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Ephesians chapter 4 part two

DAILY DEVOTION
FOR
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 18

 
SCRIPTURE: Ephesians 4 part two
AUTHOR:  Jeremy Witt
 
Notice verse 12, and I encourage you to read it in a variety of translations.  Do you see that the gifts of those listed in verse 11 are for the building up of the Church.?  This is God’s plan for those offices to equip the Church to do the ministry rather than those offices to do it.  Verse 13 says “Until we all attain to the unity of the faith” which is sign that the Church must focus on these things until we are with Christ. 

This is why we must fulfill our calling.  Jesus gave it to us (every Christ-follower) in Matthew 28:18-20 and is known as the Great Commission.  We called to share the Gospel, teach it, make disciples, baptize, and reach the people groups.  These are our marching orders.  Again, let it be said that this is for every Christ-follower, not just those offices mentioned in verse 11.  If we will do these things, we will no longer be immature as it says in verse 14, and follow every fad and idea that the world throws out.

Verses 14 and following essentially are given to help us live as God calls us to live.  We will be stable and consistent.  We will speak the truth in love more and more like Christ. (15)  We will be as one body doing our specific roles in the Church. (16) 

Verses 17-32 refer to things we should avoid.  Don’t live like the Gentiles (culture counter to the Gospel).  Don’t think like the Gentile culture.  Don’t be hard-headed and unteachable with hard hearts. (18)  These people have no shame and live based on their lusts/passions, so don’t be like that. (19)  We are told some specific things not to do and told some things to do or “put on.”  Throw off the old ways (22) but instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Here is the question that immediately comes to my mind.  How?  Where do our thoughts live and our attitudes live?  It is in our minds and hearts.  So how do we change our minds and heart?  God’s Word is the key.  Read the Word.  Memorize the Word.  Practice the Word.  Pray the Word.  Call out to God for help.  It will slowly and in some cases immediately change our thoughts and attitudes. 

Stop lying (25), stop living in anger (26), control your anger to keep Satan at bay (27), quit stealing and start working (28), watch your language (29), do not do anything to bring sorrow to the Holy Spirit (30), and throw away all your bitterness, rage, foul talk and slander (31). 

Verses like these are not popular in our cancel culture today.  Avoiding sin, refraining from sin, or denying our flesh is not something that is popular today.  I could have said these things before 2020 and it would have true, but in my lifetime, I have never seen our culture so blatantly evil.  Evil is not even hiding anymore.  It is coming out and being spoken in public places by public officials.  Here is the key for us today.  If we will live out our faith as we read in Scripture, we will be beacons of lights like a city on a hill for all to see.  If we will be what Christ is calling us, our world will take notice.  When we do not participate in activities, others will notice, and when we are asked why we are not doing ______________, we can share the hope of Jesus Christ.

“Instead be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”  (verse 32)

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Ephesians chapter 4 part one

DAILY DEVOTION
FOR
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 17

 
SCRIPTURE: Ephesians 4 part one
AUTHOR:  Jeremy Witt
 
I am going to break down chapter 4 into two parts because there is so much here.  I know that some of you prefer for it all to be done in one sitting, but I just don’t know how to leave parts out in this one. 

The “one” chapter is what I call Ephesians 4.  Notice in verse one that Paul again reminds the readers where he is.  Paul is under house arrest for sharing Jesus.  He has appealed for his case to go to Caesar, and now he is waiting to be heard.  Paul is calling for the Church to be one unified body.  Paul isn’t blind to what is going on, but he is calling out to the followers of Jesus to live as He lived.  Notice the details that Paul gives in verses 2-3.  We called to be humble and gentle.  We are called to be patient, loving, and diligent to protect the unity of the Church.  This is not an easy task in our world as each one of you already knows. 

Paul lays it out plain and simple.  He doesn’t try to complicate it as executing these things is difficult enough.  God knows us far better than we know ourselves.  As you read in verses 4-7, we see how simple God made things for us yet somehow we (humanity) finds it so difficult.  God’s purpose was to unify us all as one into one body that worshipped and praised Him.  This was and is His purpose all along.  That one body being His church was created to be in relationship with God.  The one Spirit is the Holy Spirit who will make having this relationship with God possible.   The one hope being the calling from God for salvation by faith through Jesus Christ that God desires for all men to be saved.  (1 Timothy 2:4)  This one hope being the very purpose of Christ’s coming to us from heaven and His ascension taking Him back to heaven. 

In verse 5, we continue through the “ones” with Lord.  Here is where we make things difficult.  From the very beginning, that was to be the LORD, but we have sought to be Lord of our own lives.  This is not you or me.  This is Jesus.  Our battle of the flesh and spirit demonstrates the difficulty of this, but ultimately, our best efforts prove that we are not Lord of anything.  We cannot even control how long we breathe.  We can’t control the weather yet we think that we need to be in control.  Not only is there a struggle for Lordship, but there is a struggle of faith.  God set it up for only one faith, a faith in Him but man sought to worship other things besides God.  Those being self, idols, objects, etc.  We struggle with even one baptism.  There is a group of Christ-followers who think that we need to be baptized more than once.  We have water baptism, but they claim there to be a Spirit baptism.  Do you see how a man makes things much more complicated than God ever intended?  Yet God clearly tells us here that there is one baptism. 

Verse 6 just comes out and tells us plainly that there is only one God, and you are not Him.  That one God is also the one Father of all people and He is overall and in all.  Well, hold on right there.  Does this mean that all are saved because it says that God is in all?  No, it does not mean that.  Well, what does it mean?  It means that God made us all.  Not only did He made us, but He made us in His image!  Because we are born sinners, we are at odds with our Creator.  Yet God sent Jesus to pay for our sin debt, and when we repent and believe in Jesus, we are changed.  This letter to the Ephesians was written to Christ-followers.  It means that “God is in all” it is referring to born-again, repentant believers.  By stating that God made us all and in us all, this shows us that God is active and personal.  Some philosophers of the day believed that God may have made everything, but He did not care about how we lived our lives.  Paul addresses this mentality directly by stating how personal and active our Father is.

In verses7-13, Paul addresses gifts that He gives to His people as Paul did in another letter (1 Corinthians 12:12-27).  Remember that Paul is addressing Christ-followers and not all men.  These spiritual gifts and abilities are given to us when we choose to make Him Savior and LORD.  We can spend a whole lot of time on spiritual gifts, but I am sure many of you are wondering about verse 8 and 9.

There is much discussion on this.  Many believe that this is Jesus’ ascension (verse 8) after the Resurrection.  Verse 9 has more debate.  When He descended, does that mean when He was born and came down to earth as a man, or does it mean when Jesus died?  Is it Hades?  Hades is viewed as the resting place of souls between death and resurrection.  Is it the grave?  However, it is meant, this shows us that Jesus is LORD of all including the past, present, future.  Nothing is hidden from Him.  We know that Jesus died a physical death and was laid in the tomb for 3 days.  We know that He resurrected and overcome death and the grave.  He defeated Satan and the penalty of sin by being the pure and perfect Lamb, and that His blood being shed was the payment for sin for those who believe in Him.  This is why in verse 10, we can say with certainty that He ascended higher than the heavens and fills the universe with Himself because He has done what none other could ever do.

We will pick up tomorrow in verse 13.

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