as God’s purchased possession and destined unto the day of complete redemption, and we are transformed into His likeness.

Ephesians 4:31-32

In these verses, Paul summarized Christian character. Forgiveness results in complete reconciliation and restored fellowship. We are to forgive others just as God forgave us. We are to exhibit the life of Christ in and through us. God’s forgiveness is the model, the motive, and the measure of our forgiving others. God’s forgiveness is free, full, and final. When God forgives, He forgets; so must we.

In Ephesians chapter 5 Paul says that saints should avoid not only the sins of uncleanness and covetousness but also all impropriety of conduct and frivolity of language (Ephesians 5:3–4);

Ephesians 5:1-7

In Ephesians 5:5-7, Paul does not forbid all contact with unbelievers. Jesus taught his followers to befriend sinners and lead them to him. Paul writes against the lifestyle of people who make excuses for bad behavior and recommend its practice to others—whether they are in the church or outside of it. Such people quickly pollute the church and endanger its unity and purpose. We must befriend unbelievers if we are to lead them to Christ, but we must be wary of those who are viciously evil, immoral, or opposed to all that Christianity stands for. Such people are more likely to influence us for evil than we are to influence them for good. Ask the Father that the Holy Spirit control all situations.

Ephesians 5:8-27  

Christ's love and work for the church is threefold: past, present, future:

In love, He gave Himself to redeem the church (Ephesians 5:25).

In love He is sanctifying the church (Ephesians 5:26).

In love, He will present the church to Himself in flawless perfection (Ephesians 5:27).

Ephesians 5:28-33  

Chapter 6 contains directions about spiritual conflict. The enemies are superhuman, Satan and all the powers of darkness, so the believer needs strength from Christ and divine armor through prayer.

Ephesians 6:10-11  

God supplies the complete armor, but He expects the Christian warrior to put it on to stand ground and not retreat or fall in the struggle.

The Devil’s wiles are attractive, deceptive, and ensnaring. Satan is a personal enemy, a great adversary, a slanderous accuser, and a malignant foe. He uses clever and crafty methods to deceive. Humans think of a hideous, horned, and hoofed monster who haunts the vice dens of the world. God says Satan fashions himself into an angel of light and his ministers as ministers of righteousness. He is the champion of liberalism, ritualism, rationalism, and every other “ism” that seeks to displace Christ.

His aim is to substitute something else and something different for the grace and truth of Christ. Never underestimate the enemy. Satan is the great deceiver.

Ephesians 6:12-17

The only offensive weapon of the Christian is the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God. It is the wisdom of God and the power of God.

Ephesians 6:18  

It is not armor or weapons which make the warrior. Warriors must have courage and strength. Christians have no resources of strength in themselves, and can succeed only as helped from above. The apostle urges the duty of prayer. To obtain strength to use this armor correctly, and to secure victory for ourselves and for the army of which we are a part, we should pray. These prayers should be (1) of all kinds; (2) on every occasion; (3) continuous (4) with the help of the Holy Spirit; (5) for all saints, our Christian brothers and sisters.

 

THE INVITATION

You can't depend on your own goodness to get to Heaven. We've all sinned  (Romans 3:23). Jesus paid the penalty for your sins with His death on the cross and His resurrection (John 3:16).

To be forgiven and be guaranteed a place in Heaven, you need to repent of sin, confess that you are a sinner, and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ in your heart (Acts 2:21).

You can use the following prayer or your own words, but you must actually believe in your heart that your prayer is real:

         Lord Jesus, I believe You are the Son of God. I confess that I have sinned against You in thought, word, and deed.

      Please forgive all my wrongdoing and let me live in relationship with You from now on.

      I receive You as my Savior and recognize that the work You accomplished once and for all on the cross was done on my behalf.

      Thank You for saving me. Help me to live a life that is pleasing to You.

                     In Your name I pray, Amen.